What Is a Pharmacist?


You Will Learn.

  • What a Pharmacist is. 
  • What the responsibilities of a Pharmacist are.  
  • What qualifications a Pharmacist needs.
  • What skills a Pharmacist needs.  
  • Who employs a Pharmacist.
  • The average salary of a Pharmacist.
  • Where the latest Pharmacist jobs are and how to apply for them.
A female pharmacist making notes on a clipboard

What Is a Pharmacist?

A Pharmacist is a highly trained healthcare professional who plays a crucial role in the delivery of safe and effective medication use. They are experts in medicines and their appropriate usage. 

Pharmacists work in various settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, and GP surgeries. Their responsibilities include dispensing prescriptions, providing advice on the safe and effective use of medications, counselling patients on potential side effects, and offering recommendations on over-the-counter products. 

They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure optimal patient care. 

What Are the Responsibilities of a Pharmacist?

While working as a Pharmacist, you will be required to: 

  • Accurately dispense prescribed medications to patients.
  • Review patients' medication profiles, assess the appropriateness of prescribed medications, and make recommendations to optimise therapy.
  • Provide counselling to patients, ensuring they understand how to take their medications safely and effectively.
  • Prioritise patient safety by conducting thorough checks to prevent medication errors and monitoring for counterfeit or substandard medications.
  • Work with other healthcare professionals to contribute to the development and implementation of patient treatment plans, optimising overall care.
  • Educate patients and the public on health-related topics, such as disease prevention, lifestyle modifications, and proper medication use.
  • Stay updated on the latest developments in pharmacology, pharmacists engage in continuous professional development and may participate in research projects.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant laws, regulations, and ethical standards governing pharmacy practice.
  • Manage pharmaceutical inventory, ensuring an adequate supply of medications while minimising waste and expiration.
  • Advocate for patients' rights and safety, addressing any concerns or issues related to their medication therapy.
  • Provide specialised services such as medication therapy management, vaccinations, or compounding medications tailored to specific patient needs.
  • Actively monitor and report adverse drug reactions to regulatory authorities.
  • Conduct comprehensive medication reviews, especially for patients with complex medication regimens or multiple chronic conditions.
  • Manage and maintain patient health records, ensuring accurate and up-to-date medication information is documented. 
  • Manage pharmacy staff, overseeing workflow, implementing quality improvement initiatives, and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and policies.

Frequently Asked Questions

To become a Pharmacist, individuals need to meet specific qualifications. They must complete a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree from a recognised university, which typically takes four years.

The MPharm program covers a broad range of pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacology, therapeutics, and pharmacy practice. After obtaining the degree, aspiring Pharmacists must undertake a one-year pre-registration training in a pharmacy setting, followed by passing the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) registration assessment

Once registered, Pharmacists can practise in various settings. Continuous professional development is necessary to maintain registration and stay up to date with advancements in the field.

The average salary for a Pharmacist in the UK is around £40,000 to £50,000 per year.

However, this can depend on various factors such as experience, location, and the type of employer.

Pharmacists can be employed by various organisations across the healthcare sector. They are commonly employed by community pharmacies, which are privately owned or part of retail chains. 

Hospitals employ Pharmacists to provide pharmaceutical services within their healthcare facilities. General Practitioner (GP) surgeries may also have Pharmacists as part of their primary care team. 

Pharmacists can also work in pharmaceutical industry companies, academia, research institutions, regulatory bodies, and government agencies. Some Pharmacists also choose to become self-employed and establish their own independent pharmacies or consultancy services.

What Skills Does a Pharmacist Need?

Key skills of a Pharmacist include: 

  • In-depth understanding of pharmacology, therapeutics, and pharmaceutical sciences.
  • Knowledge of drug interactions, dosage forms, and pharmaceutical calculations.
  • Familiarity with disease states, treatment guidelines, and medication management.
  • Ability to accurately dispense medications, ensuring correct dosages and instructions.
  • Thoroughness in reviewing prescriptions, identifying potential errors or drug interactions.
  • Diligence in maintaining accurate patient records and documentation.
  • Effective verbal and written communication to interact with patients and healthcare professionals.
  • Active listening to understand patients' needs and concerns.
  • Empathy and compassion to provide patient-centred care.
  • Analytical skills to assess medication-related issues and propose appropriate solutions.
  • Ability to interpret scientific literature, research findings, and clinical guidelines.
  • Capacity to make informed decisions in complex and time-sensitive situations.
  • Clear and concise communication to provide comprehensive medication counselling.
  • Ability to explain medication usage, side effects, and precautions to patients.
  • Skill in promoting health education and preventive care.

Searching for Your Next Pharmacist Job?

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