Pharmacies or medical stores are here to help us, and even if you aren’t on a regular prescription of some sort, you have definitely benefited from one in some way.
But do these pharmacies just run themselves? No! A highly overlooked yet essential part of them is the pharmacists, who actually understand and provide us with the medication we need.
From refilling our prescriptions to providing over-the-counter cough medicine for our toddlers to reminding us of our flu shot to even fulfilling online pharmacy services, pharmacists are the unsung heroes of healthcare. And to show our appreciation, here are some amazing things that most of us don’t know about pharmacists.
Things You Didn’t Know About Pharmacists
Pharmacists are Doctors (Really!)
Pharmacists usually aren’t referred to as doctors, and if we meet a pharmacist at our local pharmacy, they usually introduce themselves by their first name. But even if they don’t present it ostentatiously, they are definitely doctors. That is because ever since 2004, a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) must sit for and pass the exams of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy if they want to work as a pharmacist in the USA.
The people exempt from this are the pharmacists who earned their credentials before 2004 – when a bachelor’s degree was enough to work as a pharmacist. But even then, many chose to take the Pharm.D. route.
Did you know? Nearly twenty-five years ago, only nine states let pharmacists perform immunizations. But today, all fifty states, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have allowed this.
It doesn’t just make it easier for people to stay updated on essential immunizations like the flu but also shows that pharmacists have always been more than capable of taking up the task. And with how things are going, it’s good that they are available to help!
No Matter What, Pharmacists are Here!
It can be hard to find a primary care specialist or a doctor in rural areas, but did you know that it is so much easier to find pharmacy services near you?
Yes! That’s because research has shown 91% of Americans only have a distance of five miles between their home and a community pharmacy (as reported by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores).
For instance, if you ever require pharmacy services in a place like Henderson, Nevada, you have some well-known pharmacies to choose from like Drug Plus.
And even if you are in the 9% that doesn’t have this facility, you can still access a pharmacist through online services or mail orders. That is because online drugstore services have become more mainstream due to the current world situation.
Work in Multiple Settings
Working behind a counter at a medical store isn’t the only thing pharmacists can do. Some teach in university pharmacy programs, some work in hospital pharmacies, some help physicians find the best treatment plan for patients.
Some also work for different drug manufacturing companies, using their expertise and knowledge to work on developing and refining medication. Other places that employ pharmacists are:
- Government departments like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- Care management organizations.
- Health insurance companies.
Pharmacists can also become part-time consultants or full-time workers in medical facilities like infusion centers, extended care homes, etc. But no matter where a pharmacist chooses to work, they will get paid well because according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly income of a pharmacist is about $128,000 per year (as of 2020).
Pharmacists Can Specialize in a Particular Expertise
Think medical doctors are the only ones who can be board certified? Well, not anymore because the Board of Pharmacy Specialties now offers board certifications in 14 different areas of pharmacy practice. These are:
- Ambulatory Care
- Compounded Sterile Preparations
- Infectious Diseases
- Critical Care
- Emergency Medicine
- Solid Organ Transplantation
- Nutrition support
- Psychiatric pharmacy
- Nuclear Pharmacy
Specialization has advantages for both the patients and the pharmacists. Pharmacists can take a more active role in the care of patients, especially ones with complex medical needs.
It significantly improves patient outcomes and gives the pharmacists additional benefits like personal satisfaction, career advancement, and financial rewards. So it’s a win-win situation!
Medication Therapy Management (MTM)
At times, patients can have difficulty understanding and following their medication regimens.
- When should medication be taken?
- Can a mix-up cause harm to me?
- Are there any side effects, and if so, what will they be?
- Is this the regimen for me?
All of these questions (and more) can be answered by MTM.
What is that, you ask? Well, MTM stands for Medication Therapy Management. It is a health service designed to answer all of these questions, and it consists of five core elements.
- Patient’s medication records
- Action plan related to the medication plan
- Review of drug therapy
- Interventions and referrals
- Documentation or follow-up
Pharmacists are qualified to provide MTM, and it comes in handy for people with chronic conditions, those who have to follow complex protocols or have high prescription costs with multiple prescribers involved in their care.
Pharmacists Invented Carbonated Drinks!
We know that it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true! Soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper, etc., were invented by pharmacists as a cure for different medical conditions. Coke, for instance, was invented in the late 19th century by a pharmacist named John Stith Pemberton as a cure for indigestion, morphine addiction, headaches, and some other things.
Then a few years later, Dr. Pepper came on to the scene as well, which was invented by pharmacist Charles Alderton in Waco, Texas.
So as you can see, pharmacists are essential in the healthcare circle. They have the responsibility and expertise to help us with our medication and make our lives livable if we suffer from chronic or complicated medical conditions.
If you need assistance regarding your medication, reach out to us at Drug Plus Pharmacy. We specialize in online pharmacy services and have a Pharmacy in Henderson, Nevada, where our pharmacists can cater to your needs and provide you with the assistance you require.