Pharmacy is a health care profession concerned with the management of drug therapy in patients, the compounding and dispensing of medications, and the generation and transmission of knowledge about the proper selection and use of drugs and their effects on humans and animals.
Pharmacists in their role as managers of drug therapy work with physicians, patients, and health care providers to ensure effective treatments, particularly for such chronic diseases as asthma, hypertension, and diabetes, by collaborating on medication choices, educating and assisting patients with drug usage, tracking patient progress, and monitoring drug-therapy outcomes.
While everyone is familiar with the community pharmacist, the general public is less aware that career openings also exist in industrial and hospital pharmacies, government agencies, and education, as well as in nursing homes, health maintenance organizations, clinics, home health care agencies, governmental agencies, and nuclear pharmacies.
The community pharmacist serves patients directly as a vital part of total health care. Patients may obtain prescription service, medicines, surgical supplies, immunizations, and information and advice in pharmacies located in almost every town and city.
The modern hospital employs pharmacists who are responsible for establishing an efficient system for managing and providing drug therapy to patients throughout the institution. Hospital pharmacists are increasingly a critical member of the health care team and are involved in the clinical management of drug therapy, consultation, providing drug information to physicians and nurses, designing and preparing special dosage regimens for patients, and counseling patients directly about the proper utilization of their medication.
Many pharmacists are employed by the pharmaceutical industry, serving as scientists and supervisors in research, sales, marketing, and drug information. Others teach and conduct research in colleges of pharmacy, and increasing numbers work for state and federal law enforcement agencies, the military, the U.S. Public Health Service, and the Veterans Administration.