The practice of pharmacy today is one of the most importance in the delivery of health services ,and pharmacists are the health professionals who have the most detailed knowledge of drugs and how they work. A pharmacist’s duty is not simply preparing the drugs which are prescribed by a general practitioner or other professional. It is to deliver optimal pharmaceutical care, by assessing the suitability of the medication for a particular patient, taking into account their medical history, as well as possible side effects and interactions with other drugs that are being used. Importantly, Pharmaceutical care also includes engagement and communication with patients , So they are given a clear understanding of the medication , its purpose , effects and the undertake health promotions , such as providing education sessions on specific areas of health and disease prevention. Some pharmacy practices even specialize in, For example, asthma or diabetes care and provide specific assistance, advice and services.
From conversations with a patient, a pharmacist must be able to identify and evaluate important health aspects which may need addressing. Pharmacists are often the first port of call for people to get advice on health in general, as well as specific clinical conditions. This is especially so in rural towns, where the health services may not match those in metropolitan areas. In these towns, where pharmacy practices have been established for many years, the pharmacist is trusted by other members of the community to offer professional advice. Like many other health professions, pharmacy is changing and adapting to the latest methods of health delivery. Through consultations with other health professionals, such as GPs, counselors, physiotherapists and optometrists, pharmacists are forming health care teams, whereby a patient’s health is viewed holistically, and medical problems are addressed from the perspective of the patient’s life history and environment.
One of the most dramatic changes in pharmacy in the last 20 years or so is the move away from a role in manufacturing the actual medications, to more of a clinical role. With this change, there has been a greater emphasis on the understanding of disease processes, and how these can be addressed with lifestyle changes and drug therapy. As an example of this, the role of consultant pharmacists has grown, where they are engaged to formally review a patient’s medication profile. In this capacity, the pharmacist highlights therapy which can be changed in order to optimize medication efficacy, as well as reduce the incidence of side effects. The flexibility of the profession means that pharmacists can make important contributions in the hospital and community settings, and in a variety of environments, both metropolitan and rural. Given the incredibly diverse nature of the role, and the vast amount of continuing education involved, the practice of pharmacy is very rewarding for whoever embarks upon it. Pharmacists have long been providing health services in every region of world, and while they remain mostly outside the glare of the limelight, the profession remains one of the most respected in the community.