Day in the Life
Most pharmacists work in a community setting, such as a retail drugstore,
or in a health care facility, such as a hospital, nursing home, mental
health institution, or neighborhood health clinic. They often work with pharmacy technicians.
Pharmacists in community and retail pharmacies counsel
patients and answer questions about prescription drugs, including questions
regarding possible side effects or interactions among various drugs. They
provide information about over-the-counter drugs and make recommendations after
talking with the patient. They also may give advice about the patient's
diet, exercise, or stress management or about durable medical equipment and
home health care supplies. In addition, they also may 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 manage conditions
such as diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation, or high blood pressure. Some
community pharmacists also are trained to administer vaccinations.
Pharmacists in health care 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
assess, plan, and monitor drug programs or regimens. Pharmacists counsel
hospitalized patients on the use of drugs and on their use at home when the
patients are discharged. Pharmacists also may evaluate drug-use patterns
and outcomes for patients in hospitals or managed care organizations.
Pharmacists who work in home health care monitor drug
therapy and prepare infusions -- solutions that are injected into patients
-- and other medications for use in the home.
Most full-time salaried pharmacists work approximately 40
hours a week, and about 10 percent work more than 50 hours. Many community
and hospital pharmacies are open for extended hours or around the clock, so
pharmacists may be required to work nights, weekends, and holidays.
Consultant pharmacists may travel to nursing homes or other facilities to
monitor patients' drug therapy. About 16 percent of pharmacists work part
time. Many pharmacists spend most of their workday on their feet.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor