Requisites of being a pharmacist
Before applying to top pharmacy schools, you should be asking yourself why do you want to be a pharmacist. For some, the answer is easy. For others, it will take some seriously deep thought about your life and where you want to end up with your education and career.
In pharmacy, the core subjects that will need to be mastered are math and science. But that’s just the beginning. Pharmacists are educators, whether it be for the public, prescriber’s, or other health care professionals. No matter what area of pharmacy you end up in, education will more than likely be involved in your day to day job duties. As a pharmacist you must also be able to think critically.
When it comes to patients that are very sick, pharmacists often have to combine evidence from several different sources to decide on a course of action that will benefit each individual patient. There is no cut and paste answer for every scenario.
Lastly, pharmacists must be able to communicate effectively, whether it be in oral or written format. Pharmacists are often responsible for breaking down complex drug mechanisms into easy to understand directions for patients, and in order to do this, communication must be top notch.
So while top pharmacy schools are looking for candidates that have excelled in their studies, more important than a 4.0 GPA is being well-rounded with an exceptional skill for communication.
No matter where you end up practicing, your primary responsibilities as a pharmacist will be the same. You will be responsible for monitoring a patient’s therapies, both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic (diet and exercise, for example) for both effectiveness and safety. Your job duties will extend far beyond just verifying that a prescription is accurately filled. In addition to accuracy, you must be monitoring for pre-existing conditions that may affect the way the medication works.
You’ll have to be monitoring for possible drug allergies. You will have to educate patients on how to safely take their medication. This means counselling on information such as side effects that can be expected, how to tell if the medication is working, what to do if a dose is missed, how to store the medication, etc. When considering why do you want to be a pharmacist, these are the primary job duties that should be considered.
It’s important to keep in mind that pharmacy is not only a science, but a business as well. When considering why do you want to be a pharmacist, it’s crucial to think about the business side of this profession as well.
In addition to monitoring effectiveness and safety of drug therapies, pharmacists are often also responsible for monitoring the business side of the pharmacy. This means being able to do calculations to look at inventory turnover, profit, acceptable margins, and other business calculations.
Why do you want to be a pharmacist?
Enough with all of the technicalities and responsibilities of being a pharmacist, there are many other reasons why someone would want to be a pharmacist. So why do you want to be a pharmacist? Try thinking about it like this: pharmacists are the last line between patients and medications that can be deadly if taken incorrectly.
Most patients trust their pharmacists more than they trust their doctors. Pharmacy workers are not only seen as health care providers in the community, but also a source of wisdom and respect. Many people will seek out the wisdom of their pharmacist in times of need with extremely personal problems due to the trust and respect that is built by serving your community.
Pharmacists are also some of the top leaders in medication development in the United States. Who better to analyze clinical trials involving medications than the drug experts themselves? While some are busy helping keep their community healthy, others are busy working for drug companies to develop new medications that will save lives worldwide.
So, when answering the question why do you want to be a pharmacist, try to think past the initial perks such as a high salary and a “Dr.” before your name. While these are definitely benefits, the real reason pharmacists succeed in the community is because they are dedicated to patient safety and care, and making their community a happier, healthier place.