Pharmacies appear in supermarkets, drugstores, Wal-Mart, Target and K-Mart. People are accustomed to see them and think that’s all there is to pharmacy. They aren’t aware that their emergency room meds come from a pharmacy. They don’t know that universities, the armed forces or research facilities have pharmacies. With that in mind, let’s examine the different types of pharmacists.
When people can’t afford primary care, they attend a community clinic. Here, they are seen by doctors and prescribed medications. The pharmacist inside the clinic will fill the prescription much cheaper than a community pharmacy.
These types of pharmacists work for the government. They ensure that drugs submitted for legal distribution are safe for public consumption. They are then marketed and distributed.
These pharmacists work at universities and research facilities, designing and testing pharmaceuticals. They lecture, teach classes and/or hold symposiums for the benefit of doctors and other medical professionals.
Many people don’t realize that, when they take their sick pet to the vet, the med for the animal’s illness comes from a pharmacy. These types of pharmacists are educated in small and large animals. The professional will then dispense the properly dosed medicine for the pet.
When a patient is receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment, s/he is receiving nuclear medicine. A nuclear pharmacist dispenses this medicine, under the strictest oversight, because laws and regulations are more stringent concerning nuclear medicine.
Managed Care Pharmacists
Managed care involves coordinating doctors, case workers, care givers and pharmacies in order to manage the complications and risks of diseases for the benefit of the patients. Such risk and complication-laden diseases could include heart problems, stroke and diabetes. Managed care is a community effort:
- Pharmacists work directly with doctors and care givers to determine the best formulation for the disease or illness.
- Pharmacists study patients and drug use to determine which drugs are being prescribed and are not working and why. Armed with that information, doctors and pharmacists can use a med that will work, educate the patient as to its use and monitor its effects.
- Care management is the effort by doctors and pharmacists to determine which risks and complications in a patient’s disease or illness can be managed by a team effort.
- Managed care contracts with pharmaceuticals manufacturers to get meds at better prices for their patients.
You know who they are. They walk the store wearing a pharmacy tag. They see you at the cold and flu shelf and ask how they can help you. They ask your symptoms and suggest courses of treatment, including rest, proper diet and over the counter medications. They usually have a flu-shot station in the store.
The Traveling Pharmacist
These types of pharmacists go to nursing homes, sports medicine facilities, recuperation/rehab facilities and neighborhood health care facilities. They provide medications for a variety of patients in a variety of settings, such as extended care facilities and assisted living facilities.
The Legal Pharmacist
Pharmacists are employed at every level of city, state and federal posts in addition to industry and the professional services. These pharmacists advise or work in:
- Advertising and packaging
- Magazine and technical writing
- Scientific research
- Advising legal professionals as experts
- The space program
As you can see, there are many different types of pharmacists. Without pharmacists, medicine would be a wild card with no regulation or oversight. Pharmacists provide a necessary service to the medical community and their patients.