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Careers in Pharmacy

College of Pharmacy - Schaumburg, IL

Academic Pharmacy
Perhaps no other job in pharmacy has such far-reaching effects on the profession as that of an educator. It is in academia that one can excite individuals about pharmacy and lay the groundwork for continuing advances in the field. Over 3,000 full-time faculty members work in the nation's colleges and schools of pharmacy. They are involved with teaching, research, public service, and patient care. Others serve as consultants for local, state, national, and international organizations. Pharmacy faculty and administrators have broad and diverse responsibilities and positions. Each makes unique contributions to pharmacy education and profession. Disciplines within academic pharmacy include administration, biological sciences, clinical science, continuing education, experiential education, drug discovery, medicinal/natural products, and pharmacology.

Ambulatory Care Pharmacist
A wide variety of medical professionals including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, and medical technicians can work in ambulatory settings. In addition to treating patients on site, they can provide referrals for patients who may benefit from treatment elsewhere, along with hospital admissions in cases where they are warranted. A pharmacist maybe responsible for operating a pharmacy within an urgent care facility and provides information to practicing doctors about alternative medications. The knowledge and clinical skills that the contemporary pharmacist possesses make this individual an authoritative source of drug information for physicians, nurses, and patients.

Community Pharmacy
Ask a community pharmacist what he or she likes most about their job, and you're likely to hear, "it's all about people." From helping with aches and pains, to educating patients about sophisticated drug therapies, to helping sick patients cope with their feelings… pharmacists forge relationships with their patients. For more than 22 years, pharmacists have ranked at or near the top of the Gallup Poll ranking of the "most trusted professionals." For many Americans, their pharmacist is their primary source of health information – the health care professional who is readily accessible and easily approachable. The pharmacy is often the first place patients go for questions about medicine and their health.

Consultant Pharmacy
Consultant pharmacy practice is a discipline within the profession of pharmacy that has its roots in the provision of pharmacy services to nursing homes--now referred to as nursing facilities (NFs)--and other long-term care (LTC) environments

Federal Pharmacy - Armed Services & Public Health
The mission of the Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps is to provide highly-trained and mobile health professionals who carry out programs to promote the health of the nation, understand and prevent disease and injury, assure safe and effective drugs and medical devices, deliver health services to federal beneficiaries, and furnish health expertise in time of war or other national or international emergencies.  As one of the seven Uniformed Services of the United States, the PHS Commissioned Corps is a specialized career system designed to attract, develop and retain health professionals who may be assigned to federal, state or local agencies or international organizations to accomplish its mission.

Hospital and Institutional Pharmacy
As society's health care needs have changed and expanded, there has been an increased emphasis on provision of care through organized health care settings. As a result, an increased number of pharmacists now practice in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, neighborhood health centers, and health maintenance organizations. As members of the health care team composed of physicians and nurses, among others, institutional pharmacists have an opportunity for direct involvement with patient care. The knowledge and clinical skills that the contemporary pharmacist possesses make this individual an authoritative source of drug information for physicians, nurses, and patients. In addition to direct patient care involvement; pharmacists in hospitals are responsible for systems that control drug distribution and are designed to assure that each patient receives the appropriate medication, in the correct form and dosage, at the correct time. Hospital pharmacists maintain records on each patient, using them not only to fill medication orders but also to screen for drug allergies and adverse drug effects.

Informatics
It is impossible to imagine a pharmacy practice environment that is not heavily supported by information technology (IT). As the first health care profession to widely adopt computers, pharmacy has a history of utilizing IT to support patient care. Pharmacy informatics is a unique field that brings people, information, and systems together to support safe and effective medication-related outcomes. Pharmacy informaticists work collaboratively with other pharmacists, physicians, nurses, information systems personnel, and a variety of other health care professionals. At the end of the day, pharmacy informaticists' goal is to ensure that appropriate systems are in place to support an informed practice environment.

Managed Care Pharmacy
Pharmacist in managed health care organizations, including health plans and pharmacy benefit management companies, are responsible for the delivery of prescription drug benefits to over 200 million Americans. Typically, a managed care organization contracts their services to a plan sponsor, such as a private company or a government organization.

Pharmaceutical Sciences/Industry
Today's health care distributors may be relatively unknown to patients, but they are vitally important to those who need medicines or medical supplies. These companies assure that the products needed to diagnose, prevent and treat the nation's health care illnesses are distributed to the many locations where they are used. To guarantee that delivery is accurate, efficient and timely, pharmaceutical and health care distributors have enlarged their own service offerings in recent years to provide not only the products themselves, but information and other services designed to make their customers more efficient and effective. They are integral partners with others in health care serving patients and working to reduce the cost of care.

Visit these sites to learn more:
Bureau of Labor Statistics
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
Pharmacy Choice