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Clinical Pharmacology Programs

Many people are familiar with the retail pharmacist behind the desk at a drug store. He or she fills prescriptions and answers questions about medication bought over-the-counter. There is a slightly different role for those who complete clinical pharmacology programs. They are known as clinical pharmacists who work in a healthcare setting with other medical professionals to coordinate patients’ medications.

What Does a Clinical Pharmacist Do?

A clinical pharmacist not only collaborates with doctors, but they also interact directly with patients and make decisions about which medications are best. Some of their duties may also include:

  • Assessing health problems
  • Evaluating the progress and effectiveness of prescribed medications
  • Consulting with doctors and other healthcare providers on medication therapy for patients
  • Instructing patients on taking their medications
  • Using specialized knowledge of drug interactions and adverse effects to develop proper medication therapy

A clinical pharmacist may perform clinical trials before dispensing certain prescriptions. Some may also develop drug-related policies and determine guidelines for different prescriptions.

They might also evaluate outcomes after dispensing prescriptions in counsel with patients to ensure they understand the benefits and risks of drug therapies.

Educational Path for Becoming a Clinical Pharmacist

Becoming a clinical pharmacist requires a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and work experience in a hospital. Anyone pursuing this career first receives a bachelor’s degree. While some pharmacological schools do not specify the type of degree, most students will complete an undergraduate degree in a science field.

A fundamental knowledge in the sciences such as biology or chemistry is very helpful to enter advanced training programs. Getting a good score on the Pharmacy College Admissions test is another minimum requirement to working in this field.

Pharmacy programs can take an additional four years where students take a deep dive into medicines for which they will prescribe, monitor and study.

Continuing Educational Requirements

Typically, states require practicing pharmacists to participate in continuing education programs. These programs help to ensure pharmacists retain the most up-to-date information about administering medications. Any changes will affect how the pharmacists serve patients.

Becoming a member in a professional organization helps pharmacists stay abreast of changes that effect what is necessary to keep their license.

This particular field of pharmacy gives professionals a chance to care for patients in different healthcare settings. Working with patient service providers, clinical pharmacists meet the needs of patients. They optimize the effectiveness of medication therapy by promoting health, wellness and prevention of disease.