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What Does a Clinical Pharmacist Do?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers

It is typically the job of a clinical pharmacist to inform medical professionals about both the benefits and dangers of certain medications, while also acting as a mentor to pharmacist technicians. While people in this profession may have some customer contact, they are different from pharmacist technicians in that they focus more on researching drugs and advising doctors than giving prescription medications to patients. The assistance they offer physicians usually includes information on correct dosage amounts and side effects. They also often train pharmacist technicians so they can properly label and distribute medications to customers. In addition, clinical pharmacists usually perform their own research in hopes of discovering new drugs to help treat conditions.

The typical clinical pharmacist dispenses advice to doctors before they prescribe medications to patients. For example, doctors might ask a clinical pharmacist which drug would be best for a particular condition or in conjunction with a particular patient's other medicines. They also may request help prescribing the right amount, because dosages usually differ depending on factors such as weight, the severity of the illness and the general health of the patient. In addition, a clinical pharmacist often knows the side effects and risks of most medications, which may help him or her advise doctors on the best ones to offer patients.

Clinical pharmacists generally work closely with doctors and nurses.
Clinical pharmacists generally work closely with doctors and nurses.

Clinical pharmacists often serve as mentors for pharmacist technicians, who are usually seen dispensing drugs to patients from behind the counter of drugstore pharmacies. A clinical pharmacist tends to help technicians correctly label and organize the medications before distributing them to customers. At this point, he may have contact with customers, because some clinical pharmacists counsel patients on the possible side effects and risks of each drug, especially when the technician lacks the knowledge or time to do so. When these clinical pharmacist duties have been met, many also mentor pharmacy residents, because students coming into this field can benefit from the advice of someone already practicing.

Clinical pharmacists research possible side effects from prescription medications.
Clinical pharmacists research possible side effects from prescription medications.

An important aspect of the usual clinical pharmacist requirements is research. Many professionals in this field are expected to perform their own research in an effort to discover additional medications that can treat various conditions. They may work with pharmaceutical companies to explore new treatments, or they might conduct their own studies based on what they know about existing drugs. Some people in this field may even spread their knowledge by writing articles or books, presiding over seminars or teaching classes on the basics of the field.

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    • Clinical pharmacists generally work closely with doctors and nurses.
      By: HconQ
      Clinical pharmacists generally work closely with doctors and nurses.
    • Clinical pharmacists research possible side effects from prescription medications.
      By: Chantelle Morris
      Clinical pharmacists research possible side effects from prescription medications.