A Pharmacist is a health-care professional who practices the science of pharmacy. The pharmacist is the health professional responsible for ensuring safe and effective drug therapy, and know all aspects of drug therapy including the indications for therapy, drug interactions, contraindications, warnings and precautions, adverse effects of therapy, mechanism of action for a drug, and proper dosage forms.
In the United States, pharmacists train for 6 to 8 years to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) The education provides general science in the early years, pharmacy specific science mid curriculum, and 1-2 years of practice experience. The Pharm. D. degree has replaced the B.Pharm in the United States, though those pharmacists with a B.Pharm degree are allowed to be licensed.
After obtaining a degree, a pharmacist must be licensed in the State in which they will practice. One must take the NAPLEX exam, the state law exam, and pay registration fees. Most states require some form of continuing education every 1-2 years to keep a license.
Health Care Roles
Pharmacists are involved in many roles in the health care profession. The most common role for pharmacists is that of a community pharmacist, in which the pharmacists receives and interprets prescriptions from physicians and other prescribers, dispenses the drug to a patient, compounding the drug if needed, and counsels the patient on the proper use of the medication. Pharmacists are also responsible for dispensing drugs in the hospital setting. In privately owned businesses, the pharmacists is often the owner, and is also responsible for business decisions.
Pharmacists are also found in clinical roles. In these settings, the pharmacist may directly evaluate a patient and modify therapy, usually under the supervision of a physician. Pharmacists are often responsible for pharmacokinetics, writing TPN orders, modifying warfarin therapy, managing diabetes and providing diabetes education, and serving as a drug therapy reference for the rest of the medical team.
Pharmacists are increasingly responsible for Medication Therapy Management.