Becoming a Pharmacist

Becoming a Pharmacist

by Michelle Osei-Bonsu
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Contrary to popular belief, there is more to pharmacy than just prescribing medication and administrating drugs. Pharmacists have a variety of responsibilities that range from providing dietary advice to patients and helping insurance companies develop pharmacy benefit packages. Pharmacists also need to provide information on the safe use of the drug as well as any side effects related to it. They are responsible for keeping detailed records of patients’ drug use and purchases. With this information, they can inform patients on any risks related to using multiple drugs at once. Beyond this, a pharmacist has the duty of closely monitoring their patients’ responses to certain drugs to see if the prescriptions are effective. Their background in chemical and biological science gives them excellent product knowledge and allows them to see if drugs are having their desired effects.

One of the most crucial tasks performed by pharmacists is filling prescriptions. They are responsible for crushing, mixing, measuring, and bottling drugs for customer use. This process is called compounding and is unique for different types of drugs. This part of the job requires great accuracy and precision. Small mistakes can have a big effect on unsuspecting patients.

Working Conditions
Pharmacists are generally found working for retail stores, grocery stores, hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and nursing homes. It is not as common but they may also work for government agencies and militaries. Research institutions also hire pharmacists for developing and testing potential drugs.

Pharmacists generally work regular shifts due to the fact that they tend to work in places that have established hours of operation. These pharmacists work an average of 40 hours a week. However, those who work in hospitals may experience irregular, long hours and may be called in for nights, weekends, and holidays.

Personal Characteristics Required
Pharmacists require certain personal characteristics in order to be successful in their work. It is absolutely essential that they are accurate and precise. Minimal mistakes can have large impacts on patients and the reputation of the pharmacy. It is also very important that prospective pharmacists have excellent communicational skills. They must be able to clearly convey information on the recommended dosage of drugs as well as their side effects and risk factors. They must possess good teamwork skills due to the fact that they seldom work alone. Lastly, all pharmacists need to be incredibly organized to prevent a mix up in prescriptions or ingredients for certain drugs.

Future Growth Prospects
Within a pharmacy, there is plenty of room to move up to superior positions and to get promoted. The pharmacists who work in retail and grocery stores tend to start at staff level but can potentially become store managers and supervisors. After multiple years of experience within the same company, a pharmacist could even obtain an executive position at their company’s headquarters.

The salary of a pharmacist ultimately depends in their place of work and experience. The average salary for pharmacists is between $70,000 and $100,000. However, many pharmacists who have worked in the field for a while find themselves making more than $100,000 a year. People involved in private practice have a greater chance of surpassing $100,000 than those who work for retail and grocery stores.

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