In many cases, pharmacists are the vital link between the doctors' orders and patients' road to recovery. Their role goes beyond just filling prescriptions. Pharmacists serve as advisors to patients who have questions about the medications they take.
As the pharmaceutical needs of the elderly population rise and with the increased use of medications, pharmacists are in high demand. Traditionally, pharmacists are responsible for understanding the composition, use, dosage, interactions, and effects of the prescription drugs.
Beyond the technical knowledge, pharmacists must also educate their patients. Pharmacists inform their patients on the proper use of prescriptions and over-the-counter medication.
Other duties may include:
- Monitoring the health of patients
- Mixing ingredients
- Answering questions about prescription drugs
- Dispensing medication
For those pharmacists that run their own pharmacy, they must also:
- Buy medical supplies
- Hire staff
- Keep client's records
- Build a client base
Many pharmacists work full-time in community pharmacies, drugstores, grocery stores, department stores, hospitals, clinics, the Federal Government, mail-order pharmacies, nursing homes, and home health care agencies.
Like other careers in health care, working hours may vary during the day, night, holidays, and weekends.
More and more pharmacists are pursuing nontraditional career paths. Utilizing their pharmaceutical knowledge, pharmacists are finding jobs in research, disease management, marketing and sales, health insurance companies, pharmacy associations, and education.
There is a dramatic need for pharmacists. A shortage of as many as 157,000 pharmacists is predicted by 2020 according to the findings of a conference sponsored by the Pharmacy Manpower Project, Inc. Nationally, new job opportunities are expected to grow by 25 percent by 2020. In Michigan, job growth is expected at 11 percent.
In all 50 states, pharmacists must graduate from a college of pharmacy accredited by the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE), have successfully passed a state examination, and be licensed in the appropriate state.