What does a Community Pharmacist do?

K. Gierok

Unlike hospital pharmacists, community pharmacists typically work in retail pharmacies. One of the most important duties of a community pharmacist is the providing of prescription medications to the community. In addition, community pharmacists are often required to provide education to customers, work with physicians in order to find the right medication for a particular patient, and provide general health knowledge to a number of customers. The best community pharmacists not only feel comfortable providing all of these duties, but actually enjoy performing them and serving the customers who need their help.

Community pharmacists work in retail pharmacies.
Community pharmacists work in retail pharmacies.

As with other types of pharmacists, one of the most important responsibilities of a community pharmacist is interpreting prescription medication orders and providing them to the appropriate patient. In order to be effective at his or her job, a community pharmacist should be able not only to provide a safe dosage of the medication to the patient, but should also ensure that it will not interfere with any medications that the patient is currently taking. In some cases, drug interactions can not only minimize the effectiveness of the prescription, but can be very dangerous for the person who is taking the pills.

Community pharmacists may fill out a large range of medication prescriptions.
Community pharmacists may fill out a large range of medication prescriptions.

Often, a community pharmacist must work closely with a physician in order to choose a prescription medication. Though doctors have extensive knowledge of medications, they may still depend on a community pharmacist to make a recommendation when it comes to selecting a medication for a patient on numerous pills that have dangerous interactions.

A good community pharmacist must also be able to provide high amounts of education to the patient who is receiving the medication. This education includes not only facts on the time the medication should be taken, but also with what types of food it should or should not be consumed with. In addition, community pharmacists are also expected to provide patients with detailed information regarding potential side effects of the medication, and how to respond to these side effects.

In some cases, a community pharmacist may be required to provide general health knowledge to customers. For example, community pharmacists may receive questions on natural ways to control asthmatic attacks, smoking cessation tips, or the proper use of a blood sugar monitor. In addition, community pharmacists should be able to help customers make educated choices when it comes to selecting a walker or cane. Also, community pharmacists are often required to provide flu shots and other types of vaccines to customers.

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