Pharmacists perform a lot of different functions in relation to pharmaceutical services and patient care. However, not all pharmacists perform the same function. This is because depending on the area of practice and position in the organization some functions may not be necessary. There some functions that a hospital pharmacist performs which are not necessary in a community practice. The functions of an industrial pharmacist are different from those of administrative pharmacists.
The following are the duties and responsibility of a pharmacist in community practice:
- The community pharmacist fills and dispenses prescriptions. He reads the prescription and provides the drugs prescribed appropriately. He labels the drugs appropriately and dispense to the patient.
- The pharmacist counsels the patients on the drugs dispensed. This involves giving the patients information about adverse reactions and interactions with other medications, food, alcohol and other beverages. The pharmacist during counseling also trains the patients on how and when to take doses, how to minimize side effects and get the maximum benefits from the medication.
- The pharmacist checks for the patients’ safety in the prescription. Whenever a patient presents a prescription before him, he checks it to ensure that the patient’s health is not at risk as a result of the drugs prescribed. He checks for drug interactions, ask questions to ascertain that there are no contraindications and weigh the impact of the adverse effects.
- The pharmacist communicates with prescribers on issues relating to the prescription given to the patient. If a pharmacist notices anything potentially harmful to a patient, he connects with the prescriber and discusses the needed correction.
- The pharmacist advises the patients on general health. It is the pharmacist’s responsibility to educate his patients on general health care and what he should do to maintain good health. He advises the patients on lifestyle modifications, dieting, herbal and natural health products and all that tends to a healthy life.
- The pharmacist compounds extemporaneous preparations when necessary. There are times that the prescribed medication has to be prepared, and that is the duty of the pharmacist. He compounds and labels the preparations appropriately.
- In community practice, it is the duty of the pharmacist to manage staff of the pharmacy. He oversees the work of other staff in the pharmacy and trains them on basic pharmaceutical services. He also supervises and mentors pharmacist interns and students on industrial attachment. In his management capacity the pharmacist also makes hiring decisions and setting and enforcing workplace policies. Some pharmacies however employ a manager who may not be a pharmacist and in such situation the duty of managing staff lies with the manager.
- The pharmacist also performs administrative duties. He ensures the day to day running of the business and everything in the business is orderly. It is his duty to make sure that needed products are stocked in the right quantities. He monitors stock movement and supply.
- It is the responsibility of the pharmacist to educate health provider colleagues (doctors, nurses and other health care providers) about new medications and drug therapy protocols. The pharmacist is the drug expert and it is his duty to educate both his colleagues in the health care team as well as the general public.
- It is the responsibility of the pharmacist to attend continuing education courses to update his knowledge and as a requirement for renewal of license. Apart from the mandatory continuing education, it is important to attend other training to develop himself professionally and in other life skills.
There are other duties and responsibilities of a pharmacist in community practice but the above listed are the most important ones.