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What Is a Pharmacist and How to Become One

What Is a Pharmacist and How to Become One Image

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What Is a Pharmacist?

A pharmacist fills orders for prescription medications and instructs patients on how to take them. They may work in community or hospital pharmacies, universities, prisons, or for pharmaceutical companies. Pharmacists are responsible for monitoring patient prescriptions to ensure there are no drug interactions or other impacts on existing conditions. They inform patients of potential side effects and may offer immunizations, and should also be aware of the potential for prescription drug abuse. Pharmacists also need to understand insurance coding and how to process claims for patients. Outside of a pharmacy, they may work in other health care locations providing patients with medicinal and wellness information.

What Are the Education Requirements for a Pharmacist?

All pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree to practice. Undergraduate students interested in a career in pharmacy can pursue a Pharm.D. once they have taken prerequisite courses such as chemistry, human anatomy, biology, and calculus, and passed their Pharmacy College Admission Test. Pharm.D. programs educate students on the medical aspects of pharmacy, as well as the business side of the industry so that pharmacists are fully prepared to manage a team or open their own pharmacy.Pharmacists must be licensed to practice. They can obtain a license following successful completion of a Pharm.D. program and two exams, the Multi-State Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) and the North American Pharmacist Licensing Exam (NAPLEX). Other requirements include fulfilling a set number of required practice hours, and potentially passing a background check.

Is a Career as a Pharmacist Right for Me?

Becoming a pharmacist can be rewarding for those who want to be a part of the health care industry but do not want to be a medical practitioner. You need to enjoy science; all pharmacists need to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) to be eligible to practice. These programs require an intense study of chemistry and the biological sciences. Pharmacists may work in several different medical fields, from the public health sector to in-hospital pharmaceutical management. They may also do research for pharmaceutical companies. Pharmacists must be organized, detailed, and patient-focused. They must keep current with changing health care and pharmaceutical laws.

Pharmacist Job Description Sample

With this Pharmacist job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember though, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for their Pharmacist position.

Job Summary

We are looking for a skilled and experienced pharmacist with a passion for helping others achieve better health. As a pharmacist, you will dispense drugs, provide information to patients about medications and their use, and advise health practitioners on drug dosage and selection. You will work with patients to reduce their symptoms and get the best possible results from both over-the-counter and prescribed medications.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners
  • Check for order accuracy on medicine type, dosage, and correct packaging/ labels on all new and refill orders
  • Educate patients on drug side-effects and correct dosage, including frequency of use, time of day, and any possible food or drug interactions
  • Follow all applicable local, state, and federal health law (FDA and DEA regulations, HIPAA guidelines)
  • Administer injections and immunizations, take blood pressure, and provide health and wellness screenings
  • Answer questions and interpret symptoms of non-prescription customers; advise them on possible solutions
  • Ensure effective non-prescription treatment through over-the-counter oral medications and/or topical ointments
  • Check drug stock frequently and ensure drugs are up to date, removing any damaged or expired items
  • Maintain patient information and records
  • Manage other staff and technicians in the workplace
  • Participate in continued learning (conferences, professional societies, reading and reviewing professional journals, etc.)

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)
  • Current and valid license to practice; BLS and/or ACLS certificate (up to date)
  • Clinical experience
  • Understanding of DEA and FDA health regulations
  • Responsible, detail-oriented person of upstanding integrity
  • High attention to detail and accuracy
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills
  • Personable and well-spoken with great bedside manner

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