Saturday, January 9, 2016

Pharmacists: Keeping Americans in Good Health

This week we're looking at a growing healthcare profession that affects nearly all Americans today: Pharmacy. Pharmacists work throughout the US to dispense prescription medications to patients & offer expertise in the safe use of those prescriptions. They may also conduct health & wellness screenings, provide immunizations, oversee the medications given to patients, & provide advice on healthy lifestyles. Pharmacists work in many different environments, but most people think of them as working in the pharmacy departments of health & personal care stores (i.e. CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens) or larger grocery or department store pharmacies. Many pharmacists, however, work in hospitals & directly care for patients by overseeing the dosage, timing, & delivery of prescribed medications. These pharmacists are known as clinical pharmacists. Most pharmacists work full-time, & many work nights & weekends as pharmacies are open very long hours to accommodate patient needs.

Some pharmacists own or manage their own pharmacies; these professionals often need to undertake various business tasks like inventory management. The vast majority of pharmacist-delivered drugs are already in standardized dosages from the pharmaceutical manufacturer, but for those drugs that are not, pharmacists mix elements together in a process called compounding. These custom medications are created specifically to help each individual patient based on the health history & particular needs of the person. Becoming a pharmacist is no easy task; a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree is required to join the illustrious profession. These programs typically require at least 2 years of postsecondary education to begin, but some do require a bachelor's degree. Pharm. D. programs generally take 3-4 years to complete, including a mandatory supervised work experience (internship) at a potential job site such as a hospital or retail pharmacy. Pharmacists are licensed in all 50 US states, & most of these states require the passing of an exam as well as continuing education courses to retain that license.

Pharmacists work hard all year to help Americans stay in good health, whether it is by providing critical medications or through delivery of important immunizations. January 12 is National Pharmacist Day, so be sure to thank your local pharmacist for all they do to help you stay in top shape! If you want to learn more about the Pharmacy profession, take a look at our infographic below & be sure to check us out all this week on our social media pages: Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram!
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