PharmacistPharmacists dispense prescription drugs. They also advise patients about dosages and side effects. Pharmacists monitor patients' health to make sure they are taking the appropriate amount of medication. Pharmacists spend only a little time mixing drugs since pharmaceutical companies usually develop drugs in a pill form. Most pharmacists work in retail drugstores, hospitals, nursing homes, local health clinics, and mental health facilities.
Pharmacists working for community pharmacies dispense prescription drugs, provide advice about over-the-counter medications, and follow up with doctors about their patients' drug therapy. They also consult people about diet, exercise, and stress management, and provide information health care products. Pharmacists also fill out insurance forms. Pharmacists managing their own community pharmacy hire employees and coordinate administrative duties. Some community pharmacists provide specialized services such as to help people with diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, as well as coordinating programs to help people quit smoking. Some pharmacists are trained to administer vaccinations.
Pharmacists working in hospitals dispense prescription drugs and advise the medical staff about drugs side effects. They may also prepare medication to be administered with a needle. They may meet with patients still in the hospital to provide advice about the proper use of medication after they are released.
Pharmacists specializing in home health care monitor drug therapy and prepare medication to be administered with a needle and dispense other prescription drugs.
Certain pharmacists specialize in specific drug therapies such as psychiatric therapy, nuclear therapy (chemotherapy), intravenous nutrition treatment, or oncology drug therapy (cancer).
Pharmacists maintain confidential computerized medical records to prevent harmful drug combinations. Pharmacists are ultimately responsible for prescription accuracy, but they sometimes rely on pharmacy technicians to fill prescriptions. Pharmacists also frequently supervise pharmacy students working as interns.
More pharmacists are pursuing nontraditional pharmacy careers. Some conduct research to develop new drugs, and then they conduct experiments to discover drug side effects, and some pharmacists work in sales and marketing. Pharmacists also work for health insurance companies, designing prescription drug benefit packages and performing cost analysis. Pharmacists are employed by the government, managed care facilities, public health care services, and the military. Pharmacists also work for colleges and universities.
Work environment. Pharmacists work in clean, comfortable environments. Pharmacists spend the majority of the day on their feet. They must wear protective clothing when working with sterile and hazardous medications.
Most pharmacists work 40 hour weeks, but about 10 percent work more than 50 hours. Many community and hospital pharmacies are open late into the evening or 24 hours a day, so pharmacists sometimes work evening, weekends, and holidays. Pharmacists working as consultants may travel to health care facilities to monitor drug therapy programs. In 2006, 16 percent of pharmacists worked part time.
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