INTRODUCTIONPharmacy is the branch of medical science concerned with the sources, nature, properties, preparation and use of medicinal drugs. Pharmacy is the third largest health profession in the United States. Pharmacists are key professionals in the health care system that formulate and dispense drugs and play a central role in providing advice on the management of a patient's medication.
In the past, pharmacists were thought of as dispensers of medication, where their traditional role would be to count or pour medications. However, the role of the profession has evolved to include pharmaceutical care: the responsible provision of drug therapy to achieve specific outcomes that improve a patient's quality of life, and disease state management, and the systematic review of a disease process, the available treatment options, and the outcomes or drug interactions that those treatments may be expected to produce. Before entering practice, pharmacy graduates must pass a national licensure examination and meet additional requirements in the states in which they intend to practice. The aging of the American population, and the on-going development of new medications coupled with the increasing complexity of drug therapies only bode wellfor the pharmaceutical profession in the twenty-first century. There are many professional organizations that serve the needs of members of the pharmaceutical profession. These include the American Pharmaceutical Association, the National Pharmaceutical Association, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Association for Health System Pharmacists, and the American College of Apothecaries.
As a key professional branch of the health care system, pharmacists are sought after for positions in the public and private sector. Most pharmacists will opt for a career in either a hospital or a community pharmacy. However, employment opportunities also exist within the pharmaceutical industry, medical research institutes and the public service. It's an important and trustworthy occupation that reaches into almost all aspects of medicine and healthcare. From direct patient care and guidance to the forefront of pharmaceutical research, pharmacy caters to many fields. Most importantly, the pharmacist's role in society is to promote the well-being of their patients.
Due to the rapid growth of the health care system, the increasing elderly population, and the burgeoning pharmaceutical and biotech industry, there is unprecedented demand for pharmacists today. As you can see, the pharmacy profession is not as dull or limited as most think. It is this latitude that makes pharmacy so appealing; when you're bored with one field, you can enter a different aspect of pharmacy with ease! In fact, most pharmacy students go on to earn an MBA degree, a RPH degree, and even a JD to become a pharmacy attorney.
Pharmacists are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, home health care companies, managed care organizations, clinics, and physicians' offices. Other pharmacists work for federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. Still others are faculty members at colleges and universities.
There are other exciting opportunities in the pharmacy field such as:
• Hospital Pharmacy - Staff Pharmacist, Clinical Pharmacist, Pharmacy Administrator
• Pharmacy Consultant - Home Health Care, Long-Term Care Facilities, Internet Consultant
• Pharmaceutical Industry - Research and Development, Manufacturing, Pharmacogenomics
• Government Agencies - Hospice and Home Care, Public Health Services, FDA inspector
• College and Universities - Professor/Lecturer
• Medical and Scientific Publishing - Editor-in-Chief, Science Writer
• Nuclear Pharmacy - Chemotherapy pharmacist
• Law - Retail Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Company Attorney
Wilbur L. Scoville: The American chemist is best known for creating "The Scoville Organoleptic Test", now known as the Scoville scale - while working at Parke-Davis pharmaceuticals in 1912 he devised the test, which measures the hotness of chili peppers. He also wrote one of the most-used pharmaceutical reference books, "The Art of Compounding," which was first published in 1895 and continued to be used in the industry until the mid-1960'
George F. Archambault. (Liaison Officer for the United States Public Health Service) Considered to be the creator of the consultant style most pharmacies adopt today and he is quoted with the following vision for pharmacists everywhere: "It is the pharmacist's professional responsibility to protect the public against iatrogenesis, physician-induced injury or disease in the area of drug prescribing especially as to overdosage, incompatibilities, contraindications, and synergistic drug actions."
Hubert H.Humphrey served as the Mayor of Minneapolis, a U. S. senator and the vice president of the United States under President Lyndon B. Johnson, a pillar of the party for his stand on civil rights and social reform. His long political career came after Humphrey had a brief career as a pharmacist in his dad's drugstore. Forever a friend to pharmacists, Vice President Humphrey was named Pharmacist of the Year by the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1966 (Humphrey himself attended a college of pharmacy in Denver). Since 1978 the American Pharmaceutical Association has given the annual Hubert H. Humphrey Award to pharmacists who are also known for their public service.
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