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A trip to the pharmacy can be daunting, it’s true! Sometimes you’re in and out, and other times you’re stuck in an aisle like an absolute dingus, comparing labels and ingredients and feeling like you need a science degree. Or if you’re anything like some folks, you’re slipping in with an expired prescription and hoping the person behind the counter won’t notice (spoiler alert – they did).
Pharmacists are often asked questions about prescription medication, such as possible side effects, dosage instructions, and potential interactions.
Yes, your pharmacist is a valuable source of information and wants to help you. They can help you figure out which medications to take and which ones can interact with other things, but they also have additional knowledge to share.
What is a Pharmacist?
Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who specialize in the right way to use, store, preserve, and provide medicine. Known for centuries as chemists, pharmacists have become as important and personalized as family physicians for many people. Every aspect of pharmacy has certainly evolved over the last hundred years. Becoming a pharmacist has also changed; it is an easy career to get on track and is also a great career opportunity.
A person might wonder just exactly what it is that a pharmacist does or how to begin earning a pharmacist degree. The answers are easy to find. Finding a school that offers pharmacy courses is the first thing you need to do. Secondly, the prospect needs to be confident the courses interest them on a basic level.
A pharmacist has many duties. Dispensing drugs that physicians prescribe to patients is the obvious job of any pharmacist. Pharmacists educate consumers about medications. Sometimes a pharmacist will also advise a physician as to drug interactions and effects. As a pharmacist, your customers become loyal followers trusting your knowledge and awareness. Pharmacists maintain medical records and medications in order to be certain a patient is not mixing drugs that are not suitable to mix.
A pharmacist can also manage or even own a pharmacy and that includes taking on responsibilities such as hiring and firing personnel. There are times when a pharmacist will also have to supervise employees when in an ownership or managerial position.
What Does A Pharmacist Do?
A pharmacist’s duties vary greatly and encompass aspects of pharmacy and medicine that one would not traditionally think about initially.
Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer expertise in the safe use of prescriptions. They also may conduct health and wellness screenings, provide immunizations, oversee the medications given to patients, and provide advice on healthy lifestyles.
Pharmacists are trained to be involved in drug therapies. These therapies can include such specialty fields as oncology and intravenous nutrition support. So, if you are looking for an exciting career choice that holds many rewarding challenges, earns you great money, and takes very little training, then pharmacy is the field for you.
Training & Salary
The training you will need in order to be considered a pharmacist begins with your graduation as a Doctor of Pharmacy or PharmD from any accredited higher learning institution. You will also need to serve a predetermined amount of time under a licensed pharmacist in order to be considered a pharmacist yourself.
An overview of what a pharmacist is responsible for, may at first seem a daunting undertaking. In the long run, though, the benefits far outweigh any trepidation you may first experience. Traditionally pharmacists work in community pharmacies. Some pharmacists, close to one-quarter of all licensed pharmacists, are employed in local hospitals or clinics. Mail-order or wholesale pharmaceutical needs employ the smallest portion of pharmacists.
Typically, a pharmacist works a forty-hour week. Depending on whether a pharmacist is self-employed or employed in a managerial position the hours worked can be as much as fifty hours a week. As with any medical field-type position there is a shortage of pharmacists so there may be cases where the workload and hours worked will exceed what is typical.
Salaries for pharmacists vary due to elements such as geographical location, the amount of experience you have under your belt, and the level of education you have completed. It would be typical that pharmacists as an overall career choice earn a salary of close to eighty thousand dollars yearly.
7 Things Your Pharmacist Wishes You Knew
From how to get the most out of your prescription meds to what you should avoid at all costs, here are 7 things that your pharmacist wishes you knew:
Inquire About the Ads You See.
Your pharmacist will be glad to discuss the health ads you see online or on TV.
- They understand you may be curious about the medications you see in advertisements, but your doctor may not have the time to address your concerns.
- Your pharmacist can help you by discussing the new drugs and directing you to legitimate, verified sources of information. They can help you figure out if a drug is right for you.
Record All Medications and Supplements You Take.
It is hard to keep track of all the things you take each day. It will benefit you to keep a careful, updated list and give a copy to your pharmacist whenever you make a change.
- It’s important for your pharmacist to know all of these medications and supplements. This is because they can interact with each other and hurt you. They can also make other drugs less effective and prevent you from benefiting from your prescriptions.
- Your pharmacist needs to know about every prescription, herb, vitamin, or mineral you use.
Get Vaccinated at the Pharmacy.
Putting off getting your flu shot or other vaccines because you don’t have time for a doctor’s appointment? The next time you pick up a few things at the drugstore or grocery store, consider updating your vaccinations at the pharmacy.
In many parts of the country, you can get flu shots at a pharmacy. In addition, some pharmacies are able to give you vaccines such as Hepatitis A or B.
- You can save money and time by visiting your pharmacist instead of your doctor. Your bill may be lower, and you probably won’t have a long waiting time.
Be Careful with OTC Medications.
Your pharmacist wishes you were more careful about OTC, or over-the-counter, medications.
- Over-the-counter medications can interact with each other and prescriptions.
- They can also cause liver damage and other issues if taken with alcohol. In some cases, overdoses are possible that can put you in the hospital.
- Your pharmacist wants to talk to you about your over-the-counter medications and ensure they’re safe. They’re ready to help you pick the most effective ones and the best dosages for you. They can clear up confusion about ingredients.
- Your pharmacist can help you figure out how often to take OTC drugs.
Your Privacy Matters.
Your pharmacist will keep your information private. You don’t have to worry about sharing things with them. They’re obligated to keep your data safe and won’t discuss it with strangers.
- However, they may need to talk to your doctor about your concerns. This is normal and will help you. Your pharmacist may call your doctor and ask questions about the drugs you are taking. In most cases, this is to ensure they are not interacting with each other or to check on the dosages. They may also need to call your insurance.
Understand Why Generic Drugs Are Less Expensive
Generic drugs are less expensive because their manufacturers do not incur costs for initial research or marketing that brand name drugs incur and pass along to the consumer.
Is it safe to switch from a brand name to a generic drug? Yes. Because generic and brand-name drugs have the same makeup, it is safe to switch to a generic.
Your pharmacist is a valuable resource for information regarding generic drugs, especially if you are unsure of what generic alternatives are available or have concerns about switching. Even if your doctor prescribes a brand-name drug, your pharmacist can advise you of available generic alternatives and work with your doctor to make the switch.
Never Feel Embarrassed.
So, you have got a ~burning~ question and perhaps feel too ashamed to ask, right? There is no need to be embarrassed about your inquiries as they have most likely heard them before. They do not judge!
So, save yourself the panic-induced Google search at 4 am and ask an expert. Easier AND safer.
Pharmacists love to help. If in doubt, ask them the question! It’s way safer (Google isn’t always your friend). It doesn’t matter to them how busy they are. They are there to assist you with all your medication queries.
You probably don’t refer to your pharmacist as a “doctor.” In fact, when you meet pharmacists at your local apothecary, they will likely introduce themselves by their first name. However, they are indeed doctors. As of the year 2004, a doctor of pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.) is required to sit for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy exams.
Don’t forget that your pharmacist has spent more time studying medicines than your doctor has. Also, they may even cover some information that you don’t have time to discuss in the consultation with your GP.
Therefore, it will benefit you to get to know your pharmacist and talk about your medications. They can help answer your questions, guide you, and reassure you. They can also be a powerful source of knowledge that can be very important for your health.
Lastly, before you leave the pharmacy, read the label printed on your medicine container. Check that it has your name on it and make sure you understand the directions on when and how to use/take the medication. And if you do not, please ask!
Related Reading: 46 Secrets Your Pharmacist Isn’t Telling You