The field of pharmacy sciences has a history that dates back to the initial development of the medical arts. A vital knowledge of substances and their actions on the body in both sickness and health was necessary for any doctor over the ages. This continued through the centuries, and it is only in the latter half of the twentieth century that the divide between physicians and pharmacists has become more pronounced. However, even modern pharmacists can have an extensive clinical knowledge and are still able to consult and advise patients about general and specific healthcare concerns.
Many early pharmacists were what would now be considered herbalist, since a majority of even modern drugs are either derived or synthesized from plants and natural materials. Apothecaries were once a need where counsel and support for health could be found, and this included medicinal substances alongside items that could improve quality of life. In modern years, pharmacies had shifted to becoming more of a dispensary, rather than a place of healing and education, although changes in healthcare concepts are shifting the role of the pharmacists back to a patient oriented care giver in the community.
The initial purpose of the apothecary is inspirational to many individuals who wish to pursue a career in the healthcare field. For a number of people, this occupation still brings to mind the concept of a healer, and this can be highly motivating for those who wish to work in the healthcare field in general medicine. Although a number of pharmacists may have advanced degrees in a specialty subject, part of the importance of this role is to be able to supply information on a number of conditions and medications. This variety can be highly appealing to many.
Since medications of some kind are used in nearly every healthcare setting, the career opportunities for pharmacists are abundant. Some options to be considered include:
Along with these more traditional career paths, some pharmacists will work with supplement distributors and manufacturers of herbal medicines. This option can combine many of the responsibilities of a research, compounding, and community pharmacist, and is a position that continues to grow in demand. Most people who work in pharmacy sciences do find that careers will tend to overlap on responsibilities for different classifications of pharmacist.
Compared to other healthcare professions, pharmacists are generally able to move through educational and experiential requirements at a faster pace. Candidates will need to complete at least an Associate’s Degree before enrolling in pharmacy school, although many individuals will complete a full four year degree, since they can major in subjects such as chemistry and biology, which may be pre-requisites for many pharmacy schools.
In order to become a pharmacist, candidates will also need to complete a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD.) degree, and then become board certified before being able to practice. This is a four year course that incorporates technical and theoretical learning with clinical experience and prepares candidate for a large venue of employment. People may also wish to pursue higher learning degrees in specialty subjects, although this is not a requirement for licensing and practice.
Career opportunities for pharmacists are considerably abundant, since they can work in a clinical healthcare setting, but can also hold positions in industrial and research based facilities. This also gives people the opportunity to explore a number of different jobs that are all a part of the pharmacy sciences, which can be highly appealing to individuals who are critical thinkers.
One of the greatest reasons that people decide to become a pharmacists is because they want to be a part of a healthcare team, and they want to help people heal. This can be achieved in a number of settings, including a community pharmacy. The ability to consult with patients and monitor drug regimens also gives pharmacists a chance to truly establish a relationship with patients, which can be vital to continuity of care.
Even community pharmacists will work fairly closely with physicians. This extends beyond verifying and filling prescriptions, and will often include evaluating patient lab results and monitoring drug protocols. In cases where the pharmacist is on site at a clinic or provides home care for patients, pharmacists can also act as a mediator between the patient and their attending doctor, in order to discuss the benefits or side effects of a specific type of therapy.
The choice of a career in pharmacy sciences is also incredibly stable, as many treatments do rely upon medications of some form. This can also be applicable to preventive measures such as vaccines and flu shots, and a number of pharmacists will also provide services for administering this type of treatment. Individuals also have the ability to educate the public regarding preventive measures and alternatives for a healthier lifestyle, which can increase patient responsibility for wellness measures.
On the less public side of pharmacy jobs, people also have the chance to take part in the development and testing of new medications that can address chronic conditions. This aspect is highly appealing to many individuals, as it allows for innovations in healthcare and better treatment protocols for the public. The result is that pharmacists are an integral part of healthcare teams, even if they are not directly working with care providers in a clinic setting.