Basic Information about Pharmacists

Those white-coated medical professionals you find at your neighbourhood drug store, are actually doing more work than just offering prescriptions. Pharmacist are fast becoming an integral part of the health care team; their responsibility includes to distribute prescription drugs to patients, and they teach them how to effectively take their medication. They also instruct patients on what to do if side effects occurs and watch over them as well, to ensure that they properly use their prescriptions. A pharmacist must have a good understanding of the chemical, biological, as well as physical characteristics of each drug; they must also understand their clinical effects and proper usage.

Pharmacists generally have an important role to play in the lives of patients. They instruct medical doctors about certain medications, their dosages, side effects and selection; they also supervise pharmacy technicians and coordinate with insurance companies. For you to be successful in this profession, you must have that unique blend of medicinal knowledge as well as good interpersonal skills. As a pharmacist, you can also obtain a certificate that will allow you to give vaccination. This gives them the permission to provide vaccines to the public, for example the flu shot.

As a pharmacist, you can buy medical supplies, advice other healthcare workers, concoct sterile solutions and also dispense medication. There are some particular areas you can specialize in as a pharmacist. They include; oncology, geriatric and nuclear pharmacy, psychopharmacotherapy and intravenous nutrition support. Students, doing their internship are also supervised by the pharmacists, to obtain experience for graduation as well as license. These medical professionals are also saddled with the responsibility to make sure that every prescription filled, is accurately done.

Job Description and working conditions

It is the sole responsibility of the pharmacists, to distribute prescription drugs to patients. Patients are also instructed on how to make use of their prescription and over-the-counter medications, medical equipment as well as health supplies. Pharmacists can also assist patients with exercise or diet, management of stress, offer advice concerning asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes or smoking cessation.

Most pharmacist, are directly employed by hospitals or other healthcare centers; these professionals, work with other medical personnel like doctors, nurses, and others to select drugs and also manage their effects.

As a pharmacists, you have to be analytical and also possess great attention to details; all these facilitates pharmacological accuracy as well as pharmacy organization.A pharmacists, needs good communication as well as computer skills to diverse electronic health records systems (EHS). They also need to have strong managerial abilities, to lead assistants and other staffs successfully.

Pharmacists work in pharmacies which includes those in drug stores and grocery. These medical professionals also work in clinics and hospitals. They can also work as consultants, where the travel to various healthcare centers to monitor patient’s drug therapies.

  • Working Conditions

The place of work of the pharmacists are clean, well-ventilated and lighted. As a pharmacist, you should get used to standing on your feet for long hours; these are part of what your workdays would look like. These medical professionals also wears some special gadgets like gloves, masks and other protective instruments, especially when working with pharmaceutical products that are dangerous.

A lot of community as well as hospital pharmacists, open for extended hours; with this, a pharmacists can work weekends, night hours and during holiday period. Pharmacists can work full time or part time. Most of them are also self-employed. About 22% of pharmacists are working on part time basis. Many full-time pharmacists, work up to 40 hours weekly, while some including the self-employed can work more than 50 hours per week.

Education, training and certification

A license is required for any individual to practice pharmacy. To obtain this license, prospects must graduate from the college of pharmacy; which must be accredited and recognized by the body known as the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Individuals are also expected to pass an exam before being licensed.

Read more: How to become a Pharmacist

The courses offered at the college of pharmacy, are specially designed to teach students and equip them with knowledge of all aspects of drug therapy. Schools also teaches students on how to communicate with their patients and other healthcare providers. Students in Pharm D. programs, spend some of their time learning under the supervision of a licensed pharmacists, in diverse pharmacy practice settings.

The Bachelor of Pharmacy degree (B. Pharm) has been replaced with the Pharm D. degree. For students to acquire the Pharm D. degree, they will need to undergo, 4-years program that requires them to study at least for two years in college, prior to admittance. Entry level requirements for students includes courses on biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and natural sciences; others are course in humanities as well as social sciences.

Students that wants to study the course are required to possess good scientific aptitude and communication skills, coupled with a desire to help others. They also have to be very conscientious and pay close attention to details. The reason is because, the decisions they make, affects human lives.

Prospective students should also be aware that, once you have completed the 4 years program, there are several examinations you need to pass, and also go for an optional 1, 2 or 3 years residency program.


The median annual salary of pharmacists was US$120,900, or US$57.35 per hour, in 2013. The middle 50% of pharmacists, earn between US$107,500 and US$139,010, while the lowest 10% had an income that is below US$88,320. The highest 10%, annually made an upward earning of US$150,500.

Job Growth and Career outlook

Employment for pharmacist is expected to rise faster than the average rate for other occupations, with about 25 percent job growth, from now till 2020.

The reason for this rapid growth, would be the greater amount of old people that will be needing prescription drugs, and scientific breakthroughs. Individuals not previously covered for prescription drugs, will also be given access. This is due to the health insurance reforms; it will also increase the demand to hire more pharmacists, to dispense medications.