How to Become a Clinical Pharmacist

Overview

Pharmacy is of the largest fields of medicine that deals with the safe and effective use and distribution of medical products and pharmaceutical drugs. There are many different categories that fall under pharmacy such as community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, consultant pharmacy, ambulatory care pharmacy and so on. Of the different branches of pharmacy is clinical pharmacy – here clinical pharmacists provide health, wellness, preventative care and support to patients by way of medication and pharmaceutical products.

Clinical pharmacists are responsible for providing accurate information to patients on the use, intake and effects of prescription medicine. At one point in time you too must have visited a pharmacy for either a purchase or for information on the usage of a pharmaceutical drug. However, a clinical pharmacist does not just merely distribute or provide medicine and prescription drugs. A clinical pharmacist is also considered a qualified consultant and professional in the field of medicine who at times works and collaborates with other physicians on subjects of drug usage and control.

If you feel you can do well as a clinical pharmacist and think you have what it takes to set new standards in this field of pharmacy, then you should do what it takes to become a successful clinical pharmacist. Perhaps with new ideas and innovative thinking, you may be able to revolutionize the industry.

Job Duties

Listed below are some of the basic and general job duties that you may encounter as a clinical pharmacist. Keep in mind that this is just a summary of the usual tasks and may vary depending on the size of the setup, your level of experience and the patient traffic.

  1. Safely and accurately prescribe medication and pharmaceutical drugs to patients.
  2. Observe the symptoms and conditions of the patient and suggest plan of action and usage of medicine
  3. Observe the effects of certain pharmaceutical drugs. Notes and observations may need to be taken formally to ensure that the suggested path of prescription is effective and safe
  4. If possible and convenient, conduct research on pharmaceutical care and the treatment of disease
  5. Be an active team member and collaborate with other professionals and physicians on patient care and various cases
  6. Share results and findings of treatment with physicians to make better informed decisions in the future
  7. As a clinical pharmacist, you may have to guide and instruct pharmacist technicians on how to effectively assist and run a pharmacy
  8. Documenting and filing all findings and researches pertaining to a particular case or patient must be carefully carried out as well

Career Outlook

According to the statistical database of The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), it is estimated that the growth in the employment of pharmacists is expected to increase by 25% which is actually faster than the industry average. This figure translates to roughly 69,700 new jobs during the period 2010 to 2020.

This increase and expansion in the industry can be attributed to a number of reasons. For instance, due to the increase in health awareness, the rigors of a hectic lifestyle and the spread of preventative medicine, a large portion of the population is actively trying to improve its health. This has given rise to an increase in the number of hospitals and medical centers that need to enlist the services of clinical pharmacists.

To add to that, pharmaceutical research and development is also a growing sector with corporations investing a great deal of money to improve the industry. Finally, to facilitate an aging population by way of medical drugs, qualified clinical pharmacists are needed.

Salary Prospects

The average annual salary for a clinical pharmacist is $111,000 (indeed.com).  In 2010, the top 10 percent of pharmacists earned more than $138,620 (bls.gov). The prospects of earning even more may increase if you open your own private pharmacy.

Educational Requirements

To become a pharmacist you need to have a Doctoral or professional degree (bls.gov) from a college or program that is approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education – this is a Pharm D (Doctor of Pharmacy). There is also a Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) that you must clear. With only a bachelor’s in pharmacy, you may not be able to work full time as a clinical pharmacist and may be restricted to research and development – however, this is a great opportunity to enter the industry. The American College of Clinical Pharmacy (accp.com) should be consulted to learn about the pharmacy industry practices, education, common practices and so on.

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