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What is a Clinical Pharmacist?
A clinical pharmacist consultation can improve the health and wellbeing of patients by providing a complete review of medications (including over-the-counter products and alternative treatments), assessing/recommending laboratory tests, and discussing issues related to compliance, adverse side effects, and drug interactions. Besides the appropriate and safe use of prescribed medications, it is important to evaluate nutrition, sleep, exercise, substance use, and other non-drug therapies to maximize health outcomes. For more information about a psychiatric and neurologic pharmacy specialty see the website for the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacist (CPNP)
Clinical pharmacist’s training and responsibilities include:
What is Medication Therapy Management (MTM)?
Comprehensive medication management is the standard of care that ensures each patient's medications (whether they be prescription, nonprescription, alternative, traditional, vitamins or nutritional supplements) are individually assessed to determine that each medication is: appropriate for the patient, effective for the medical condition, safe given the co-morbidities and other medications being taken, and able to be taken by the patient as intended. Medication management services for behavioral health help to optimizing patient outcomes. For more information, visit www.pcpcc.net/medication-management and www.pcpcc.net/behavioral-health.
What is the Education and Training for a Pharmacist?
Pharmacists who are trained in the United States must now earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited college or school of pharmacy. To be admitted to a Pharm.D. program, an applicant must have completed at least 2 years of specific preprofessional study. This requirement generally includes courses in mathematics and sciences, such as chemistry, biology, and physics, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences. Pharm.D. programs generally take 4 years to complete. The courses offered are designed to teach students about all aspects of drug therapy. In addition, students learn how to communicate with patients and other healthcare providers about drug information and patient care. Students also learn professional ethics, concepts of public health, and business management. In addition to receiving classroom instruction, students spend time working with licensed pharmacists in a variety of practice settings.
Some Pharm.D. graduates obtain further training through 1-year or 2-year residency programs or fellowships. Pharmacy residencies are postgraduate training programs in pharmacy practice and usually require the completion of a research project. The programs are often mandatory for pharmacists who wish to work in a clinical setting. Pharmacy fellowships are highly individualized programs that are designed to prepare participants to work in a specialized area of pharmacy, such clinical practice or research laboratories.
Students who successfully complete the requirements for a professional degree must pass a state licensing examination in order to engage in professional practice. Pharmacy is the third largest health profession (after nursing and medicine) with more than 200,000 clinicians practicing in community pharmacies, hospitals and a variety of other healthcare settings.
General information on careers in pharmacy is available from:
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Pharmaceutical Terms Defined
What is a Clinical Pharmacist?