Dispensing medicines is one of the relatively few careers in which you could actually kill somebody just by misreading simple instructions or failing to spot a rudimentary mistake. Pharmacists need to be knowledgeable about the drugs they dispense and pay great attention to detail to fulfill the important role they play in protecting and improving the public's health. Dispensing Correct Medicines Pharmacists check prescriptions from physicians before dispensing medication to patients. This vital role ensures members of the public don't receive the wrong drugs or take an incorrect dose of medicine.
Statement of the Problem The pharmacist's role is expanding beyond the traditional product-oriented functions of dispensing and distributing medicines and health supplies. The pharmacist's services of today include more patient-oriented, administrative and public health functions.
There are many functions of public health that can benefit from pharmacists' unique expertise that may include pharmacotherapy, access to care, and prevention services.
The pharmacist's centralized placement in the community and clinical expertise are invaluable. The reexamination and integration of public health practice into pharmacological training and pharmaceutical care is essential. The encouragement of cross-training will also maximize resources and aid in addressing the work force needs within the fields of pharmacy and public health.
Purpose The American Public Health Association has historically supported the pharmacist's role in public health. Through transdisciplinary approaches, it is envisioned that the pharmacist's contribution to the public health work force, health education, disease prevention and health promotion, public health advocacy, and health quality will aid in achieving optimal public health outcomes.
Role Recognition Pharmacists are not formally classified as a profession within the public health work force, unlike public health nutritionists, nurses and physicians.
The public health role of the pharmacist is yet to be clearly defined, broadly recognized and sufficiently promoted by public health agencies, pharmacy educators or other health care professionals. The pharmacist has health knowledge on which to build and is often uniquely sited in the community to provide public health services, in some cases 24 hours per day.
No appointment is needed at most community pharmacies. Pharmacists work in a variety of public settings, including hospitals, drug, grocery and retail stores, and nursing homes. This convenience creates a large window of opportunity in which to provide public health services, therefore filling a void related to access to care and prevention.
Further, pharmacists in the community are in an ideal position to act as information resources on lifestyle changes that can influence healthy outcomes.
Public Health Education of Pharmacists Due to the prominence of drugs in modern medicine, most health professionals are trained to be familiar with pharmacological concepts. Public health nurses, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dentists, nutritionists and other health workers need varying degrees of knowledge related to drug therapy.
Pharmacists of today are actively teaching physician assistants, nurses, and physicians various techniques of prescribing medications and issues related to the drug use process.
These illustrate ways pharmacists can add to the refinement of knowledge within the public health system. There is a growing need for dually trained professionals in pharmacy and public health.
Few courses are devoted solely to public health in pharmacy, and virtually no textbooks exist to emphasize the role of pharmacy in public health. Consequently, there exists a need for pharmacy schools to incorporate public health and pharmacoepidemiology courses into their curriculum and train pharmacists as public health professionals.
Levels of Pharmacist Public Health Activity Medicine continues to evolve from a disease-oriented practice to one that is more patient-centered and focused on prevention. The profession of pharmacy has undergone a similar metamorphosis: As patients move through the continuum of care, pharmacists have ample opportunity to provide population-based care.
In fact, studies have shown that pharmacists with more comprehensive responsibilities have lowered total costs and improved quality of care outcomes achieved by health care systems, particularly related to chronic conditions. At the micro level, public health activities may be one of many tasks among a pharmacist's set of responsibilities.
For example, a community pharmacist who speaks to community groups about drug abuse and provides hypertension screening in his or her pharmacy is providing public health services at the micro level, while a pharmacist who is the drug program administrator of a state Medicaid program is providing services at the macro level.
Performing public health activities on the micro level still preserves their identity as a pharmacist. Many pharmacists have asserted themselves and established a pronounced functional capacity in public health. However, overall, pharmacists are an underutilized source of factual and anecdotal health data that could assist health planners as they seek to meet community needs.
The ability to motivate public health action is particularly challenging within the confines of the traditional fee-for-product system.Pharmacists have the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the “three Rs” of right drug, right patient and right dose.
Meeting this responsibility requires overseeing the work of and mentoring pharmacy technicians, student interns and residents. The Clinical Pharmacist actively collaborates with patients and care team members, including medication review with patients, consultation with team members, planning visits, and participation in team huddles and panel management meetings.
In some countries, pharmacists supply traditional medicines and dispense homoeopathic prescriptions. Responding to symptoms of minor ailments. The pharmacist receives requests from members of the public for advice on a variety of symptoms and, when indicated, refers the inquiries to a medical practitioner.
In some countries, pharmacists supply traditional medicines and dispense homoeopathic prescriptions. Responding to symptoms of minor ailments. The pharmacist receives requests from members of the public for advice on a variety of symptoms and, when indicated, refers the inquiries to a .
Pharmacists need to be knowledgeable about the drugs they dispense and pay great attention to detail to fulfill the important role they play . The public health role of the pharmacist is yet to be clearly defined, broadly recognized and sufficiently promoted by public health agencies, pharmacy educators or other health care professionals.6 Pharmacists offer an accessibility that is rare among health care professionals.