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How Do I Become an Inpatient Pharmacist?

Most PCAT questions are multiple-choice questions.
An inpatient pharmacist makes sure that each patient in the hospital is supplied with a full day’s dosage of all necessary drugs every morning.
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  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2014
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A person who wants to become an inpatient pharmacist must complete several steps before being able to work in this field. The first one is to complete at least two years of an undergraduate degree program at a college or university. Prospective pharmacists must also take the Pharmacy College Admission Test before they can be admitted to a Pharm.D program. Depending on the jurisdiction where the pharmacist will be working, he or she may be required to pass one or more licensing exams to become fully qualified.

An inpatient pharmacist works in a hospital or nursing home and dispenses medications to patients being cared for on the premises. He or she may supervise junior pharmacists or assistants on the job. The person who wants to become an inpatient pharmacist should have good oral communication skills, since part of this job involves sharing information about recommended dosage and possible side effects of different medications with doctors and other medical personnel.

The first step on the road to become an inpatient pharmacist is to complete at least two years of post-secondary study. Students who would like to be considered for a pharmacy program will need to take courses in chemistry, anatomy and physiology. Other prerequisites for admission to a pharmacy program include calculus, statistics, physics, social science and ethics courses.

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A student who would like to apply for admission to a pharmacy program at university must submit the results of his or her Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) as part of the process, and this step applies to someone who wants to become an inpatient pharmacist as well. The test is conducted on set dates at an approved testing facility. The test is taken on a computer and candidates will receive a preliminary score before they leave the premises. The test is made up of a number of multiple choice and an essay question.

The curriculum for the four-year Pharm.D program includes courses in pharmaceutical practice, biochemistry, patient assessment and pharmacology. The course of study for someone who wants to become an inpatient pharmacist will also include courses in law and ethics as they apply to the pharmacists. During the final year, the student may be expected to work on a research paper, which must be submitted for review by a particular date. Pharmacy students will also have the opportunity to work in a clinical setting to practice what they have learned in the classroom.

Once the requirements for the professional degree have been completed, the next step is to write professional exams. The nature of the licensing exams varies, depending on the location where the pharmacist will be working. An inpatient pharmacist may be required to complete continuing education courses after graduation to retain his or her license to dispense medications.

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