What Does A Pharmacist Do?
Pharmacists play a vital role in providing safe patient care. Pharmacists are medication experts that dispense prescription and over-the-counter medication to patients. This expertise allows pharmacists to recommend medicines to patients and adjust prescription dosages. In addition to dispensing medication, pharmacists are trusted healthcare advocates who can provide support and guidance to patients regarding various health issues.
What are the qualifications of a pharmacist?
Pharmacists attend pharmacy school for 4 years to obtain a doctorate called a Pharm.D. degree. Students learn about chemistry, human anatomy, physiology, and other subjects during the pharmacy program. Students also complete internships with licensed pharmacists. After graduating from the program, students can go on to a 1–2-year residency and specialize in areas like oncology. To practice pharmacology, students must pass a state exam.
What else can a pharmacist do besides prescribing medication?
Pharmacists work directly with patients to address many health issues. Pharmacists can work in hospitals, retail-chain pharmacies, in-patient clinics, and nursing homes. Here are some of the things pharmacists can help patients with:
- Perform health screenings
- Prescribe birth control
- Help patients find low-cost medications
Pharmacists can also administer vaccinations, teach patients how to give self-injections, and monitor patients for harmful drug interactions.
How do pharmacists perform health screenings?
Pharmacists are experts at preventative care. have the tools and knowledge to test patients for cardiovascular diseases, blood glucose levels, and bone mineral density. These tests help doctors identity health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis early. During the screening, pharmacists review the patient’s medical history and current prescriptions to get a comprehensive view of the patient’s health status. These health screenings can be free or low-cost, depending on the pharmacy.
Can a pharmacist prescribe birth control?
States like California, Colorado, Maryland, and Virginia allow pharmacists to prescribe and dispense birth control to patients. 17 states have given pharmacists the authority to prescribe hormonal birth control. Pharmacists often consult with the patient and prescribe the contraceptive without requiring a referral from a primary care provider. Patients can then receive birth control from a pharmacist without getting a prescription from a primary care physician beforehand. Pharmacists can prescribe the pill, patch, shots, and vaginal rings.
How can a pharmacist help patients find low-cost medications?
Many large-chain retail pharmacies offer free or low-cost prescription medications to patients. Patients must pay an annual pharmacy membership fee to access these low-cost medications. A pharmacist’s extensive drug knowledge enables the provider to suggest cheaper drug alternatives. The medical assistance tool is a great resource to provide financial aid.
Should I speak to my pharmacist?
Yes, patients interested in learning more about a local pharmacy’s services should speak to a pharmacist at the location. Patients can schedule a consultation or talk to the pharmacist while picking up medication.