October is American Pharmacists Month
In honor of American Pharmacists Month, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge the important work that our highly trained pharmacists and pharmacy technicians do every day. Below are some facts about pharmacists and the critical role they fill in the healthcare continuum.
What is a Pharmacist?
Pharmacists are licensed medical professionals who prepare, manage, oversee, and dispense medications.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Pharmacist?
Licensing requirements vary by state, but it can take up to eight years or more to become a pharmacist. In many states you are required to complete at least two years of undergraduate study (many require a bachelor’s degree) before you can be accepted into a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) program.
The admission process is also extremely competitive; applicants must take and score well on the PCAT, or Pharmacy College Additions Test, before being accepted. Each state has its own educational, and licensure requirements, but all states require a license to practice.
Additionally, in the same way that physicians can focus on one area such as cancer or HIV, some pharmacists go beyond the typical training and certifications required, in order to specialize in rare disorders and conditions.
They may choose to undergo extensive additional training regarding specialty medications such as those for hemophilia and other rare disorders.
What Duties are Pharmacists Allowed to Perform?
As experts in all areas of medications, licensed pharmacists are qualified to:
• Prepare, compound, track, and dispense medications
• Manage and monitor medication regimens
• Advise patients about their medications
• Answer health-related questions regarding prescription medications as well as over-the-counter-medications, vitamins, and supplements
• Assure the effectiveness and safety of prescribed medications
• Provide information and guidance to physicians and other healthcare professionals regarding medications
• Administer immunizations such as flu shots (depending on the state requirements)
• Oversee the production and preparation of medications
• Ensure that medications are safe before they are dispensed to patients
Where do Pharmacists Work?
As valued members of the healthcare team, Pharmacists work in a variety of healthcare settings such as:
• Primary care organizations
• Retail, mail-order pharmacies
• Hospitals or clinic settings
• Compounding pharmacies
• Prisons and correctional facilities
• Pharmacy organizations
• Drug manufacturers
• Universities and research facilities
• In the military
• Veterinary pharmacies
• Drug manufacturers or as part of the pharmaceutical industry
• Long-term care facilities and others
ASP Cares recognized the enormous contribution that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians make to the health and wellbeing of patients all over the world. To all of our dedicated pharmacists and technicians, thank you for a job well done.
ASP Cares: Big enough to serve. Small enough to care. About you.
This content does not represent medical advice. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified medical provider.