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FAQ: What is a Pharmacist?

What is a Pharmacist?

According to Merriam Webster's dictionary, a pharmacist is "a practitioner having professional clinical skills in the practice of medicine". A pharmacist may work at a pharmacy, clinic, hospital or general drug store.

In the United States, pharmacists are required to be licensed by state boards to dispense prescription medications and nonprescription products. In some areas of the United States, pharmacists are also required to meet requirements for continuing education and certification to maintain their license.

A pharmacist prepares and dispenses medication, both over the counter and through a prescription system.

The usual medications that a pharmacist provides are over-the-counter medications such as:

  • cough and cold remedies,

  • pain relievers,

  • antibiotics,

  • contraceptive pills,

  • sex hormones,

  • diabetes care,

  • asthma,

  • dandruff

  • and adult care.

More specialized pharmaceuticals are administered by pharmacists. Examples of these types of pharmaceuticals are sedatives for those suffering from:

  • insomnia,

  • tranquility aids for those with anxiety disorders

  • and antihistamines for allergy sufferers.

A prescription usually means that the patient must visit a local pharmacy to purchase the medicine. Contact OMNI Virtual Doctors and Pharmacists online today to save time and money.

In most areas of the United States, a pharmacist is required by law to be licensed especially if he or she works in drug stores. Most states require pharmacists to obtain continuing education credit on a yearly basis as well as take a pharmacology test and pass it in order to keep their license. This requirement varies from state to state.

A licensed pharmacist is required to follow procedures and guidelines established by the American Pharmacy Association (APhA) and other national or regional organizations responsible for the regulation of pharmacies. An APhA member who works in a drug store or medical facility is required by law to be a registered pharmacist, and may not work under any other profession names. Employers who want to hire a pharmacist must check his or her qualifications and experience, which may include working under a doctor or a nurse and following all hospital policies.

Many pharmacists work as consultants or independent contractors.

A consultant, such as a school nurse or pharmacy technician, provides support to management in the area of pharmacy practice management, clinical information management, reimbursement and benefits administration. An independent contractor provides specific services only for specified clients, who may be physicians, hospitals, or independent organizations. Independent contractors work to manage projects within their scope of responsibility.

For example, a health care clinic may hire a consultant to help manage the medications provided for a specific group of patients.

A pharmacist may work as a pharmacy technician, a pharmacist, pharmacy technician specialist, or an assistant.

Pharmacy technicians are responsible for basic tasks such as stocking shelves, preparing samples, labeling bottles, etc., while pharmacy technicians are responsible for completing prescriptions, filling out insurance forms, and answering phone calls. Pharmacy assistants perform more specialized tasks such as mixing and dispensing medications, stocking medicine cabinets, emptying trash containers, and customer service.

Visit with a licensed American English-speaking online pharmacists today!

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