The pharmacy industry has seen, and will continue to see, many advancements that will affect careers and the way a pharmacy conducts its business. Although a pharmacy's internal operations are already electronic, services for customers will include more technology for greater efficiency. New advancements will have challenges to be addressed, such as software errors and questions that the computer can't answer online. But one thing that won't change is the customer's need for personal communication with her pharmacist.
The pharmacy technician is the entry level position to becoming a pharmacist. With an interest in technology, a technician can advance to the field of installing, maintaining or troubleshooting pharmacy equipment across the country. As another option, with training and certification in handling and preparing radioactive medications, a pharmacy technician could enter the field of nuclear pharmacy. As a pharmacist, you can specialize in an area such as maintaining pharmacy inventory systems, advising on medical equipment, or working in retail serving patients with home infusion for oxygen and IVs.
As pharmaceutical practices move online, patients order prescriptions over the Internet for delivery. This presents the challenge of potentially harmful drug interactions. Pharmacies that choose to use a drug interaction software program must have pharmacists available to customers for inquiries when alerts pop up on the software program advising them of a possible interaction. With an increase in the number of drugs sold in pharmacies today, pharmacists must be knowledgeable on each drug to handle the volume of inquiries.
Advancements in technology help make a pharmacy more productive. However, even with electronic pill counters, online prescription claims, electronic patient profiles and other electronic systems, a customer still depends on her face-to-face consultation with her pharmacist. For the pharmacist, technology has changed the way she has access to information. Through social media, digital magazines and news feeds, she has alerts, updates and information sent instantly to her email address to help her stay connected.
Education has advanced for aspiring pharmacists. Colleges and universities require pharmacists entering the program to earn the Doctor of Pharmacy degree to practice pharmacy. Pharmacists seeking an advanced pharmacy position, such as a research job, need to complete a one- to two-year residency following their Pharm.D. Pharmacists who own their own pharmacy may choose to get a master’s degree in business administration.
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