Clinical Pharmacist

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Clinical Pharmacist


If you know that you will be going to the hospital for long-term care, ask your community pharmacist for a list of your current medications and take the list to your clinical pharmacist when you are admitted, so they can better care for you while in the hospital. Then, when you are ready to leave the hospital, ask your clinical pharmacist for a list of the medications that you started in hospital, or any changes made, including drugs added, drugs stopped, or dosing times that have been changed, so that you can share this with your community pharmacist when you return home. Pharmacists are truly concerned with caring for your health.

Clinical pharmacists, sometimes called hospital pharmacists, advise patients and medical staff on the appropriate use of medicines. They also work with nursing and medical staff to prepare, mix and give out prescribed medicines. They are experts on drugs and medicines, working as a part of the hospital team, providing the proper medications and doses to each patient.

Clinical pharmacists may have the designation of Clinical Pharmacist Practitioner (CPP), which means they are licensed pharmacists approved to provide drug therapy management under the direction of, or under the supervision of a licensed physician who has provided written instructions for a patient and disease specific drug therapy which may include ordering, changing, substituting therapies or ordering tests.

The clinical pharmacist is responsible for reviewing the patient medication regimen, new orders, and collaboratively monitoring the patient's response to their medications. They screen patient's medical history for potential problems with medications such as dosing, drug allergies, drug interactions, IV compatibilities and food-drug interactions. Physicians are informed of potential problems, as well as potential alternatives to avoid the problem. In addition, clinical pharmacists do rounds with the medical team to provide drug information to patients.

Clinical pharmacists are also actively involved in monitoring antibiotic therapy, TPN therapy, IV therapy, as well as, any medications that require additional laboratory monitoring. Direct patient education is also provided by the clinical pharmacists in the hospital and upon discharge. In addition, medication calendars are available for patients with multiple medications or compliance problems.

Many pharmacists are drawn to clinical pharmacy because of the direct contact with patients and with other health care professionals when visiting the wards or serving outpatient clinics. The pharmacist can easily liaise with doctors and nurses to encourage effective and economical drug treatment. They are the drug experts within the health care team, and the person most aware of the adverse effects of particular medicines or the combination of medicines. They also give advice on dosage, suggest the most appropriate form of medication, such as a syrup, tablet, injection, ointment or inhaler, and point out reactions between medications and specific foods.
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UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

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  Interests and Skills  
Clinical pharmacists must have a genuine interest in people from all walks of life, and desire to help them get better through dispensing and education about certain medications. They need good communication skills, and tact and good judgment. They must be able to work under pressure with a high degree of integrity. They can work independently and with others and should have the desire to keep up to date with new ideas and advances in the pharmaceutical sciences.

Clinical pharmacists should enjoy performing tasks requiring precision and organized methods, while synthesizing medical information. They need to ask clients what types of medications they are on, so that new ones will not conflict. Clinical pharmacists should also be able to direct and instruct pharmacy staff.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Check prescriptions for proper dosages
  • Compound prescribed pharmaceutical products by calculating, measuring and mixing the quantities of drugs and other ingredients required and filling appropriate containers with correct quantities
  • Dispense prescribed pharmaceuticals to customers or to other health care professionals and advise them on the administration, uses and effects of the medication, drug incompatibilities and contraindications
  • Monitor the effects of patient drug therapies and work closely with physicians and other health care professionals to ensure that patients receive safe and cost-effective drug therapy
  • Maintain medication profiles of patients including registry of poisons and narcotic and controlled drugs
  • Do rounds with doctors and nurses, visiting and educating patients about the medications they are taking
  • Ensure proper storage of vaccines, serums, biologicals and other pharmaceutical products to prevent deterioration
  • Participate in basic research work for the development of new drugs
  • Test new drug products for stability and to determine their absorption and elimination patterns
  • Control the quality of drug products during production to ensure that they meet standards of potency, purity, uniformity, stability and safety
  • Develop informational materials concerning the uses and properties of particular drugs
  • Evaluate labeling, packaging and advertising of drug products
  • May specialize in fields such as oncology, cardiology, psychiatry, infectious disease or drug information
  • Clinical pharmacists either work alone or in tandem with another pharmacist or with a pharmacy technician. They often work rotating shifts, including evenings and holidays. Hours are fairly standard -- approximately 40 to 50 hours per week.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Clinical pharmacists work in clinics, hospitals and related institutions such as seniors' lodges and nursing homes. Some also work in sales positions representing pharmaceutical companies, providing drug detailing to physicians and pharmacists, or in industrial settings such as large pharmaceutical companies, or educational and research institutions.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Clinical pharmacists may take on the role of trainer by making presentations to colleagues or by teaching student nurses, pharmacy technicians, medical students or pharmacy graduates. Promotion often involves taking on the management of a particular area of the service or moving into an administrative position. Pharmacists may advance into the pharmaceutical world and work in the corporate side of pharmaceutical dispensing. Clinical pharmacists who want to work in the field of research can attend graduate programs to specialize in areas of drug research. They may also participate in pharmacy fellowships designed to prepare them for research jobs.

  Educational Paths  
The educational requirement for becoming a clinical pharmacist is a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy. It is composed of one year of undergraduate science studies followed by four years of pharmacy. Those aiming for clinical or hospital work will need a longer residency. Space is limited in most pharmacy programs and acceptance into a program is determined mainly by marks from the student's first year of sciences. Licensure is required for pharmacists.

Some students also work towards a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm D). This requires about six years of postsecondary study. Entrants into the Doctor of Pharmacy program do not require a bachelors degree, since the program itself combines a bachelors and doctoral program, specializing in hospital pharmacy.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Technician (11-Month Diploma Program)

Platt College
Turn Your Passion Into A Career with Platt!
At Platt College, we encourage our students to follow their passions, wherever they may lie, to find a career they love. You’ll find a supportive learning environment and career-focused training designed to help you gain the knowledge and hands-on training you need to succeed. 
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