When most people think of pharmacists, they think of retail pharmacists. Retail pharmacists work in community pharmacies, such as pharmacies in department stores or grocery stores. Pharmacists in the retail sector perform a wide range of duties. They fill and dispense medications, offer patient care, and provide advice on over-the-counter drugs.
Retail pharmacists are experts in pharmaceuticals and have a deep knowledge of all types of drugs and their uses, as well as their side effects, how they are administered and how they interact with other drugs. These pharmacists also get the opportunity to work with patients one-on-one. Because retail pharmacies are located in convenient places, such as near neighborhoods and in shopping centers, people can walk in at their convenience and speak with a pharmacist. They can ask the pharmacist about particular over-the-counter medications and get their advice on their symptoms. Innovations in pharmacy automation have allowed pharmacists to spend less time filling prescriptions and more time engaging with patients.
In addition to providing pharmaceutical advice and dispensing medications, retail pharmacists also offer a variety of clinical services. They administer immunizations, including vaccines for the flu, meningitis, HPV, shingles, Hepatitis, chickenpox and pneumonia. They also conduct health screenings and provide medical reviews.
A retail pharmacist meets the same qualifications as a hospital pharmacist and performs similar duties. Some common responsibilities of a retail pharmacist include:
- Filling and dispensing patient medications
- Administering health screenings and immunizations
- Accessing the appropriateness of a medication in accordance to a patient’s medical history
- Ensuring pharmaceuticals are stored properly and securely
- Monitoring a patient’s treatment
- Maintaining confidential records of all patients
- Processing invoices and maintaining balance sheets
- Providing excellent customer service
Robert Lammle is a pharmacist in Utah who loves being a retail pharmacist. He enjoys being able to interact with patients directly and help them get well.
Hospital pharmacists work in a hospital pharmacy, typically within the public sector. They are experts of medicine and do much more than just dispense medications. They work closely with the hospital’s medical and nursing staff to ensure patients are receiving the most suitable treatment for their condition. Like pharmacist Robert Lammle, they use their extensive knowledge of pharmaceuticals, their side effects and how they interact with other drugs to provide patients with the appropriate medication. They provide the proper medication, dosage and route of administration for each individual patient, which is then given to patients by their nurses. They also determine the most appropriate form of medication, such as injection, tablet, ointment or inhaler.
Additionally, hospital pharmacists play a major role in choosing what medications the hospital uses. The hospital pharmacy team is responsible for purchasing, manufacturing, dispensing, quality testing and supplying all of the pharmaceuticals used in the hospital.
Common tasks performed by hospital pharmacists include:
- Ensuring prescriptions contain no errors and are appropriate and safe for the patient
- Offering advice on the dosage of medications and the appropriate form
- Participating in ward rounds
- Monitoring patient treatment
- Ensuring medicines are stored properly and safely
- Contributing to pharmaceutical research and development
- Organizing and supervising clinical trials
- Creating guidelines and regulations for drug use within the hospital
Many pharmacists working in hospitals also have a managerial role, such as managing other team members or a certain aspect of the pharmacy service. Some hospital pharmacists are responsible for managing the budget for medicine usage within the hospital.
Regardless of their specific duties, hospital pharmacists are responsible for a wide range of activities and work as part of the hospital’s healthcare team. They work closely with healthcare staff and managers, so regular communication with all parts of the healthcare team is essential on all ends.
While spring time brings about blooming flowers and trees, it also brings runny noses, congestion and sneezing for many people with seasonal allergies. If you’re one of the 40 million people in the U.S. who suffer from seasonal allergies, try these tips from pharmacist Robert Lammle to help you control your allergies and survive allergy season.
- Is it actually allergies? – The sudden change from cold to warm weather can make it difficult to differentiate between allergies and a cold or virus, especially if you don’t normally have seasonal allergies. If your congestion and allergy symptoms last for over two weeks, and those symptoms worsen when you’re exposed to triggers like pollen, then you likely have allergies.
- Minimize your exposure to allergy triggers – If you have seasonal allergies, you should minimize your exposure to the things that trigger your allergies. Stay indoors on dry, windy days when the pollen count is at its highest; avoid mowing the lawn and gardening chores; don’t hang laundry outside; and remove any clothing you’ve worn outdoors once you come inside. If you have to perform outdoor chores, wear a mask to protect yourself from allergens.
- Utilize your windows – If you’re allergic to indoor allergens such as dust or mold, open the windows to let in the fresh air and rid your home of allergens. However, if you are allergic to outdoor allergens like pollen, keep the windows closed and run your cooling system.
- Pay attention to high pollen counts – High pollen counts can cause your seasonal allergies to flare up. To minimize your exposure to pollen, avoid spending time outdoors when there is a lot of pollen in the air. Check your local news station or newspaper or the Internet for current pollen counts and pollen forecasts. If high pollen levels are forecasted, take your medication before your symptoms occur. Also, be sure to close your windows and doors when pollen counts are high.
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