Pharmacists are health professionals. They are the experts on medicine in the community. They have the skills and knowledge to help patients understand and use their medicines in the most appropriate way. While most pharmacists work in community and hospital pharmacies, many also work in primary healthcare environments (with general practitioners), government organisations, industry, medical writing, and academia. Opportunities for pharmacists are constantly growing as the healthcare sector changes to meet the needs of our communities. Some pharmacists are even involved in border patrol.
The role of the community pharmacist centres on the provision of pharmaceutical care to their local community. This may include adherence and clinical medicines review services which aim to optimise health outcomes for their patients.
Pharmacists also provide long-term care services for patients with chronic illnesses, as well as dispensing prescriptions, and assessing and treating some ailments.
Hospital pharmacies are responsible for serving the medicinal needs of hospital patients, as well as outpatients who require specialised medicines. Their role also centres on patient care with the majority of hospital pharmacists conducting clinical medicines reviews to optimise health outcomes for patients.
Hospital pharmacists may also be involved with the manufacture of intravenous and oncology medicines, while others provide expert advice on medicines.
Some pharmacists work in industrial pharmacy, developing new pharmaceutical products for human or veterinary use.
Some responsibilities undertaken by industrial pharmacists are formulation and production, quality control, provision of information on new products, clinical evaluation of new products, and the marketing of medicines.
The goal of clinical medicines review services is to optimise health outcomes of patients by appropriate choice of medicine and dosing schedule, to both increase the effectiveness of medicines and avoid unwanted side-effects or drug interactions.
Some pharmacists offer specialist medicine review services to rest homes or people with complex medication regimens.
The first step towards a career in pharmacy research is to enrol in postgraduate study. The National School of Pharmacy offers postgraduate qualifications ranging from six-month postgraduate certificates to master's and PhD qualifications:
- Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacy (PGCertPharm)
- Professional programmes
- Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacy endorsed in Medicines Management (PGCertPharm)
- Postgradaute Certificate in Pharmacy endorsed in Social Pharmacy (PGCertPharm)
- Postgradaute Certificate in Pharmacist Prescribing (PGCertPharmPres)
- Postgradaute Diploma in Clincial Pharmacy (PGDipClinPharm)
- Master of Clinical Pharmacy (MClinPharm)