A pharmacist typically checks the prescriptions that a pharmacy
technician has prepared. The pharmacy technician enters the prescription into
the computer software and produces a label for the prescription bottle. The
technician then fills the bottle with the correct drug. The pharmacist’s job is
to make sure the information that has been entered into the computer is
correct. For example: The patient information, the doctor information, the
correct drug, the correct directions for how the patient is supposed to take
medication, and the correct amount of medication dispensed. A pharmacist also
checks for drug interactions and contraindications. The pharmacist also
consults with patients on how to take the medication if the patient has never
taken the medication before. A pharmacist also helps patients with
What attracts me to be a pharmacist is my desire to help others regarding
their medication intake. I know that a lot of chain pharmacies are not very
friendly and not very helpful to their patients/customers. I have worked in an
independent pharmacy for 7 years and we are a very patient-friendly pharmacy.
We help the patients with all of their needs. Also, I want to be a pharmacist
so I can open my own pharmacy and one day become a Biochemist in order to
develop a new medication that will help kids with cancer. Pharmaceutical
companies these days do not invest in cancer drug development for children
because they do not view them as profitable.
Education and Professional
Becoming a pharmacist requires a lot of education. To become a
pharmacist, one must complete about 2-3 years of undergraduate school to obtain
all of the required pre-requisites. A bachelor’s degree is not required but is
recommended for special circumstances. After all of the pre-requisites are
completed, before you can begin applying to pharmacy school, you must take the
Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). Before applying to pharmacy school, you
must do your research on the GPA and PCAT score requirement for each school.
Different schools have different requirements and you must fulfill each
requirement for your application to get accepted. The application process is
done online and processed through the Pharmacy College Application Service
(PharmCas). It requires you to enter all of the required information like
personal information, academic history, and supporting information. PharmCas is
only one of the applications you have to fill out. You also have to fill out a
Supplemental application through the school of choice’s website. After all of
the applications have been completed and all the required documents have been
sent to the school, the waiting game begins. After the schools have received
your applications and documents, they will examine your information. Based on
your information they will then decide whether or not to consider you for an
interview. An interview doesn’t mean that you have been accepted to the school.
After the interview, they will notify you if they have decided to accept you or
not. If accepted into the Doctorate of Pharmacy (PharmD) program, the length of
the program is about 4 years, including 1500 hours of internships. After you
have finished the program and completed all of the requirements there are still
2 more tests you have to take to become a pharmacist. One of the tests is The
North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the other one is
Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE).
One professional organization connected with pharmacist/pharmacy is the
Texas Pharmacy Association (TPA). This organization serves members practicing
in all areas of pharmacy including community pharmacy, hospitals, long-term
care facilities, educational institutions, and manufacturing and distribution
companies. TPA provides continuing education and practice innovation to inspire
pharmacists to be active health-care advisors.
In this line of work, a pharmacist can be presented with numerous types
of questions. Questions can range from medications/allergic interaction, what
type of drug, to what is this medication used for. Questions can be presented
in many ways:
If a patient is allergic to a
certain type of medication, can he/she take this type of medication? Does it
have any interactions with their current medication?
What is this drug for? What does
What does this drug say on this
prescription? What type of medication is the doctor prescribing?
The first question is probably the most important question to be asked.
To be sure that a patient is not allergic to any type of medications, it is
important to ask the patient if they are allergic to any type of medication
that they know of. Patient allergy information should be entered into the
patient profile for future reference. It is also important to know what type of
medication the patient is currently taking. There are many drugs that have
contraindications with other drugs. With today’s modern technology, the
computer software can cross reference the patient medication history and notify
you if the patient is allergic to or has any contraindication with another
If the pharmacist is uncertain about allergies or contraindication, they
can access the Facts and Comparisons (http://online.factsandcomparisons.com/index.aspx) website. The pharmacist can then enter the patient information for
example; patient age, current medications, and the new medication. The website
will then examine the information and provide the pharmacist with the correct
facts. This website is for registered users only, so only pharmacy that are
registered will have access to it. Not knowing what kind of medications the
patient is on or if the patient is allergic to any type of medication can be
very dangerous or even life-threatening. Giving a patient a medication that
they are allergic to or a medication that interactions with their current
medications can have problematic effects.
The second question is
probably the most common question asked: What kind of drug is this and what is
it for? The pharmacist can quickly answer this type of question with their
knowledge. Pharmacist spends years in school to learn what each type of
medications and what is it uses for. When a pharmacist is unsure on what type
of medication it is, for example, new medications that just came on the market,
they can access the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), (https://www.fda.gov/) to get full
details of the specific medication in question. Many manufacturer’s drug
bottles also come with a leaflet of information attached to the bottle with
specific details on the drug and dosing information.
The last question is one of the most
common questions a pharmacy technician would ask the pharmacist daily. When
doctors write out prescription(s) for patients, they tend to write it very fast
and sloppy. Most of the time the pharmacy technician can figure out what the
doctor has written, but when the technician can’t figure it out, they can ask
the pharmacist to help them decipher the prescription. The pharmacist can
usually figure out what the doctor has written because they have a lot more
experience in reading doctors handwriting.
When the pharmacist can’t figure it
out or the drug written on the prescription is similar in spelling to other
drugs, the pharmacist will typically call the doctor’s office to verify the
name of the drug. When a pharmacist calls the doctor’s office, they are
required to document the change on the prescription along with the name of the
person the pharmacist spoke to for evidence reasons. Drug names that are
similar can have two different effects. Giving a patient the incorrect drug can
be harmful to the patient and lead to dangerous consequences. Therefore,
confirming with the doctor is the best and safest solution.
New drugs are being manufactured and
distributed every day. Pharmacists can be kept up-to-date with these new drugs either
by the distributor sending full details regarding the new medication, or drug
companies would send drug representatives that travel to different pharmacies
to educate the pharmacist regarding the new medication. Pharmacists can also
read U.S. Pharmacist, Pharmacy Times, and RxTimes to check on the latest news,
ensuring that they don’t miss out that is anything important. Many pharmacists
don’t have time outside of work to read pharmacy magazines, so they sometimes
attend an Accredited
continuing education (ACE) class.
The pharmacy drug
industry is always changing. New drugs are being certified every day, and new
rules and regulations can be implemented. A pharmacist that is interested and
passionate about their work can stay current with new information by reading
journals and attending seminars. There are several wonderful journals that a
pharmacist can read to better educate themselves. These are some journals that
I have discovered while researching this course topic.
Journals that a pharmacist would be interested in are:
The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Below are the annotations for each journal:
The Journal of Pharmacology and
Experimental Therapeutics (JPET), (http://jpet.aspetjournals.org) is one of the leading research journals. JPET offers wide range
coverage of different aspects of the interactions of chemical with biological
systems. It also includes renal pharmacy, drug abuse, toxicology and many other
topics. JPET continuously publishes new articles monthly. This resource is very
helpful not only to pharmacists, but also to students that are doing research.
For example, it provides information on how a drug is metabolized in the body
and how different drugs affect our body differently. This resource is a helpful
tool for a broad aspect of people. Even though this resource does not provide
continuing education (CE) for pharmacists, it does allow research writers to
submit their manuscript for publication. All of the articles are available for
free, and subscribers are signed up to receive alerts when new articles are
published. This journal is a reliable source because it covers primary research
articles. There are also review articles, but there is an editorial team that
fully examines each article to ensure that the reader is provided with the most
accurate information. An article that is published in this journal is unbiased
and the publisher provides the information they discovered through experimental
procedures. The purpose of this resource is to educate readers on the effects
of drugs. The Journal of Pharmacology and
Experimental Therapeutics is a useful journal for pharmacists that are
seeking for more information regarding the effects of drugs.
The next journal that I found that was interesting is the Pharmacy Times, (http://www.pharmacytimes.com) is a journal that provides information regarding the safety of
drugs along with many other topics like prevention of medication error in the
pharmacy. Pharmacy Times is the #1
media resource provider and was founded in 1897. Pharmacy Times reaches over 1.3 million retail pharmacists through
print, digital and live events channels. Pharmacy Times provides
articles regarding clinically based practice for pharmacists. Pharmacy Times
articles contain an abundant amount of material ranging from medication errors,
drug interactions, patient education, pharmacy technology, patient counseling
all the way to product news, pharmacy law and health-system pharmacy. Pharmacy
Times is a useful resource that
provides all of the latest news. Compared to the other resources, Pharmacy
Times also provides continuing education that is credited by the Accreditation
Council for Pharmacy Education. The purpose of Pharmacy Times is to keep pharmacists and others that are
in this industry up-to-date regarding industry news. This resource is helpful
for pharmacists. It allows them to receive the latest news and offers the
ability to expand their educated through the continuing education that is
The last journal is the U.S.
Pharmacist (https://www.uspharmacist.com), this journal provides
pharmacists with a monthly up-to-date peer-reviewed clinical article that is
appropriate to the pharmacy practice. U.S.
Pharmacist provides articles that contain a large diversity of pharmacy
practices including community pharmacy, hospitals, ambulatory care clinic, and
academia. This journal is useful for many reasons; it provides information
helpful not only to pharmacist, but to pharmacy technicians, students, and
other healthcare professionals that are interested in health management. U.S. Pharmacist also provides information
on numerous types of diseases like cardiovascular and autoimmune related
diseases. Information relating to healthcare is also provided on allergies,
mental health issues, diabetes, pain management, and women’s health. Like other
resources, U.S. Pharmacist provides
pharmacists that are licensed in the United States with continuing education
credits. This resource is a great fit for pharmacists because pharmacists and
pharmacy technicians are required to renew their license every two years. One
of the requirements to renew your license is that the pharmacist must have 30
hours of CE credits and a pharmacy technician is required to have 20 hours of
Two of the important databases that I have found that useful for a
Texas State Board of Pharmacy
for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP)
Below are annotations for each of the databases:
The first database is the Texas State Broad of
Pharmacy. This database is a very large database that contains various types of
licenses. It contains all of the application needed for pharmacists, pharmacy
technicians, interns, and pharmacies. This database also contains the names of
all licensed pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, interns, and pharmacies.
License verifications and status checks can be obtained from this database.
TSBP also provides a prescription-monitoring program along with consumer public
resources. TSBP is a resource through which you can obtain Pharmacy Laws and
Rules, apply for licenses, renew licenses, and update personal information.
This database is useful for pharmacies to verify employee license statuses.
This database will be integrated into my pharmacy practice because this
database is where I would need to apply for my pharmacist and pharmacy license.
I would also use this database to obtain my employee license status.
A list of helpful websites that are beneficial for
U.S. Food &
Academy of Compounding Pharmacists
The first website is Medline Plus (https://medlineplus.gov/). This website provides information on health
topics relating to wellness, disorders, and conditions. This website also
provides information regarding prescription drugs and over-the-counter
medicines as well as herbs and supplements. Medline Plus provides several
different types of videos covering a wide range of topics such as how diseases
and conditions can affect the anatomy and body system and operations and
surgical procedures. Medline Plus also offers tools for users to boost their
knowledge by playing interactive games. This website is very helpful for users
to search for specific information, it is very user-friendly and easy to
navigate. I think this website would be more helpful for people that are not in
the medical profession field already.
The second website is RxList (https://www.rxlist.com/). It is an online resource that provides detailed,
recent pharmaceutical information on brand name and generic drugs. RxList
constantly reviews and updates the site with new articles written by
pharmacists and physicians. RxList only accepts data that is credible and from
reliable sources to guarantee the most precise and beneficial information.
RxList has information on drug names, supplements, and diseases as well as a
pill identifier. This website also provides a list of all new drugs that have
been FDA approved and includes all the most recent drug updates. This website
is beneficial for pharmacists to use when a patient comes in with a random pill
and asks the pharmacist to help them identify it. There are many drug
manufacturers that make the same type of drugs. The difference between the two
drugs may be the color, shape, size and the imprint on the pill. Not all
pharmacies use the same drug manufacture.
Facts and Comparisons, (http://online.factsandcomparisons.com/index.aspx) is a website that assists pharmacists when they
are uncertain of a drug interaction. Most of the time when a drug interaction
is presented the pharmacist already knows the answer to it. This website is the
most useful tool a pharmacist can have. This website is only offered to the
pharmacies that are registered to it. Unauthorized users cannot access this
website, and it is a highly reliable resource to have. It provides the most
accurate information for pharmacists. I know this website will be beneficial to
me in the future because I have seen how it can assist pharmacists/pharmacies.
I have used this website when I was working at the pharmacy, and it provided
credible and reliable information.
The next website is U.S. Food & Drug
Administration (FDA) (https://www.fda.gov/). The FDA is accountable for protecting the health
of the public, ensuring their wellbeing by verifying the efficacy and safety of
the food and drugs we consume. The FDA is also responsible for veterinary
drugs, biological products, and medical devices. The FDA wants to ensure that
our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation are safe
for us. The FDA is also responsible for controlling the manufacturing,
marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to watch over the public health
and to reduce the tobacco use in minors. The FDA is a very useful website for
various types of people such as consumers, patients, healthcare professionals,
scientists, researchers, students. It is used by many different industries.
This website is a beneficial resource for pharmacists because it provides
detailed information on each drug, alerts pharmacists when a drug has been
recalled, and updates pharmacists on market withdrawals and safety alerts.
The last website is the International Academy of
Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) (http://www.iacprx.org). IACP is an association that represents
pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, students and members of the compounding
society. Compounding pharmacist gets to work directly with prescribers like
physicians, nurse practitioners, and veterinarians to deliver customized
medications for patients and animals who cannot obtain it from the
manufacturing company. IACP’s mission is to protect and advance the
customization of medications for the patient’s wellbeing. The purpose of this
website is to educate compounding pharmacists with state of the art, up-to-date
information on compounding procedures. This website will be a useful tool for
my future career as a pharmacist because I want to learn more about compounding
and have the ability to compound medication at my pharmacy.
An interesting category for a pharmacist would be
antibiotic resistance and how different antibiotics work for different
bacteria. Antibiotic resistance is a rising problem due to patients not
completing their full antibiotic prescriptions and doctors prescribing
unnecessary antibiotics. A research article by Manu Chaudhary, describes how a
novel antibiotic adjuvant can help fight Staphylococcus
aureus, a bacteria that is resistant to multiple antibiotics. Below is an
abstract that would be fascinating to a pharmacist.
Salary is probably one of the
highlight questions asked when someone is interested in becoming a pharmacist.
When becoming a pharmacist there are many job options and different practice
settings to choose from. Many pharmacists work for traditional chain drug
stores, independent community pharmacies, and supermarkets. According to (www.rxeconsult.com) 62% of pharmacist work in a
community pharmacy. The annual mean wage for a pharmacist is about $120, 270,
according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/). To
find a job in a traditional pharmacy setting, (https://www.rxcareercenter.com) is the most popular website to
use. There are numerous job opportunities when becoming a pharmacist. For
instance, one can become an Academic Pharmacist. Academic pharmacists typically
conduct research, publish articles, and teach or mentor new pharmacist.
Additional education is required for this field. According to, (www.rxeconsult.com) the average starting salary for an
Academic Pharmacist is $95,730. Academic
pharmacists can advance their career by promotion to associate professor,
assistant dean, or dean, which can lead to an increase in salary to roughly
$109,550, $114,993, and $153,138, respectively.
This course has provided
me with the skill to navigate through different databases and the ability to
obtain the necessary information in a timely manner. Databases are probably one
of the trickiest websites to use. With the skills that I have gained from this
course, I can easily navigate through any database to retrieve the appropriate
materials. What I have learned in this course will help me with future research
papers for other courses. It will also impact my future career because I have
learned many facts regarding the different aspects of pharmacy practice and
acquired the ability to retrieve information that will help with my everyday
life as a pharmacist.