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What Does a Critical Care Pharmacist Do?

A critical care pharmacist should be familiar with each patient and each patient's diagnoses, prognosis, treatments, allergies and medications.
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  • Written By: Nick Mann
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A critical care pharmacist is a person who handles the medication that critically ill patients receive. Unlike regular pharmacists, these individuals are responsible for prescribing medication to patients who are severely ill and often hospitalized. The educational requirements for this career are typically a bachelor's degree in pharmacy or something closely related. Some common job duties of a critical care pharmacist include communicating with a patient's doctor, filling patient prescriptions, advising patients or family members on the use of medication, keeping track of patient medication records and attending meetings.

One of the primary responsibilities of a critical care pharmacist is to communicate with a patient's doctor. Due to the often serious medical complications of a critical care patient, it's essential for a pharmacist to keep lines of communication open. For example, a doctor might explain the specifics of a patient's case, the level of pain a patient is in and any other factors. An effective working relationship between the pharmacist and doctor maximizes the odds of a patient responding favorably to medication.

A critical care pharmacist will also handle the filling of patient prescriptions. Once a patient's doctor has performed an evaluation, a pharmacist will fill the order with the proper type and amount of medication. If he is working in a medical facility, he might also bring the medication to a patient. Otherwise, a family member will usually pick it up at the pharmacy.

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Along with this, he will usually advise both patients and family members on the use of medication. He might explain the correct dosage and how many times the medication should be taken throughout the day. If a medication is known to have side effects, he will also explain them and how to counteract them. Consequently, a critical care pharmacist must be able to effectively communicate with others.

Another part of this position involves keeping track of a patient's records. In the medical world, it's extremely important for doctors, pharmacists and other health care providers to stay informed about a patient's health records and medications. That's why a critical care pharmacist must carefully document the prescriptions he has filled for each patient and any other pertinent information. These records are typically input into a computer database for future reference.

In addition, a critical care pharmacist will sometimes need to attend meetings. This mainly pertains to individuals who work within a large medical facility, like a hospital. During these meetings, the pharmacist may discuss problems that his pharmacy is experiencing and how to optimize its operations.

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