What Does A Pharmacist Do?
"I want to get into a field where I’ll make a lot of money and feel pretty secure about my job. Since I started college I’ve been taking an interest in chemistry and biology, so I have been thinking about pharmacy. I looked up how much pharmacists make and it’s pretty significant, even with just a four-year degree! Some of them seem to make as much as doctors do. What would my day be like, though? What kind of job duties would I have to do each day?"
asked by Barry from Dover, DE
As a pharmacist, you will be working in a pharmacy, which might be located in a department store or drug store, or inside a hospital or clinic. As you might imagine, the pace of your job will depend a lot on the location where you work. A hospital pharmacy is going to be busier on average than a pharmacy inside a drug store. You also might work nights, weekends, and holidays if you choose to work at a hospital.
During your work hours, you will be responsible for making sure that patients are able to get the medications they need to treat their conditions. You will need to make sure that they receive the proper amount according to law and to their medical needs, and that the prescriptions which are made are reasonable with respect to their conditions.
You will work alongside other pharmacists, as well as pharmacy technicians. You will need to have advanced knowledge of chemistry and how drugs work in the body in order to do this part of your job correctly. So it’s a good thing you like chemistry and biology.
Part of your job also entails customer service. Pharmacy technicians take care of most of the customer service duties associated with running a pharmacy (answering phones and the front desk, for example), but you may be asked by a patient to explain how a medication works and how to take it. You will need to make sure your patient is aware of any possible interactions between the drug and other medications or health conditions, and answer any questions your patient might have.
You’ll also have a number of other important responsibilities that do not directly involve patients. You’ll need to ensure that the pharmaceutical environment is suitable, clean, and efficient for the job, and that medicines are produced and prepared properly. You may also provide other services to patients, such as help with smoking cessation and other aspects of basic health management. You may also end up advising doctors about different types of medications and how to use them safely.
Pharmacy can be a very rewarding job, not only because it pays very well, as you have already noted, but because it gives you a chance to provide medical help to people in need of it. Your patients’ lives are in your hands when they come to buy their medications.
By applying your expertise and taking great care, you ensure that patients stay safe and use the most effective treatment for their ailment and recover quickly.