“Mommy, does that say pharmacy?” My daughter was pointing to a sign on a grocery store as we were driving by. She has been working hard on her reading literacy skills
“Yes, you are right!” I affirmed.
“Do you work there?” My daughter was curious and made the connection. Mommy is a pharmacist and this place is a pharmacy.
“No, mommy doesn’t work there. But other pharmacists do.” I explained.
I always find myself ill prepared to explain what I do as a pharmacist. Many ask if I work for a retail pharmacy. Others may ask if I work in a hospital. I am a clinical pharmacist working in long term care facilities. I look after how medications are utilized in these settings, from ensuring each resident is on the most appropriate medication regimen to helping to improve the medication management system at these facilities. But that’s just one specific area that pharmacist may choose to work in.
In fact, the profession has been evolving over the last two decades. We are now responsible for many expanded scope of activities from injections and vaccinations to assessing / prescribing for minor ailments. We have come a long way.
Pharmacists can do home visits to see how medications are taken in real life setting – looking to see if medications are stored properly to assessing if patients are also taking other over-the-counter medications or supplements that may not be safe. For individuals who are recently discharged from hospitals, these visits may be critical to ensure the transition to home is safe and free of medication related concerns.
For individuals with chronic diseases such as diabetes, pharmacists can also offer more in-depth service on health teaching, medication adjustment and referral to other specialized services as needed.
If you are looking to quit smoking, many pharmacists also have smoking cessation programs to support your journey.
If you are currently taking a chronic medication, looking to self-medicate with over-the-counter medications or simply wanting to speak to a health professional about your health condition, please reach out to speak to a pharmacist. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised with your experience.
Happy Pharmacist Awareness Month!