Pharmacists are key members of the healthcare team. They bridge the gap between chemistry and health science and It is their job to ensure the safe use of drugs by patients.
The key role of a pharmacist is to act as the drug expert. In the community, pharmacists dispense drugs and medicine, check that they have been correctly provided and use expert knowledge to ensure that drugs do not react in a bad way with each other. As pharmacists are experts in their field, they also advise doctors and patients on safe drug use.
There are many other roles of a pharmacist than the one you see in your local pharmacy. Pharmacists can enter research and help develop new effective drugs. They are required within the army to provide drugs to soldiers and even work on wards, directly with other health care professionals to help select drug type, dose and use .
If you enjoy chemistry, want to join the healthcare team as an expert and want a career with many different routes, then pharmacy may be for you!
What will I study?
Pharmacy students will learn about all aspects of drugs, including their biochemistry, their structure and how they are made. As well as the chemical knowledge, students have to know about health and disease and how the drugs will react with the body. Students will even learn how the drugs are changed while in the body, an important consideration.
While studying, you will also attend placements to experience the different roles of a pharmacist and the various career fields. This ensures that you will be ready to act as an effective member of a healthcare team upon qualification.
After graduating, all pharmacists have to work for a year while supervised by a professional working in the field. After this pre-registration year, pharmacists can choose their career options: this can include research, community pharmacy (working in local pharmacies), hospital pharmacy, military pharmacy or clinical pharmacy (working in hospital advising other staff).
Although most pharmacists work through the NHS, some go on to set up their own business.