Community Pharmacist Job Description
Community pharmacists interact administer medication to the public. Community pharmacists have to be experts on a variety of medications, learning about new medications as they are released. They are like the reference librarians of the pharmaceutical world. Community pharmacists are employed by pharmacies. They may work at a pharmacy within a supermarket or big-box retailer, or they may work at an independent pharmacy. Some own their own pharmacy. Some pharmacies are open late and on weekends, so community pharmacists may have to work evening and weekend shifts.
In addition to pharmaceutical duties, community pharmacists are responsible for hiring and training pharmacy staff. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacists is set to rise 6 percent through 2026.
Community Pharmacist Duties and Responsibilities
Administering medication to the general public involves a lot of responsibility. We researched community pharmacist job descriptions to come up with the following list of duties and responsibilities:
Collaborate with Physicians to Receive Prescriptions
In today’s age, many prescriptions are sent digitally straight to a patient’s pharmacy of choice. It is the responsibility of the community pharmacist to develop and maintain relationships with local physicians.
Fill Patient Prescriptions and Instruct Customers on How to Use Medications
Community pharmacists fill prescriptions for customers. They often delegate tasks like pill counting to interns or pharmacy technicians. Their main focus is educating patients on how to use medications and efficiently answering their questions.
Advise Customers on Minor Ailments and General Health Topics
Many people go to their local community pharmacist for advice on what to take for minor ailments, such as colds, as well as how to treat minor abrasions. They recommend non-prescription medication when possible, and refer customers to a physician when necessary.
Work with Insurance Companies and Complete Corresponding Paperwork
Community pharmacists depend on insurance companies to get paid. They have to stay on top of all the paperwork necessary to get customers their medication, otherwise, they do not get paid.
Administer Flu Shots and Other Minor Vaccinations
You don’t have to go to your primary care physician to get a flu shot. Community pharmacists administer thousands of flu shots around the globe each flu season.
Community Pharmacist Skills
It goes without saying that community pharmacists need to be experts in pharmacology. They also need to understand the procedures for administering shots since one of their duties is administering flu vaccinations. Community pharmacists have to have mastery of electronic health record (EHR) systems. They have to be good delegators and excellent communicators. Much of their day is spent instructing interns or communicating with the public. In addition to these traits and areas of knowledge, the following skills are needed to get hired:
- Delegating basic tasks to interns and pharmacy technicians
- Using pharmaceutical knowledge to educate customers on how to use their medication
- Collaborating with insurance companies to facilitate cash flow for the pharmacy
- Analyzing the electronic health records of customers to determine risk for adverse reactions to medications
- Educating customers on preventative health measures and how to treat minor ailments.
Community Pharmacist Tools of the Trade
- Electronic health records – used to digitally receive prescriptions and keep patients from mixing medications that may cause adverse reactions
Community Pharmacist Education and Training
The education process for becoming a community pharmacist is extensive. The first step is to complete an undergraduate pre-med program. The second step is to earn a doctorate degree from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. This degree includes four years of clinical work. The first two years are introductory pharmacy experience and the last two years cover advanced pharmacy practices. After earning their degree, they have to pass the North American Pharmacists Licensure Examination. They also have to pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination or their state’s equivalent. This exam tests them on the legal aspects of the pharmaceutical world. Each state has its own requirements for obtaining and maintaining a pharmacist’s license.
Community Pharmacist Salary
According to Glassdoor, community pharmacists make an average of $119,000. Those at the bottom of the scale make $110,000, while those at the top of the scale make $129,000
Community Pharmacist Resources
Below is a list of resources procured for aspiring and practicing community pharmacists:
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy – The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is responsible for administering the tests community pharmacists need to pass to obtain a license. Its website contains information on preparation for these tests. It also offers local and national meetings for members.
American College of Clinical Pharmacy – The American College of Clinical Pharmacy is one of the most respected organizations in the pharmaceutical industry. Its website contains a collection of publications relevant to all types of pharmacists.
Pharmacy Times – Pharmacy Times is more than just an online publication. In addition to daily articles from established pharmacists, its website contains educational videos, clinical resources on a variety of conditions, and a continuing education section for members.
Drug Topics – Drug Topics is a blog for pharmacists that is a part of the Modern Medicine Network. It is regularly updated with the latest trends in the pharmaceutical industry. Articles are written by community pharmacists from around the country.
Drug Information: A Guide for Pharmacists – This 1347-page behemoth covers an extensive number of drugs and the diseases they treat. It also catalogs a variety of adverse drug reactions. One of the things that makes this book a good resource is it provides biomedical research to back up all statements.
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