Pharmacists

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Also known as:
Apothecary, Clinical Pharmacist, Druggist, Hospital Pharmacist, Registered Pharmacist

ABOUT PHARMACIST CAREERS
Video transcript

When a prescription is written for a drug or treatment, the next step for the patient is usually a visit to the pharmacist. And while for most people, that often means going to the local drug store, hospitals and community clinics have pharmacies as well.

Typically pharmacists spend most of the day standing at a counter, dispensing medication. They may also compound the medication, though this is now a much smaller part of a pharmacist's practice. While many of the drugs they handle are pre-packaged by manufacturers, pharmacists are expected to understand the ingredients and how they might interact with other medications.

This is a profession that requires careful attention to detail. Making a mistake and dispensing the wrong medicine could have life-threatening consequences. Part of the job is being able to explain to people how the prescription should be taken or administered, and providing information on drug interactions and side effects. There's also a lot of paperwork involved.

To study to become a pharmacist, you must first prove your aptitude in science and math by passing the pharmacy college admissions test. After earning a doctor of pharmacy degree at a college or university, pharmacists then need to be licensed by the state.

With additional education, pharmacists can move into administration or teaching. They can even do research to develop new drugs. But the goal is the same - helping people get the medications they need to get well and stay healthy.

SNAPSHOT
Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Teach pharmacy students serving as interns in preparation for their graduation or licensure.

Compound and dispense medications as prescribed by doctors and dentists, by calculating, weighing, measuring, and mixing ingredients, or oversee these activities.

Refer patients to other health professionals or agencies when appropriate.

Provide specialized services to help patients manage conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation, or high blood pressure.

Offer health promotion or prevention activities, such as training people to use blood pressure devices or diabetes monitors.

Advise customers on the selection of medication brands, medical equipment, or healthcare supplies.

Plan, implement, or maintain procedures for mixing, packaging, or labeling pharmaceuticals, according to policy and legal requirements, to ensure quality, security, and proper disposal.

Contact insurance companies to resolve billing issues.

Order and purchase pharmaceutical supplies, medical supplies, or drugs, maintaining stock and storing and handling it properly.

Analyze prescribing trends to monitor patient compliance and to prevent excessive usage or harmful interactions.

Collaborate with other health care professionals to plan, monitor, review, or evaluate the quality or effectiveness of drugs or drug regimens, providing advice on drug applications or characteristics.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
TOP SKILLS
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Instructing Teaching others how to do something.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.