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Thread: What is Pharmacy Practice?

  1. #1

    Default What is Pharmacy Practice?

    What is pharmacy?

    If you look up the word “pharmacy” in a dictionary, one of the definitions is the art of preparing and dispensing drugs. Although the definition is simplistic and still true, it is also outdated. The word “pharmacy” was originally born in 1651.

    Fast forward 362 years later, pharmacy still exists but its scope has broadened. Even the way we are trained to be pharmacists have changed. We complete four-year doctorate programs like medical doctors. We learn about human anatomy, physical assessments, and therapy like doctors. We study several more pharmacology courses than doctors. Pharmacists are licensed by a governing board and must uphold their education like doctors. Pharmacists are "pharmacy doctors".

    Is all this education needed just to “prepare and dispense drugs”? Couldn’t a robot do the same things? Yes, it can.

    In this author’s opinion, the modern day definition of pharmacy practice is the art of selecting the best medication therapy for patients based on their history, physical assessment, co-morbid conditions, and socio-economic factors. Pharmacists collaborate with the prescribing physician and other members of the medical team to provide the best treatment outcomes for patients. The best therapeutic options are medications that are appropriate and adhere to national recommendations or guidelines.

    Whether you are a pharmacist at a retail store or an ambulatory pharmacist or an academic professor, we all practice pharmacy. You practice pharmacy whenever you counsel a patient, who is overwhelmed by the selection of antacids and probiotics. You practice pharmacy whenever you call the physician to recommend a different anti-psychotic that will not interfere with the patient’s other medication. You practice pharmacy whenever you teach your students how to counsel patients by asking open-ended questions. You practice pharmacy when you publish an article that educates patients about their medications and helps improve their compliance. Pharmacy is practiced in many settings. In all settings the goal is the same鈥昬nsure the best therapeutic outcomes for patients.

    Scope of pharmacy practice has changed

    If you follow the trends, more and more universities are offering online doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) programs, Medication Therapy Management (MTM) programs, and diabetic instructor programs. Pharmacists can obtain a certificate to vaccinate patients, take the BCPS exam (Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist) and even participate in physician CMEs for pharmacy continuing education credits. There is a push for pharmacists to “move from behind the counter” and further their clinical knowledge and practice modern day pharmacy. With implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there will be a huge influx of patients seeing primary care physicians. Hence, there will be a bigger demand for pharmacist-run ambulatory clinics to help provide care.

    Pharmacists are healthcare providers

    Imagine this: you are on a medical team, rounding on an unstable ICU patient with a declining renal function. The microbiology laboratory informs the attending physician that the latest set of blood cultures indicates that the patient has vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE) and needs to be reported to the county health department. The nurse, dietician, physical therapist, case manager, and medical intern all look at each other for the next step for this problem鈥晅hen they look at you. At this moment, the team is waiting for you, the pharmacy doctor, to recommend the best treatment.

    Sometimes, in our busy workday, we forget that we play a pivotal role as the medication therapy expert. We recommend, dispense, and facilitate the best medication therapy for patients based on their conditions. We ensure that all safety measures are in place, verifying the medication and providing it to the patient. We monitor for side effects and adverse reactions and therapeutic responsiveness. After all, who else is best trained for this? We are.

    Future trends in pharmacy practice

    I am not a psychic so I will not profess what the future holds for pharmacy. However, I am armed with the knowledge and experience to know that pharmacists are not heading back to the days of 1651. Equipped with advanced training and technology, our opportunities are expanding. There are two barriers that can hold our potential back. The first one is changing the way government and insurance companies see our value in the healthcare system. The second barrier is the attitude of pharmacists. Will pharmacists seize opportunities presented to them?

    The first barrier is really a matter of time. If we continue to practice modern day pharmacy and advocate for provider status, everyone else will see our value and perhaps insist that 1) medical offices and surgery centers require an on-site pharmacist for reviewing drug therapies, facilitating drug procurement for patients and reducing hospital admissions, 2) ambulatory care pharmacists travel to homes, provide drug monitoring and physical assessment, 3) emergency rooms require an on-site pharmacist for medication history intake and Code Blue participation, and 4) consultant pharmacists open pharmacy offices and see patients for their chronic illnesses. Can you imagine that? Instead of a chiropractor or a nurse practitioner or a physical therapist, a patient will say, “I have an appointment with my pharmacist today”.

    The second barrier is attitude. If you want to be a dispensing pharmacist like in the 1600s, then you act like one. If you want to be a pharmacist who should have provider status, then you change your attitude and practice like a pharmacy doctor. Set an example, practice like a modern day pharmacist and patients, payers, and other healthcare providers will treat you as such.

    Whether you are a regional manager or a graveyard hospital pharmacist or a professor, you are in the best position to practice modern day pharmacy. If you are not practicing pharmacy like a pharmacy doctor鈥晈hat are you waiting for?

  2. #2
    PharmD Candidate
    Join Date
    Apr 2013


    Since in my information also this was derived 1651 may be and to manage the medicen in order in a pharmacy store considering dated or out of dated along with the knowledge for retail prices as well concession giving to the patients.

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