One-third of human life is spent working. Pharmacists are devoted to taking care of patients for a large percentage of their lives. They spend a minimum of 6 years going to school studying topics like biochemistry, pharmacy law and pharmacology. Becoming a pharmacist is no easy feat and requires determination and passion for patient care.
Throughout pharmacy school, pharmacists will start identifying which area of practice they would like to pursue. The majority of pharmacy school graduates work for retail or community pharmacy. Other areas of practice include hospital or institutional pharmacy, pharmaceutical industry, nuclear pharmacy, managed care, or residency/fellowship, each containing their own different skill sets and knowledge base.
Pharmacists become experts of medications in their areas of practice after years of studying and practicing. More physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners look to and rely on pharmacists to help troubleshoot medication-related questions. Pharmacists love educating as well. Whether it’s counseling on medications, presenting at national conferences, teaching and precepting students or hosting events at local health fairs, pharmacists have the interest to advance knowledge.
The passion for patient care is the driving factor for success as a pharmacist. It is not uncommon that pharmacists will:
Voluntarily arrive early to work to keep up with prescription volume at a store;
Stand for 8-12 hours straight with little to no break;
Consume a lot of food and water before their shift in case they do not get a chance to eat/drink;
Have double back shifts allowing for little downtime to recover (closing the pharmacy at 11pm and opening at 8am);
Work holidays away from their families and friends;
Lack exercise due to physical and mental fatigue, and
Rely heavily on pharmacy student technicians to staff the pharmacy due to staffing shortages.
There are several things that pharmacists love about their jobs that they want patients to know:
- They are proud to serve on the front lines of the COVID pandemic;
- They enjoy helping you find the right over the counter medication to help your symptoms;
- They enjoy providing ideas on how to improve compliance with medications;
- They love hearing that you are feeling better with the new medication;
- They enjoy collaborating with your providers to better take care of your health;
- They enjoy saving patients money with alternative medications or generics.
Pharmacists work very hard to take care of patients. They devote time and make a lot of sacrifices to do so. As Pharmacy Week is underway, take time to thank your pharmacy team for their hard work. At illuminate.health, we know how challenging it can be, and we tremendously respect pharmacists. Keep up the good work!
About the author:
Jennifer Drum, PharmD, BCPS is a Clinical Pharmacist with 12+ years experience optimizing medication selection, providing direct patient care and working interprofessional with pharmacy students, pharmacy residency and healthcare providers. Previous pharmacy practice includes completion of PGY-1 community pharmacy residency, community pharmacy manager, long term care pharmacist and institutional clinical pharmacist. She is one of six family members with a Doctor of Pharmacy from Purdue University. Jennifer resides in Middleton, WI with her husband Tyler, daughter Allie, son Ben and wheaten terrier Maggie.