When you think about the role of a pharmacist in your healthcare, the first thing that comes to mind is probably someone that dispenses and offers counseling on your prescription medications. But did you know that pharmacists can do much more than just fill your prescriptions?
What other services can my community pharmacist provide?
Your pharmacist can give many standard immunizations, such as flu, pneumococcal, tetanus, and shingles, without a prescription. Your pharmacist can also work with you to identify vaccines you are a good candidate to receive.
Medication Therapy Management (MTM):
MTM is a service available to patients with Medicare Part D which helps to boost adherence and identify opportunities to improve drug regimens. This is available to Part D recipients at no extra cost.
Pharmacists have been shown to help improve patient health and reduce healthcare costs for patients with chronic disease in studies like the Asheville Project. Pharmacists can also work with groups like the Diabetes Prevention Program.
Collaborating with Prescribers:
Pharmacists are getting more involved with direct patient care in the clinic space, under the supervision of physicians. Pharmacists can be especially helpful in chronic disease management, improving medication access, and optimizing medication regimens.
What education and training are required for pharmacists?
Pharmacists are required to obtain a doctoral degree, called a PharmD, in order to practice pharmacy. That’s right, your pharmacist is a doctor! The PharmD curriculum primarily focuses on the appropriate use of medications to manage both acute and chronic health conditions. However, we are also trained in other skills such as counseling on medications, physical assessment, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In addition to earning their PharmD, pharmacists must also pass a licensing exam called the NAPLEX and a state-specific law exam called the MPJE. Pharmacists may also choose to pursue post-graduate training experiences called residencies that focus on additional clinical training, business plan development, and research.
As healthcare models continue to evolve, the role of the pharmacist will continue to grow to meet the needs of patients. At Sona, we love being able to provide hands-on patient care and help treat your specific health needs!