Magazine article Drug Topics

R.Ph.S as Patients' Drug Consultants

Magazine article Drug Topics

R.Ph.S as Patients' Drug Consultants

Article excerpt

As a recent pharmacy school graduate, I am entering a profession devoted to helping people with their health-care needs. With such great responsibility in mind, I find it important to ask myself, "What have I learned during my years in pharmacy school, and how does that shape my role as a pharmacist? More specifically, how will I, as a pharmacist, help people make the best use of their medications?"

One of the most important ways pharmacists help people make the best use of their medications is through their role as drug information specialists. This role is a prerequisite for many other tasks demanded of a pharmacist. When pharmacists counsel patients on their medications, they must do so with the confidence of a drug information specialist. When pharmacists prepare IV admixtures, they must do so as drug information specialists, in order to know what types of drugs are compatible. Before pharmacists perform drug utilization review on a patient's profile, they must first fulfill the role of drug information specialists in order to make the correct judgments and recommendations. Clearly, pharmacists should be current and accurate in their knowledge of the medications on the market, for such knowledge is a precursor to the various other tasks for which pharmacists are responsible.

Once pharmacists have knowledge of the medications they are involved with, they can help people make the best use of their medications through patient counseling. Pharmacists should be able to assimilate their knowledge into useful pieces of information that can be easily understood by patients. Informing patients of every aspect of their medication use is an integral part of the role of pharmacists. Not only must they counsel patients on how to take their medications, they must also monitor patient compliance and devise ways to keep patients on their proper drug therapies. For how patients take their medications is just as important as the medications themselves. Patients will be more conscious of the importance of taking their medications properly if compliance is adequately stressed by the pharmacist.

Developing close interpersonal relations with patients is another way pharmacists help people make the best use of their medications. By taking the time to chat with their patients, pharmacists often stumble upon vital information that might not surface during a more nonpersonal transaction between pharmacist and patient. Patients are more willing to divulge information they may perceive to be embarrassing and confidential to someone who shows a genuine concern for their well-being. …

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