Thursday, January 12th marks National Pharmacist Day 2017, a day to show your appreciation and thank your local pharmacist for the work they do. The face and role of pharmacy is changing, and is only expected to grow. Although pharmacists often play a behind-the-scenes role in delivering patients care, they are the ones who know what medications can do, as well as what interactions or side effects could happen. Pharmacists are required to know thousands of prescription medications that exist today, as well as understand the effects of over-the-counter drugs and vitamins. Pharmacists truly are a treasure trove of knowledge.
The Changing Role of Pharmacist
The role and duties of a pharmacist have immensely changed within the last century. What was once a profession meant to solely prepare and dispense pharmaceutical products is now one that is much more intimate with patients. While pharmacists today are still knowledgeable of the chemical makeup of each and every drug, they are also capable of telling patients which drug is best suited for their body. For example, this is especially important for a patient who has multiple diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, while a drug that they’re prescribed helps one condition, it may worsen the other.
In addition to providing patients with advice on medication, pharmacists have also become deeply involved in their care. Recently, pharmacists have begun to administer vaccines, such as the flu shot, especially in poor communities. According to NPR, between 2008 and 2011, the number of flu shots administered by a pharmacist rose from 60,000 to 150,000. Within the last century, pharmacists have begun to step outside their traditional practice settings and are taking on more responsibility in patient care.
While most of us commonly think of a community pharmacist, who serves the public in a drug or grocery store, pharmacy graduates now have more than one choice of employment. Pharmacists are employed in many places; they can work in research labs, developing new drugs or finding new uses for old ones. Jobs are also available in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and drug and insurance companies. Some pharmacists continue their education and teach future pharmacists.
National Pharmacist Day Celebration
While the role of pharmacist has changed, they still tend to remain behind the scenes and go unnoticed. So, next time you see your pharmacist, be sure to tell him/her that you appreciate them keeping an eye on our safety! Thank you to pharmacists everywhere!