It’s a normal day. You go to the local pharmacy to pick up your prescription refill, have a polite chat with the pharmacist at the counter, then leave with your medication. Is that all a pharmacist does?
In fact, pharmacists aren’t just responsible for providing your medication. They’re also required to understand how every type of medication works, how they work together, and how the medication will affect your overall health. There’s a lot of work that goes into your prescription refill!
So, to learn more about what pharmacists do and why they’re crucial for healthcare in today’s world, we invite you to continue reading!
A Pharmacist’s Role in Healthcare
Pharmacists play an essential role in the healthcare pipeline. They provide many services that we depend on even if we aren’t aware of them.
Pharmacists often collaborate with physicians and other healthcare professionals to ensure that medications are prescribed at the right dosage and frequency. This is important because, in addition to implementing safe and measured practices, doctors often cannot provide the ongoing service and interaction that pharmacists are meant to give.
Additionally, pharmacists are also responsible for monitoring potential drug interactions, side effects, and allergies that could all impact the overall health of a patient. Without this perpetual monitoring and managing of your medication, you could potentially give yourself a sub-optimal, or even dangerous, dosage or frequency of medication.
Individuals with chronic diseases commonly have to juggle a complex series of medication regimens. It can be quite a lot to handle, especially when you’re already fighting the discomfort of illness. That’s why pharmacists help to manage these medications!
In addition to providing the right dosage and frequency, pharmacists can also assist diseased patients by helping them to understand what their medication is and what it’s doing for them, monitor their progress, and adjust the medication regimen accordingly.
Without this ongoing optimization, a patient would have to run longer sprints before checking in with a healthcare professional. It’s like comparing the distance of a football field to the distance between two goal posts; when you run shorter distances, you can make more measured decisions and pick the right play to get closer to that touchdown.
Pharmacists also provide further education to their patients, acting as a go-to resource for knowledge regarding their medication. They can give patients a plethora of best medicinal practices, such as how to take the medication properly, how to store it safely, and what side effects to potentially look out for should they occur.
They can also provide over-the-counter advice regarding medications and supplements to ensure that patients know how their prescriptions will interact with each other and impact their overall bodily health. This first-line resource for medicinal guidance is something that pharmacists are able to provide while other healthcare professionals simply cannot due to their inevitably demanding schedules.
Finally, pharmacists are trained to identify and take action against potential errors. If a patient were to be prescribed an incorrect dosage or perhaps experienced a negative drug interaction, pharmacists would know immediately which course of action to take, and take measures to prevent the instance from happening again.
This role is particularly important in higher-risk settings like hospitals and other healthcare institutions. In these environments, medication errors can have very serious consequences for patients, so it’s assuring to know that pharmacists are on the scene, looking out for any mistakes or miscalculations.
Functional vs. Traditional Medicine
It’s also important to understand the differences between traditional and functional medicine.
Traditional medicine is all about diagnosing and treating diseases through pharmaceutical drugs, surgery, or other procedures. The focus is meant to identify the specific cause of a patient’s symptoms, then treat that specific issue with targeted medicinal strategies.
Functional medicine, on the other hand, focuses on looking at the patient as a whole rather than treating individual symptoms and diseases. While physicians practice traditional medicine, pharmacists can fill those prescribed medications and give medication information to patients. Functional medicine is going beyond the prescribed medication and considering how the medications may be affecting a patient’s overall health or causing symptoms like fatigue. Pharmacists can recommend supplementation that may help reduce or eliminate symptoms and help patients feel their best.
For example, a pharmacist might recommend CoQ10 supplements. Oftentimes patients feel fatigued when taking statin medications to help reduce cholesterol levels or blood pressure, but CoQ10 is depleted with these medications and is a key nutrient for producing energy in our cells! Taking CoQ10 while on statin medications can help patients feel less fatigued and have more energy.
Clearly, there are so many things that pharmacists do behind the curtain to maintain the seamless provision and monitoring of medications. Without them, a significant aspect of our healthcare system would fail and demand a dramatic systemic overhaul.
So, let’s appreciate the pharmacists that we’re so lucky to have today! If you need pharmaceutical services near you, please visit one of our convenient locations. If you want to learn more about what we do or get in touch with a representative from our team, just contact us.