Pharmacy Career Research

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A pharmacist is a healthcare professional who is an expert on pharmaceutical drugs and how they act to fight disease and improve the health of the patient. Pharmacists are responsible for the implementation of drug therapy with the intention of improving the quality of a patient’s life. Some examples of such improvements include curing diseases, reducing or eliminating a patient’s symptoms, slowing the process of a disease, and preventing disease. A pharmacist works with patients and other healthcare professionals in order to design, implement, and monitor a drug therapy plan specifically designed for that patient. Not only do pharmacists advise doctors and patients on prescription drugs, but they also provide information on the best medications that can be purchased “over the counter”. The most common goal of pharmacists is to move beyond their traditional role of simply dispensing medication and deal with patients more directly and on a more personal level. They strive to be a source of advice on medications for both health-care professionals and patients. They also are dedicated to providing individualized services to patients. Such services include consultations and providing more understandable information about the side effects of the medications that the patient is receiving. The job of a pharmacist consists of many roles. Specific duties vary according to the location of the job for example, community or retail pharmacists counsel patients, answer questions, provide information on over the counter drugs, make drug recommendations, provide advice medical equipment and home health-care supplies, and, possibly, complete insurance forms and other paperwork. Community pharmacists may sell non-health related merchandise, and also hire and/or supervise other employees. Some community pharmacists provide specialized services such as helping patients with diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation, or high blood pressure. In hospitals and clinics, besides dispensing medications, pharmacists advise medical staff on selection of drugs, make sterile solutions, purchase medical supplies, counsel patients on drug use, and evaluate drug use patterns and outcomes. They are also responsible for assessing, planning, and monitoring drug therapy for patients. Pharmacists who participate in home healthcare are responsible for monitoring drug regimens and preparing infusions and other medications for home use. Pharmacists are responsible for knowing how their patients manage their medication, they then analyze this regiment searching for problems. Next they determine and implement solutions for these problems and monitor their outcomes. Pharmacists are also responsible for dispensing drugs and providing information about them. Pharmacists must understand drug use, clinical effects, and drug composition (chemical, biological, and physical properties). The pharmacist’s role of making actual pharmaceutical agents is dwindling; and it is now a very small role due to pharmaceutical companies who make the drugs for them. Pharmacists are responsible for the accuracy of every prescription, lately they have been relying on pharmacy technicians and aides to assist them; pharmacists delegate tasks and supervise their outcomes. Finally, pharmacists are responsible for maintaining patient medication profiles in order to advise doctors on prescribing new medication. With the broad expanse of options that the pharmaceutical field exhibits, I have yet to make a decision on the exact field I hope to enter. Students who desire pursuing a career in pharmacy should achieve scientific aptitude, have good communication skills, a desire to help others, and conscientiousness. There are two entry-level degrees available for such students: a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in pharmacy, or a PharmD. The BS takes five years to complete and will be obsolete after 2005. The PharmD is a six year program that makes the pharmacists most knowledgeable on medications and their...
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