Just about everyone has interacted a pharmacist. After a doctor's appointment, you drop off your prescription to her, trusting her to handle and fill your medication correctly. Because it is vital that a pharmacist's job is performed correctly, her duties are clearly articulated and the pharmacy where she works regularly reviews her performance.
Pharmacists must earn a specialized degree called a Pharm.D. Many schools require successful completion of the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) prior to admission. Once admitted, coursework in the Pharm.D. program includes biology, physiology, anatomy, medical ethics and other medical science subjects. The program takes three to four years to complete. Pharmacists must also earn a license to practice. The pharmacist must pass two exams to earn her license -- one exam on pharmacy skills and knowledge and the other is on her state's pharmacy and medication laws, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
A pharmacists fills prescriptions, following the instructions a doctor provides regarding the amount of and manner in which the medication should be taken. She evaluates patients' histories to ensure they will not have any adverse reactions to medications, checks for interactions and explains side effects. A pharmacist may also work with insurance companies and fill out insurance forms so that patients are receiving the proper care. A patient may come to a pharmacist for advice on over the counter medications, diet, exercise and stress management.
A pharmacist may act as an educator, a manager and an administrator. She oversees the work of pharmacy technicians and educates medical practitioners, pharmacy technicians and patients on the effects of medications. She may keep records of medications and complete other administrative tasks, such as ordering from suppliers. Pharmacists who own their own business have additional managerial responsibilities, such as payroll, organizing meetings and hiring employees. If a pharmacist works for a university or for a pharmaceutical company, she spends a great deal of time on research and development.
The American College of Clinical Pharmacy provides a template performance review for pharmacists. The purpose of the pharmacist performance evaluation is to promote an optimal patient experience. The review addresses medication-related criteria, such as how frequently the pharmacist obtains a complete list of a patient's medications, how actively she participates in promoting accurate medical records and how frequently she consults with physicians regarding medications without interactions. Reviews also address education-related criteria, such as the quality and frequency of patient counseling the pharmacist provides and the quality and frequency of written information patients receive. Some reviews even address whether or not pharmacists participate in pharmacy organizations, committee involvement, evaluation and review of drug regimens and monitoring effects of drug therapies.
- The University of Utah; Performance Appraisal of Decentralized Pharmacists; Spence, Russell Allen
- Jones and Bartlett Publishers; Management Essntials for Pharmacists; Scott M. Mark and Rafael Saenz
- BLS: Pharmacists
- American College of Clinical Pharmacy: Template for the Evaluation of a Clinical Pharmacist
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images