A pharmacist does more than dispense the latest drugs to assist people who have done all the work of seeing a doctor, or three. A good pharmacist can intervene in a patient’s daily medical slog. They can ensure that the patient is reacting well to a prescription. They may get the opportunity to form a relationship with the patient on a more regular basis than any of their physicians due to their more frequent interactions when fulfilling prescriptions.
Why Become a Pharmacist?
A pharmacist is a vital part of a patient’s support system within their medical journey. They are more accessible to a patient if they are having difficulties with medication or a negative reaction to recently administered medication. Often patients with serious medications have more than one doctor. A pharmacist can be a vital component in ensuring that the patient is not being unwittingly overprescribed or having a bad drug interaction by taking prescribed medications from more than one physician. When you look at the cost of pharmacy school vs. medical school, becoming a pharmacist is cheaper.
What Pharmacists Do
Primarily, a pharmacist reads a doctor’s prescription and fulfills the order. They also can advise on the dosage, selection and side effects of medications to doctors, nurses and patients. A good pharmacist will interact with their patients to get to know them on a personal level in order to understand if there has been any change in their demeanor or function over time after medications have been prescribed and administered.
Pharmacists also can perform compounding functions in which they mix ingredients to form medications. Although most pharmaceuticals come preformed, there are times when a dose or mix of ingredients will need to be compounded by the pharmacist in order to best help the patient. The pharmacist is also the first line of communication someone may have with a medical professional when it comes to common questions about colds, fevers, rashes and eye issues. For these reasons, a pharmacist must be schooled in a wide variety of medical issues.
Pharmacy School Difficulty
If you have decided that becoming a pharmacist is the right thing for you, then you should understand pharmacy school difficulty. As with any medical profession, schooling is long and arduous, but worth the time and effort for those who apply themselves. Future pharmacists must have completed pre-pharmacy courses at either two or four-year degree institutions. Courses include human anatomy and physiology as well as organic chemistry and molecular and cellular biology. Each state has different mandates but most require that a student graduate from a doctoral program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.