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What does your day as a pharmacist consist of?

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London Doyoung’s Answer

Day to day activities depend on the pharmacist's specialization.

I was a clinical pharmacist at a community hospital in my previous job. I had two different shifts: clinical staffing and oncology.

When I was on clinical staffing shift, I would verify orders, monitor all the patient charts (labs, medications, etc.) and make recommendations to the physicians as needed. I also supervised and coordinated all the intravenous medications that were made. On my free time, I was working on projects, like going to the meetings with nurses to discuss about common medication errors and developing an action plan. Antibiotics overuse is also an issue, so I worked with an infectious disease physician to point out repetitive problems and the progress.

During oncology shifts, I reviewed the patient charts and checked the labs to determine if the patient's dose was correct and if his/her labs prove that it is safe to give chemotherapy. Usually, chemotherapies have very harsh side effects that need close monitoring for patient safety. Otherwise, oncology medications have different regulations to follow when compounding. So, I would overlook the compounding process to see if the medication was compounded safely. There were times when I would compound the medications myself. Different hospitals have different protocols, but the pharmacists were required to give counseling/consultation on all new chemotherapies at my hospital.

My current job is focused on making intravenous medications. It requires knowledge in laws, regulations, and math. There are policies and procedures for cleaning, compounding, design of the compounding rooms, etc. involved in compounding intravenous medications. Plus, a little mistake in calculation could cause death, so it's important to learn to be cautious and double check all the work.
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Palak’s Answer

I agree with Dana. The beautiful thing about our profession is that we can pursue many different avenues (e.g., retail, long term care, nuclear, hospital, pharmaceutical) I too have changed industries in my career (retail, long term care, pharmacy benefit manager). I would encourage you to consider pharmacy as a career due to its flexibility. Strike up a conversation with you local retail pharmacist. Inquire within the hospital for pharmacy volunteer opportunity. And if you're looking for a part time job - consider becoming a pharmacy technician to get your feet wet in the world of pharmacy. Also - inquire with the local pharmacy schools as they sometimes host orientation events for prospective students.

I currently practice as a clinical advisor where my job is office based. My day typically consists of independent clinical research to support the projects I'm working on (e.g., epilepsy, hematology). It's very project based and requires time management. The primary method of communication in my role is via medical writing and WebEx (telephone/computer conference) with my colleagues.

Please don't hesitate to reach out should you have any questions.

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Dana’s Answer

This depends on what type of pharmacy you choose to practice. There are many various aspects to the profession of pharmacy that few know much less understand. There is hospital pharmacy. Here you work in a closed hospital setting and can be assigned a clinical role, where you work directly with other clinical staff (md's, rn's, rd's, pt's, etc) to solve individual patient's cases or you can be a staff pharmacist where product control (checking prescriptions filled by tech's to be sent to the patient's station) is your primary duty. There are many other forms of involvement in patient care such as diabetic specialist, pain management, or anti-biotic stewardship to name just a few.
There is community pharmacy which can be in a chain pharmacy or privately owned setting where filling , dispensing, and educating patients is your main job.
There are also settings such as researh, compounding, medication therapy management, disease state management, long term care, and transition of care.
You can have as much or as little direct patient care/contact as you wish, and then there is always cross-over from one type of practice to another.
You could also consider inter-national activities which can be academic, research, or clinical.
If you have more questions regarding any or all of these types of pharmacy practice feel free to ask.
Thank you for your inquirey and do consider pharmacy as a patient oriented profession.
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Krystyna’s Answer

As the other answers have stated, there are many paths you can take as a pharmacist. Most 4 year pharmacy schools offer the 4th year as completely experiential in different practice settings. For instance I was able to rotate in a hospital with ambulatory care, infectious disease, cardiology, drug information, critical care, and many other specialties. This allowed for an immense amount of patient contact and education. I currently practice in the managed care setting and am able to develop programs to try and ensure the safety of the population we handle. This involves a lot of provider coordination, project development, drug utilization review, etc.
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