Life as a Pharmacist

By Marama Montgomery

Life as a Pharmacist

The breadth of options open to those wanting to pursue a career in the healthcare world has never been greater, and nowhere is this more visible than in pharmacy. This growing industry is one of the pillars of community health and wellbeing; it is a vital service that combines a love of medicine and science with the face to face interactivity of customer service and client relations. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into the pharmacy world, read on to find out more about what to expect.

What is Pharmacy?

Pharmacy is the science of preparing and giving out chemical compounds for the treatment of illnesses, sickness, or disease. Pharmacy involves intensive study of healthcare and medicine generally, and the impact of chemicals (in drug form) on the human body. As such, a pharmacist is an expert in drug therapy, and the administration of those drugs to patients.

What does a Pharmacist actually do?

Life as a pharmacist depends a lot on the type of work they’re involved in; pharmacy is a diverse profession with quite a few different avenues of work within it.

Many pharmacists operate in shops called pharmacies or chemists, or in hospitals, and their job is to dispense the appropriate medicines to patients and customers. In the past, this involved a much higher mixology and preparation element, as pharmacists were responsible for a lot of the actual preparation and dosage work for whatever drugs they were working with. These days, a lot of that responsibility has been standardised and streamlined by the pharmaceutical companies themselves, who are responsible for the creation and quality control of their products. This has not watered down the role of the pharmacist, but it has made it easier and simpler to ensure that patients receive the exact medication they require.

Pharmacists are also available to offer practical advice to customers who have simple medical complaints and who may not have seen a doctor. For everyday ailments, a pharmacist can discuss symptoms with the customer, and then offer certain “over the counter” medicines for the treatment of those ills. If the patient has seen a doctor and been referred to the pharmacy for medicine, then the pharmacist is responsible for filling the prescriptions for whatever drugs have been prescribed by the doctor and then dispensing them to the patient.

In this customer service role, many pharmacists combine their medical expertise with business aspirations, and go on to open their own pharmacies. This is a fulfilling and long-term strategy to maximise their own economic security, and to continue to offer pharmacy services to the community.

Finally, many pharmacists can be more involved in the scientific aspect of their profession, and go into pharmaceutics. This is the study and development of the drugs themselves, and is a lot more about hands-on research, experimentation, and trials. This appeals to the more scientifically-inclined, who aren’t as interested in the face-to-face patient interaction aspect of healthcare.

Pharmacy, Working in A Hospital, Working in Private Practice

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