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Becoming a Pharmacist


A career in pharmacy is not just only about filling prescriptions – pharmacists also provide advice and warnings with specific medicine’s side effects, interactions with other drugs, and a whole lot more. It’s about promoting health awareness and contributing towards the betterment of a community, and is a career with great responsibility.


All in a day’s work

Seeing the bigger picture. Pharmacists dispense medication and other approved remedies, often following a patient visit to a physician.  As a pharmacist you can review the medication record of a person, from this they need to know how to understand and guide people in relation to their history and the specific medicine being dispensed.

Helping others.Pharmacists play a key role in helping patients feel better and get well as quickly as possible. Pharmacists can be instrumental in improving the health of patients by choosing the best medicines and helping to avoid side effects. There are often multiple medications available on the market to treat a single disease or ailment. Pharmacists work with prescribers to determine the best drug- and non-drug therapy for a patient’s particular illness, age, gender, health, etc.

Informing customers how to take their medicine.Can the patient drink alcohol while on a course of antibiotics? When should she start taking her new birth control pill? Is a specific asthma medication supposed to be taken regularly or just after an attack? It’s things like this, that a great pharmacist will know. 

Cultural diversity. Matthew Lennick of PharmD USA, shares: “I work with patients from any background imaginable which allows me, and forces me, to learn and practice cultural sensitivity. The population is becoming more and more diverse. Healthcare needs to adapt to this by embracing and responding to differences in patients’ expectations based on their culture. As a pharmacist, I am in the perfect position to strengthen the healthcare message by tailoring my recommendations to patients”.

The real deal.Pharmacists can work 8-10 hour days and often work more than the typical 40 hours a week due to the high demand for prescription medications. Most pharmacists work in stores/pharmacies instead of hospitals, but like any healthcare professional you may be  exposed to various illnesses. Long hours of standing are often required.



Pharmacists can work in a myriad of professional settings:


  • Community pharmacists dispense prescriptions; provide advice on drug selection and usage to doctors and other health professionals, primary healthcare advice and support, and educating customers on health promotion, disease prevention and the proper use of medicines.

  • Consultant pharmacists are either employed by community pharmacies or hospitals, or are self- employed and contract with community pharmacies to provide medication reviews for residential care or ambulatory care patients and/or other medication-related cognitive services.

  • Hospital pharmacists operate as part of a healthcare team and are involved in monitoring medication usage, counselling patients, providing drug information and advice to health professionals and the community, conducting clinical trials and preparing products for patient use. They usually have a lot of contact with other health professionals and members of the public.

  • Industrial pharmacists undertake research and the development, manufacture, testing, analysis and marketing of pharmaceutical and medical products.

  • Outside the square and going places: Pharmacists also work as locums and in fields such as the military, law, journalism, academic teaching, research, pharmaceutical policy and in rural and remote areas, and even abroad.


Becoming a pharmacist

After completing an approved program at university, obtaining a provisional registration with the pharmacy board of Australia, and getting an internship and the required hours for experience in a pharmacy – you are now a pharmacist. But it doesn’t end there being a pharmacist requires lifelong learning. You’ll need to keep up-to-date with new medicines, new treatments and new skills.

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