By Azeh Goodness
In the past, one’d think of a pharmacist as an individual in the retail pharmacy who fills his or her prescription. This traditional role of pharmacists was managing the production and dispensing of drugs. Pharmacists have only been considered dispensers, and not providers and thus their practice has been limited. Their Patients often viewed them as trade merchants and not as healthcare professionals.
Today, howbeit, this role has evolved to an individual who works side-by-side with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in highly, specialized practice settings to assure appropriate medical therapy management.
Indeed, effective medicine cannot be practiced in isolation with efficient drug management– and that is not far away from what the pharmacist seeks to engender. Their contribution to healthcare is contingent upon their in-depth knowledge, their researches and their expertise in drugs and drug-related matters. From a basic education which has risen significantly over the years– shifting from a bachelor of science (BSc.) degree to a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree– to a formally designated period of supervised pre-registration practical experience, pharmacists acquire a broad understanding of the scientific principles and techniques of the pharmaceutical sciences and the ability to keep pace throughout their careers with developments in medicine and pharmacy.
Pharmacists can, therefore, apply these knowledge and skills in such areas as below
This is done by performing or obtaining necessary assessments of the patient’s health status.
Formulation of treatment plans
Since disease treatment goes beyond drug intake alone to nutritional, psychological, and physiological curative efforts, the pharmacist can formulate a holistic remedial plan.
Optimal therapeutic function
With the development of specific and potent synthetic drugs, the emphasis of the pharmacist’s responsibility has moved towards the provision of personalized therapies to meet unique medication needs.
Provision of follow-up services
By ensuring adequate monitoring and evaluation of patients, a comprehensive medication review is established to identify, resolve and prevent medication-related problems, including adverse drug events.
Education of patients
As custodians of drug-related information, pharmacists are able to provide informed advice on the use of prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, as well as provide population-based care in Institution settings.
Education of other health professionals
The pharmacists can advise physicians, nurses and other health workers on medication therapy decision.
Drug formulation and quality control
The understanding of the principles of drug interaction and potential side effects, as well as the techniques in quality assurance, equips pharmacists towards ensuring the formulation of standardized pharmaceutical products.
Drug regulations and control
With the proliferation of hazardous and easily-abused drugs to public consumption, the pharmacists can help ensure that strict regulations are maintained.
Medical record management
They ensure proper documentation of the care delivered and also communicates essential information to the patient’s other primary care providers. This eases future treatment engagements.
Strengthening health care economics.
Pharmacists help appropriate the intricacies of the distribution chain and the tenets of efficient stock-keeping and stock turnover. They are equally familiar with the pricing structures applied to medicinal products, and that puts them as important economists.
Given their wide knowledge-base, pharmacists can fit properly into national and institutionalhealthcare policy formulation committees.
The phrase “ask your pharmacist” is increasing becoming common– and with good reason. Pharmacists are integral part of the health care community and serve as an important source of knowledge and this is evident in their flamboyant presence in healthcare delivery.