Pharmacists generally have a hectic schedule, working roughly 40 hours per week, while many others are required or choose to put in extended hours at community and hospital pharmacies. In 2008 alone, 12 percent of these professionals were working upwards of 50 hours every week.
So, what does a pharmacist do throughout his or her day? Honglan Wang, an experienced pharmaceutical industry team leader from Redwood City, California, has listed the many responsibilities of a pharmacist.
Honglan Wang states that pharmacists who operate in community establishments are tasked with dispensing medication, counseling patients on the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, and properly advising physicians with respect to medication therapy.
These experts also go out of their way to inform patients about general health topics, including diet, exercise and stress management, and provide details about certain products, such as reliable medical equipment or healthcare supplies fit for the home. Simplifying these matters establishes a solid rapport between the pharmacist and patients.
Third-party insurance forms, and other various paperwork, are often completed by community pharmacists.
Anyone who is in the position of owning or managing a community pharmacy is permitted to sell non-health-related merchandise, hire and supervise employees, and assume control of the business’ general operations.
Patients who suffer from conditions such as asthma, diabetes, smoking cessation or high blood pressure can possibly receive specialized services from certain community pharmacies who have pharmacists licensed to diagnose and prescribe medication for the issues.
A pharmacist who is employed in a healthcare facility will be expected to dispense medications and advise medical staff on the selection and particular effects of drugs. Honglan Wang explains that other duties may include making sterile solutions to be administered via an intravenous method; planning, monitoring, and analyzing drug programs or regimens; and counseling hospitalized patients on the utilization of specific drugs prior to their discharge date.
Additionally, pharmacists who work at healthcare facilities often specialize in a specific area of expertise such as intravenous nutrition support, oncology, nuclear pharmacy, geriatric pharmacy, and psychiatric pharmacy.
Extra Efforts & Responsibilities
In addition to their daily jobs, pharmacists also have a variety of additional work and responsibilities that they must complete. One of the primary additions to their role is handling and maintaining the online medical records of all of their patients. Pharmacists also work in a supervisor capacity as they oversee pharmacy technicians who help them to accurately fill prescriptions for clients.
Finally, pharmacy is an ever-developing industry and that necessitates continual research and studying to improve and learn about new advancements within the industry. Despite pharmacy programs taking an average of 4 years to complete before any residency or fellowship programs, information can become outdated quickly with new discoveries in the medical field. Some examples of additional research and study that are common are new advancements in drug care, marketing, and public healthcare.
Honglan Wang concludes that being a pharmacist can be a busy job, but she believes that it is extremely rewarding to those who put the effort in to be the best they can be.