Imagine pulling up to your pharmacy and instead of getting your allergy pills you're handed a bottle of laxatives. Pharmacists ensure that patients get the right medicines in the right doses. Their job includes duties like preparing medicines, counting pills and overseeing the work of staff. All the duties of a pharmacist, however, relate to giving people the right medicine.
Pharmacists fill prescriptions under the direct orders of a doctor. Filling prescription orders may involve counting pills and slapping on labels. Sometimes, prescriptions require more preparation, and the pharmacist has to mix solutions or weigh samples. The pharmacist may have to do quick mental math and convert measuring units. Without training, this would be difficult or impossible.
After pharmacists have prepared a medication, they must dispense the medication to the patient. Though physicians are highly trained to prescribe medicines, overworked doctors can easily make mistakes. Some medicines sound alike and providing the wrong medication could be fatal. Pharmacists function as another pair of eyes to check the doctor's orders and prevent mistakes. They are able to predict the effects one drug will have on another, and they can evaluate drug combinations. Pharmacists can also council patients on drug options and side effects. They can recognize one pill from another, and they double-check the medication before they let the customer leave.
In an unorganized pharmacy swamped with business, paperwork could easily get crisscrossed. Pharmacists perform managerial duties of the pharmacy to ensure that things remain orderly and go smoothly. Having a professional degree, most pharmacists are the authority in a clinical setting. They order medical supplies, hire pharmacy techs and manage the general facilities. Pharmacists fill out paperwork and insurance forms. Medicines are costly and, if the paperwork is not filled out correctly, a patient may not be able to afford his prescription.
Teaching and Publishing
Along with their clinical obligations, pharmacists also have academic duties. Pharmacists teach their profession to medical students so the next generation will have the medical knowledge of today. They also publish medical findings in academic journals like "U.S. Pharmacist." This makes the objective of the pharmacist collaborative so that professionals can improve their methods of getting people the right medicines.
Jacob Broadley has been a writer since 2008. He has a Bachelor of Science in cellular biology from the University of Louisville and is pursuing his M.D. from the American University of the Caribbean.