By Ekpoh Mfonobong
Pharmacy is the art, practice, or profession of preparing, preserving, compounding, and dispensing medical drugs. Howbeit, this noble profession has evolved over the years with its development and expansion resulting in a profession more diverse than was previously seen. Its areas of expertise span a great width. Thus, the robustness of the profession buttresses the need for diversification, in order to facilitate provision of better services to its populace. Different fronts of the profession include:
- Research and Development Pharmacy
- Industrial Pharmacy
- Hospital Pharmacy
- Community Pharmacy
- Social and Administrative Pharmacy
- Pharmacists in the Academia etc.
The choice of a specialty gives more knowledge, helps one to contribute extensively and maximize all opportunities available for self-improvement.
Furthermore, the paradigm shift of the profession from product-oriented to patient-oriented with researches and modifications of already existing policies has led to the current Pharmacy philosophy- Pharmaceutical Care (PC). PC is the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient's quality of life (Hepler and Strand 1990). This philosophy has greatly improved rendered services, as such, in whatever specialty, improving the patient's quality of life is the focus. So in case you are wondering, "Why strive to do better?" "Why the quest for more knowledge?" "Why enact policies to improve already set strategies?” The answer is not far-fetched- "We are at your service!”
Pharmacists play key roles in clinical research. In this era of collaborative practice terms, these researches may address important questions that facilitate improved patient care or service delivery, without specifically advancing Pharmacy practice, but still contributing to the scientific literature as a whole and may add little to the entire health care system (Sheri et al 2011). These research results are harnessed to improve the quality of life of patients. Pharmacists have been exposed to science and according to Bertolt Brecht, "The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom but to set a limit on infinite error." With the knowledge obtained, both from new medical researches and those peculiar to practicing environs, pharmacists persevere to facilitate its application in healthcare. This shows the usefulness of enacting new policies and continually assessing strides achieved in a given time to seek further ways of improving healthcare.
From research to healthcare; a lot of work is required. Rendering service to anyone requires diligence; no wonder Iroquois Maxim says; "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." With this, Pharmacists have a duty towards self and the populace despite varied responsibilities among the different areas of expertise. Saddled with the responsibility of achieving the best medication treatment outcomes for patients, ensuring cost-effectiveness and safe therapy, Pharmacists are medication experts. Services such as Clinical researches (Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes, Global Health Issues); Pharmacogenetic therapy (individualization of therapy according to genetic makeup of a person); Modified release forms of tablets produced by Industrial Pharmacists for concordance; training future health professionals; Pharmacists involvement in creating awareness for the existence, treatment and prevention of diseases; Patient education, counseling and provision of expertise information about drug composition and posology; Pharmacists involvement in policy making and actualization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) etc show our values.
Conclusively, the holistic view of the pharmacy profession reveals the different aspects that are paramount for an all rounded practice. Notwithstanding that diversities of this practice exist, the efforts of each aspect of the profession is channeled towards meeting the health care needs of the society and to which end we can proudly say, we are your pharmacists and at your service.
Sheri L Koshman and Joseph Blais (2011). What is Pharmacy Research?. Can J Hosp Pharm.; 64(02): 154-155