Who is a Pharmacist and Their Function


A pharmacist often works in a pharmacy and is responsible for the distribution of prescription drugs. A pharmacist has drug experience and will educate members of the public on this topic and can also provide recommendations on over-the-counter treatments that can be bought for mild illnesses or non-serious diseases such as a cold.

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Relevant speciality pharmacists are also available, some of whom are veterinary, oncology, pharmaceutical, nuclear, consultant and industrial. Others may specialize in pharmaceutical industry research, research new drugs, and other aspects of health and nutrition.

What does a Pharmacist do?

The pharmacist is always the first calling point for someone with a minor illness or in the initial stages of a disease, and appropriate advice is given. Prescribing power has been granted to community pharmacists in a few countries now, especially in Europe.

This implies that after a short consultation with a patient, some drugs can be administered by the pharmacist. Additional criteria are also requested of the pharmacist to be permitted to prescribe some medications.

More precise drug measurements and preparations are included in the work of hospital pharmacies. For example, they verify prescribed dosage estimates based on the patient’s weight and ensuring that the correct dose is given.

Hospital pharmacies focus on stronger and more severe medications more frequently than local pharmacies do and offer a critical service within the hospital. Generally speaking, all pharmacists have extensive knowledge of medicines and, depending on their chosen speciality or field of practice, can apply this in various ways.

What is a pharmacist’s workplace like?

A pharmacist’s workplace may differ based on the area of specialization. A pharmacy is usually a small store or a small department within a supermarket or larger drugstore where the pharmacist works closely with vending machines and sales associates.

A pharmacist has a very social role and works with several different individuals, including clients and drug reps, every day in the workplace. Pharmacies may get busy, and it would be beneficial to be able to function quickly when under pressure.

Hospital pharmacies are much quieter and less busy as there are fewer individuals to interact with daily and only medication to be given. Patients usually see a doctor in a hospital, so there is no need for consultations from the pharmacist.

The atmosphere will also differ in a research situation. There may be a lot of contact with patients participating in clinical trials, or with drug makers and regulators, or there may be quiet research labs.

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There is ample variety within the field to choose a specialization that will allow the pharmacist to work in the setting that is ideally suited to his or her personality.

Frequently asked questions

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Why are there pharmacists and why can’t a physician do their job?

Pharmacists know what there is to know about prescription medicine since they are specialists in pharmacy. The average pharmacist knows far more than the average physician about medications, so it’s just not the realm of a physician.

There is a lot more to the career of a pharmacist than just printing tags and drug counting. A pharmacist can double-check to be sure that the medicine a doctor has prescribed to a patient does not interfere with any medications that the patient might be taking, since anyone can make a mistake.

It is not uncommon for a pharmacist to call the doctor to check the dose, as it is possible to write the wrong quantity, resulting in a dosage that is either too small or too big

They will make dosage changes, review the calculations of chemotherapy, and will effectively serve as a gatekeeper between the patient and the interactions of harmful drugs.

A pharmacist also deals with many time-consuming tasks, such as ordering products, working out problems with insurance agencies, and coping with the many issues of regulatory enforcement.

Doctors are delighted that there is a division of labour so that they can focus on treating their patients.

What are the advantages of being a pharmacist?

One of the most significant benefits of being a pharmacist is that you will do much more than most careers, more than a teacher, a social worker, or even a nurse. Following the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries begin from $89,000 and go up to $147,350.

Another advantage is job stability. Pharmaceutical jobs are in demand and are projected to rise faster than normal in the future. Yet another benefit is that pharmacists will also provide reviews on the side effects of medication and the efficacy of a medicine. This knowledge can be used in drug engineering and scientific and medical advances.

At times, the work can be very stressful, but it’s less stressful than other medical jobs. You can build relationships with regular customers over a period if you work in a small group, and see their success when you work with them.

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What is it like being a pharmacist?

The work of the pharmacist is a vital one which needs close attention to detail. A typical day can include medication checking and dispensing, compounding medication, interacting with doctors, providing pharmaceutical information to patients, providing health advice to patients, explaining the proper use of drugs, supervising staff/pharmacy technicians, and more.

Pharmacists will sometimes have to deal with an angry or disrespectful person, but this is not a common occurrence. Although the duties of a pharmacist can differ considerably, each day is reasonably equivalent and involves routine work. Days can be long, and most of those hours will be spent standing (occasionally twelve hours).

You will most likely have to work on weekends, evenings, and some holidays if you work for a retail/community pharmacy. There are more predictable working arrangements for hospital pharmacies. You will be able to set your working days if you own a pharmacy.

How long does it take to become a pharmacist?

Becoming a pharmacist takes approximately six to eight years. All aspiring pharmacists are expected to receive a Pharmacy Doctorate (PharmD) through an approved doctoral program by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). Students would be expected to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in health sciences to join the PharmD.

Incorporating classwork with clinical practice, pharmacy programs typically take four years. Several schools offer an accelerated three-year program, while others, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, offer a “0 to 6” program.

This program accepts high school graduates for a six-year program that incorporates pharmacy prerequisites with technical education.

Steps to becoming a Pharmacist

There are some clear academic qualifications involved to become a pharmacist. Qualifications and basic standards for training differ from country to country.

An undergraduate bachelor of science degree, followed by a postgraduate pharmacy course, is usually required. The courses may be related in some countries such as the UK, and the full MPharm (Master of Pharmacy) certification may be acquired after five years of pharmacy training (four undergraduate years plus one master’s year).

For entry into a postgraduate pharmacy course in other countries ( like the USA and Australia), undergraduate studies or an undergraduate degree in a science course are needed. Then, at least 2 years of postgraduate study are required. In the US, this results in qualification for a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy).

Most countries then require newly trained pharmacists to work a “pre-registration” year, or an internship, after meeting the academic requirements to obtain the experience needed for the job.

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The number of required hours varies according to the country, and even within the USA by state. There are typically further examinations after the job experience has been completed.

These can take the form of a licensing test or a registration exam, based on the requirements of a particular country. Some countries also mandate that pharmacists engage in continuing professional development (CPD) programmes as they advance through their careers.

This means that like current science and new drugs, they remain up-to-date on all facets of the job.

Tips for pharmacist students

Volunteering or applying for a position as a pharmacy technician is among the best ways to find out if pharmacy is the right career choice for you. For your resume, it is necessary to have some job experience, and at the same time, it will extend your awareness of what the profession means.

There are several things you can do to get the most from school if you do decide that pharmacy is for you. A few apparent tips are that you attend classes and take the right notes. Surprisingly, quite a few students do not go to class daily and feel they will catch up later.

Unfortunately, this would only worsen the success of your studies, so try to make it a tradition to go to all your lessons. Take detailed, clear and structured notes when you’re in class. If permitted, document your class lecture, so you can go back and refer to the lecture if needed.

If you need clarification about the subject, ask questions. This tells the professor that you’re interested, and keeps you alert in the classroom. If you’re the shy type, write down the question and ask the professor if you can chat or connect by email with him/her one-on-one.

Balance your time yourself. Juggling with education, assignments, research, jobs, and extracurricular activities can be daunting. Try typing notes in a study guide or listening to recorded lectures the day after class. Stop cramming for an exam. Instead, study the content regularly.

A rule of thumb is that for every hour of class, you can study for two to three hours. Stress is inevitable, particularly in pharmacy school, but try to eat reasonably well, exercise, take breaks, and maintain a daily sleeping routine.

If you are researching professions and contemplating becoming a pharmacist, make sure that in order to make an informed and educated decision, you obtain as much knowledge as possible beforehand.

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Oluwafemi Peter
Oluwafemi Peter is a content creator who has an interest in music, tech, sports and people. He resides in Ogun state, Nigeria