Pharmacies are well-oiled healthcare machines, delivering necessary medications and other medical tools to patients who need them with efficiency and care. To keep a pharmacy functioning as expected, every member of the pharmacy team needs to understand their duties. If you are interested in becoming part of a pharmacy, you might benefit from knowing these essential responsibilities within a pharmacy.
1. Dispense Prescriptions
Though it might seem rather straightforward, dispensing prescriptions is an immensely exacting task that demands expert knowledge and close concentration. Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and other pharmacy staff allowed this responsibility need to be certain that they are providing patients with the correct medication and dosage as prescribed by the doctor. Mistakes in prescription dispensing can be deadly, so it is essential that this responsibility is not assumed lightly.
2. Ensure Patients’ Safety
There are good reasons that not all medications are available over the counter — namely that many medications could cause serious harm to patients if they are not taken under the right conditions. Thus, pharmacists and their staff need to consider patient safety in every aspect of their duties, which may involve questioning prescriptions, researching contraindications with other medications, evaluating patients and more. In some cases, it may be essential to deny patients the medication they are seeking, though pharmacists should understand patients’ legal rights in this respect.
3. Counsel Patients
One of the easier ways to ensure patients’ safety is to provide them with counsel regarding their new medication. Many drugs have strict administration schedules, and it is typical for medications to require either some level of fasting or some amount of food for the body to absorb the compounds properly. Because not all patients are competent at reading and understanding medical directions, pharmacy staff must review all medication directions with their patients before releasing the drugs, and when appropriate, they can provide advice that will further ease a patient’s suffering.
4. Communicate With Prescribers
Doctors’ handwriting is notoriously poor, but there are other reasons for pharmacy staff to get in touch with healthcare providers besides illegible prescriptions. Pharmacists might need to draw attention to conflicts with a patient’s existing medication regimen or request a prescription for a different brand or a generic medication which is better covered by a patient’s insurance. Getting in contact with prescribers can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it is an essential component of a pharmacist’s job.
5. Communicate With Insurers
To ensure that patients are charged the correct amount for the medications they acquire from the pharmacy, pharmacy staff need to verify individual insurance coverage before they fill and release any prescription. Though accessing insurance providers can be a headache for patients, pharmacists usually have a direct contact line that makes it easier to access accurate information efficiently. Still, if a pharmacist or a patient has follow-up questions, dealing with insurers can be an irksome responsibility.
6. Educate Other Providers
Pharmacists engage with continuing education to ensure they have up-to-date knowledge on medications and drug therapy protocols. While other healthcare providers usually must also acquire continuing education credits, they may not be as well-versed in the latest research related to drug products. Thus, many pharmacists take the time to issue indications and warnings to providers in their area to ensure that providers understand how laws and protocols have recently changed.
7. Manage Staff
Few pharmacies are staffed only by a lone pharmacist. In most pharmacies, there is a robust staff of employees to manage all these responsibilities and more, such as keeping the premises clean. Ultimately, pharmacists assume all responsibility for the activities of their staff, so they often carefully manage members of their team to reduce the likelihood of costly errors.
8. Manage Various Administrative Tasks
A pharmacy is a business, and as such, it must navigate various administrative responsibilities to operate smoothly and successfully. Organizing and updating patient files, managing product inventories, generating reports and more are essential for keeping the pharmacy up and running. Sometimes, the management members of pharmacy staff assume more administrative responsibilities, and sometimes these tasks are delegated to those untrained in pharmaceutical sciences.
Pharmacies must be efficient to deliver patients the prescriptions they need as they need them. Thus, pharmacies carefully balance all of the above responsibilities and more to ensure prompt and enjoyable service.