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Ask A Student Diplomat: Misconceptions About Pharmacists

Kelsey ZborovancikQuestion: What are some common misconceptions you hear about pharmacists as a student pharmacist?

Kelsey Zborovancik: There are numerous misconceptions about pharmacists in today's society. The most common misconception about pharmacists is that pharmacists only count pills. This statement could not be more inaccurate.

While many people have this impression of pharmacists, pharmacists are becoming more vital to the health care system every day. In retail pharmacy settings, pharmacists are stepping out from behind the counter to administer immunizations, counsel patients, and participate in Medication Therapy Management (MTM) programs. Not only can pharmacists educate patients about their prescriptions and over the counter medications, but they can also provide lifestyle counseling regarding diet, exercise, and additional non-pharmacologic ways to control various disease states such as diabetes and hypertension.

Additionally, pharmacists have many different career options within the field of pharmacy. Pharmacists are an essential part of the health care team in hospitals and are becoming more prominent by specializing in different clinical fields through residency programs. Residency programs are one-to-two-year programs that are completed after earning a Pharm.D., in which the pharmacist picks an area of specialty in which to work and study. Managed care is becoming more popular and allows pharmacists to use their clinical skills while working for insurance companies to make optimal formularies.

Specialty pharmacy is also is a growing field in which pharmacists dispense and counsel patients about medications for more complex diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. These job opportunities are just a few that exist for pharmacists. The possibilities are endless in the field of pharmacy. Pharmacists today have the capability to make a much larger impact on their patients in many different ways.

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