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What are the functions of a pharmacist?

Pharmacists distribute prescription drugs to individuals. They also advise their patients, physicians, and
other health practitioners on the selection, dosages, interactions, and side effects of medications, as
well as monitor the health and progress of those patients to ensure that they are using their
medications safely and effectively. Compounding-the actual mixing of ingredients to form medications-is
a small part of a pharmacist's practice, because most medicines are produced by pharmaceutical
companies in standard dosages and drug delivery forms. Most pharmacists work in a community setting,
such as a retail drugstore, or in a healthcare facility, such as a hospital.Pharmacists in community
pharmacies dispense medications, counsel patients on the use of prescription and over-the-counter
medications, and advise physicians about medication therapy. They also advise patients about general
health topics, such as diet, exercise, and stress management, and provide information on products, such
as durable medical equipment or home healthcare supplies. In addition, they often complete third-party
insurance forms and other paperwork. Those who own or manage community pharmacies may sell non-
health-related merchandise, hire and supervise personnel, and oversee the general operation of the
pharmacy. Some community pharmacists provide specialized services to help patients with conditions
such as diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation, or high blood pressure. Some pharmacists are trained to
administer vaccinations.Pharmacists in healthcare facilities dispense medications and advise the medical
staff on the selection and effects of drugs. They may make sterile solutions to be administered
intravenously. They also plan, monitor, and evaluate drug programs or regimens. They may counsel
hospitalized patients on the use of drugs before the patients are discharged.Some pharmacists specialize
in specific drug therapy areas, such as intravenous nutrition support, oncology (cancer), nuclear
pharmacy (used for chemotherapy), geriatric pharmacy, and psychiatric pharmacy (the use of drugs to
treat mental disorders).Most pharmacists keep confidential computerized records of patients' drug
therapies to prevent harmful drug interactions. Pharmacists are responsible for the accuracy of every
prescription that is filled, but they often rely upon pharmacy technicians to assist them in the dispensing
medications. (Pharmacy technicians are covered elsewhere in the Handbook.) Thus, the pharmacist may
delegate prescription-filling and administrative tasks and supervise their completion. Pharmacists also
frequently oversee pharmacy students serving as interns.Some pharmacists are involved in research for
pharmaceutical manufacturers, developing new drugs and testing their effects. Others work in
marketing or sales, providing clients with expertise on the use, effectiveness, and possible side effects of
drugs. Some pharmacists work for health insurance companies, developing pharmacy benefit packages
and carrying out cost-benefit analyses on certain drugs. Other pharmacists work for the government,
managed care organizations, public healthcare services, or the armed services. Finally, some
pharmacists are employed full time or part time as college faculty, teaching classes and performing
research in a wide range of areas.For the source and more detailed information concerning your
request, click on the related links section (U.S. Department of Labor) indicated directly below this
answer section.
 Typical starting salaries range from £20,000 - £35,000 depending on location, conditions
of employment and experience, with small chains and independent pharmacies often
paying lower salaries.
 Typical salary at senior level/with experience (e.g. after 10 - 15 years in the role):
£40,000 - £68,000.
 Locum pharmacists are usually paid by the hour, on average £20 - £25 per hour. Locums
can also negotiate higher rates of pay for weekend and holiday work.
 Bonuses linked to the performance of the business may also be paid by some larger
 Location bonuses are paid to encourage pharmacists to work in areas where there is a
recruitment problem.
 Working hours may include unsocial hours in a shop environment. Many pharmacies are
open for extended hours, e.g. during evenings and weekends.
 Most employers operate a rota system.
 If working in a large pharmacy, a pharmacist will work in a team with other pharmacists,
accuracy checking technicians, pharmacy technicians and sales assistants.
 Pharmacists have direct contact with the public and may go into the community to visit
house-bound patients.
 There is excellent potential for flexible working, i.e. part-time work, career breaks, locum
work and job-share.
 The gender ratio is evenly split.
 Jobs are available in all towns and cities. There are fewer opportunities in rural locations.
 The work carries a high level of responsibility and demands a highly professional attitude
to work.
 Travel within a working day is occasional.
 Absence from home at night and overseas work or travel are uncommon.

Hospital pharmacist
 jobs in the National Health Service (NHS) are usually covered by the Agenda for Change ,
which allocates roles to set pay bands.
 Salaries for entry-level posts, usually filled by pre-registration pharmacists, typically start at
£21,388 (Band 5).
 Typical salaries for junior pharmacist, 'basic grade', rotational and diploma posts start at
£25,783 (Band 6). These posts normally involve a two to three-year contract with annual
increases up the salary scale.
 Salaries for specialist pharmacists range from £30,764 to £40,588 (Band 7). Promotion to this
band is normally possible after two to three years at Band 6. There are fewer opportunities for
further progression and it is sometimes necessary to relocate to progress to the next band(s).
 Roles at senior level include advanced pharmacist, consultant pharmacist, team manager and
professional manager pharmaceutical services. Salaries can range from £39,239 to £81,618
(Band 8a - 8d) depending on knowledge, training and experience, with salaries for professional
managers at Bands 8c - 9.
 Some NHS trusts offer an additional cost of living allowance for London and surrounding
 NHS staff also benefit from the NHS pension scheme and holiday entitlement.
 NHS hospital pharmacists typically work 37.5 hours a week. Working hours are mainly 9am
to 5pm with some extra hours and normally involve some weekend and evening cover, usually
on a rota basis.
 Pharmacists work in the dispensary and on the wards, with regular patient contact, on a daily
basis. They may also work in laboratories and small, sterile rooms called 'clean rooms'. Much of
the work involves dealing directly with chemicals and medicines.
 Flexible working arrangements, part-time work and job-sharing are possible.
 Many hospitals offer accommodation for pre-registration students.
 Career breaks may be possible within the NHS.
 Jobs are available in most towns and cities but seldom in rural areas.
 Travel within a working day and overseas work are uncommon.

What is a clinical pharmacist?

Clinical pharmacists work directly with doctors, other health professionals, and patients to ensure
that the medications prescribed for patients contribute to the best possible health outcomes.
Clinical pharmacists practice in health care settings where they have frequent and regular
interactions with doctors and other health professionals, contributing to better coordination of

The clinical pharmacist is educated and trained in direct patient care environments, including
medical centers, clinics, and a variety of other health care settings. Clinical pharmacists are
frequently granted patient care privileges by collaborating doctors and/or health systems that
allow them to perform a full range of medication decision-making functions as part of the
patient’s health care team. These privileges are granted on the basis of the clinical pharmacist’s
demonstrated knowledge of medication therapy and record of clinical experience. This
specialized knowledge and clinical experience is usually gained through residency training and
specialist board certification.

What do clinical pharmacists do?

Clinical pharmacists:

 Assess the status of the patient’s health problems and determine whether the prescribed
medications are optimally meeting the patient’s needs and goals of care.
 Evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of the patient’s medications.
 Recognize untreated health problems that could be improved or resolved with appropriate
medication therapy.
 Follow the patient’s progress to determine the effects of the patient’s medications on his
or her health.
 Consult with the patient’s doctors and other health care providers in selecting the
medication therapy that best meets the patient’s needs and contributes effectively to the
overall therapy goals.
 Advise the patient on how to best take his or her medications.
 Support the health care team’s efforts to educate the patient on other important steps to
improve or maintain health, such as exercise, diet, and preventive steps like
 Refer the patient to his or her doctor or other health professionals to address specific
health, wellness, or social services concerns as they arise.

How do clinical pharmacists care for patients?

Clinical pharmacists:

 Provide a consistent process of patient care that ensures the appropriateness,

effectiveness, and safety of the patient’s medication use.
 Consult with the patient’s doctor(s) and other health care provider(s) to develop and
implement a medication plan that can meet the overall goals of patient care established by
the health care team.
 Apply specialized knowledge of the scientific and clinical use of medications, including
medication action, dosing, adverse effects, and drug interactions, in performing their
patient care activities in collaboration with other members of the health care team.
 Call on their clinical experience to solve health problems through the rational use of
 Rely on their professional relationships with patients to tailor their advice to best meet
individual patient needs and desires.

How do you find a clinical pharmacist?

Clinical pharmacists practice in many different health care environments: hospitals and their
affiliated outpatient clinics, emergency departments, community pharmacies, doctors’ offices,
community-based clinics, nursing homes, and managed care organizations.

Beginning in 2014, health care providers will be able to request a clinical pharmacy consult from
a member of The Panel of Volunteer Clinical Pharmacists.