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Pharmacy: A Career Full of Benefits as high school is approaching many is considering what types of careers that they want to go into. Many have no clue on what type of field they want to get into. Medical is a career choice many consider. The reason for this is because there are jobs available and the demand is always high. But once deciding that the medical field is the best fit, deciding what field within medicine is the next obstacle. Many now look to pharmacy, since it is at an all time high ("Health" 2). The benefits that can be gained from this career are what attract people. The reason this is an excellent career choice is because of its opportunity, benefits, and the challenges. The first aspect of this career that will be shown is the opportunities. The opportunity benefits of becoming a pharmacist are immense. There are so many opportunities to succeed in this career and there is always a chance for change within it. For instance, the demand for pharmacists is expected to increase. The demand for pharmacists is expected to be higher through the year 2010, due to the increased needs for pharmaceuticals by a large and aging population (2). As society's health care needs have changed and expanded. There has been an increased emphasis on provision of care settings. As a result, an increased number of pharmacists now practice in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, neighborhood health care centers and health maintenance organization ("Becoming" 3). These are a few areas where pharmacists are needed and that it is why the demand is increasing. There are a variety of areas that you can get into once you have chosen to be in the field. It is a practice in a wide range of settings: community pharmacies, hospital care facilities, the pharmaceutical industry, mail services, managed care and government. A survey identified 112,000 pharmacists in community pharmacy (66,000 public pharmacies and 46,000 independent pharmacies) 40,000 in hospitals and 21,000 in government, academics, industry and other settings ("Facts" 5). Of the pharmacists who are employed by hospitals, twenty-five percent are in clinics and HMOs. They dispensed prescriptions and work as consultants to the medical team. They also make sterile solutions for use in the ER and in surgical procedures, hire medical interns and perform administrative duties. Pharmacists employed in community pharmacies, as nearly sixty percent are, may also take responsibility of running the business, such as: buying and selling non-pharmaceutical responsibilities of running the business, hiring and supervising personnel and overseeing much of the day-to-day operation of the pharmacy itself ("Career" 3). Contemporary hospital pharmacy practice is composed of a number of highly specialized areas, including nuclear pharmacy, drugs and poison information, and intravenous therapy. In addition, pharmacists provided clinical services in adult medicines, pediatrics, ambulatory care and psychiatry. The nature and size of the hospital helps to determine the extent to which these specifics services are needed. Because of the diversities of activities involved on pharmacy departments, there is also a demand for management expertise, including licensed pharmacist work on a full or part-time basis in hospitals or nursing homes. As a hospital pharmacist continue to become more involved in providing patient-oriented services, the demand for practitioners in this area of pharmacy continues to grow ("Becoming" 4). There are also opportunities for people interested in business to venture into pharmacy. Many chain companies have management development programs in marketing operations, legal affairs, third part programs, and computerization and pharmacy affairs. The spirit of entrepreneurship and motivation has enabled many pharmacists to successfully own their own pharmacies through establishing consultation services, or own their pharmacy practice. If pharmacists develop a desire to combine their professional talents with the challenge of the fast moving community pharmacy practice, they will offer consider a management position within a chain pharmacy practice or ownership of their own pharmacy. In chain practice, career paths usually begin at the store level with possible subsequent advancement to a position at the district, regional, or corporate level (5). Another aspect of pharmacy is customer service. That has a great effect to do with different pharmacies staying alive. Without this a lot of corporation would not be in existence. The customer is the actual reason why pharmacists have jobs, so they are top priority. Pharmacists serve patients and the community by providing information and advice on health, providing medication and associated services and by referring patients to other sources of help and care, when necessary, such as physicians (6) "A Pharmacist has the knowledge and skill to spot trouble with prescribed medication" (Grove 1). Pharmacists work closely with physicians and other practitioners to ensure that patients are treated with the safest, most effective medication ("Health" 4). Also, "Patients may have their local pharmacist about any issues regarding medication that they may have" (Grove 1). Pharmacists talk to people when they are healthy and when they are sick; when they are "just browsing" or when they are concerned with an emergency; when they have specific needs as well as when they are seeking advice or information. Pharmacists are playing an increasing role in the "wellness" movement, especially through counseling about preventing medicine. According to one estimate, pharmacists receive more than two billion inquires a year from their patrons. Also, advances in the use of computers on pharmacy practice now allow pharmacists to spend more time educating patients and, maintaining and monitoring patient's records ("Becoming" 7). These are just a few of the opportunities that you can obtain with a career in pharmacy. But there is more to a career than things being attained from it. This is a career that can be very challenging and motivates success.
When deciding on a career, one of the qualities that should be considered is whether the field is challenging enough. Within all the areas of pharmacy, there are many ways that you can become challenged. Before even starting the career, there is a great deal of schooling and training that must be completed. Dedication, determination and a good work ethic will help with the workload that is presented during college. The specific requirements of the schools may vary but basically meet these standards. A pharmacy degree program requires at least 2-years of specific pre-professional (undergraduate) coursework followed by 4-academic years of professional study. After which many schools also require the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT), which tests verbal and quantitative ability, reading comprehension and understanding of biology and chemistry. Each section is scored from 100 (worst) to 300 (best). The average score for successful applicants is usually 220-230, and their average GPA is 3.45 overall and 3.36 in science courses. The PharmCAS is a standard application accepted by most pharmacy schools. Before practicing as a pharmacist, the school that the degree is received has a great effect on how successful the student will become ("Science" 1). "To be pharmacists, it is important to have a high attention to detail, willingness to be in school for many years and have excellent communication skills. Communication skills are important because pharmacist must take complicated medical information and translate it into a language that a patient can understand. It is also important for you to have a strong independent work ethic and have strong writing skills" ("Health" 2). After graduating, to practice pharmacy in any state, aspiring pharmacists must be a registered pharmacist ("Facts" 2). The State Board of Pharmacy licenses pharmacists, the requirements vary somewhat from state to state. In general, to become licensed pharmacist students must: graduate from an accredited college of pharmacy, participated in residency or an internship program to acquire direct "hands-on" patient, and pass a rigorous examination, known as the NABPLEX, the National Association of Boards Licensing Examination (1). "After graduating pharmacy school, I had to obtain a pharmacy license to legally work as a pharmacist. In addition to the Pharm D degree, I had to legally work in a hospital clinical training, called residency. While there I spent two years learning how to conduct research, called a fellowship" ("Health" 1-2). Currently, all pharmacists require a professional college degree called Pharm D degree; it is a Doctor of Pharmacy. After graduating high school, it usually takes up to six years to get this degree. Although, a pharmacist's educational experience does not end upon being licensed. Most states require pharmacists to take continuing education through correspondence courses, at professional meetings and seminars presented by pharmacy associations or that is provided by the schools or college of Pharmacy ("Facts" 3). After all the schooling and training is completed, most start to consider what type of work schedule they want. Most staff positions can be either full or part-time. Most clinical pharmacists and researchers usually work more than forty hours a week ("Health" 3). "On average, I work forty or more hours per week, since I conduct my own research" (3). But all of this will off because the salary of a pharmacist starts, on average 75,000 to 80,000 a year and can topple over 100,000 dollars a year ("Salary" 2). These are just a few things that need to be completed in order to become a pharmacist. It shows how the career will be a challenge, and also what must do to obtain a degree and license and maintain them both. These items are fundamental to help success and prosperity in this career.
Another example of how this is a challenging career is medical research. One of the most important aspects of being a pharmacist is actually doing medical research. Conducting research is very critical to this profession. Additional training is generally required to conduct research, which most pharmacists do perform ("Health" 2). Also research is done to find safer medications and uses for them. "The pharmacy career is a combination of pharmacy and research. They go hand in hand. Rather than just discussing the safe use of medicine to a patient, I can impact patients nationally with the results of my research. This hopefully means I can encourage the safe use of medicine on a larger scale" ("Health" 4). While conducting research some do it individually or in groups. Sometimes this includes people that are not necessarily in pharmacy. "Other researchers work in the other office within my building. I am the only pharmacist in the department, but the research I do! is often multi-disciplinary, meaning I often work with doctors, nurses, statisticians and other interested in the same research" (4). The type of research depends on what is being studied. For instance, a pharmacists needs to understand the activity of a drug and how it will work within the body. More and more prescribers rely on pharmacists for information about various drugs, their availability and the activity just patrons do when they ask about non-prescription medication ("Becoming" 4). "Also, my college work involved a lot of research and decided that I would never do it again. Then, I went to pharmacy school, became a pharmacist and learned a little more about research. Now I conduct research 80 percent of the time and love it" ("Health" 4). Faculties other than pharmacy practice usually are involved in pharmaceutical science research. The pharmaceutical scientists are mainly concerned with research that included sophisticated instrumentation, analytical methods and animal models that study all aspects of drugs and drug products. Moreover, social, economic and behavioral science research often uses survey methods and statistical analysis to solve complex problems of drugs utilization management health care delivery, marketing, management and other practice issues ("Becoming" 5). Pharmacists with advanced training may collaborate with other providers to focus on direct patients care activities. These activities may include policy development or researcher rather than reviewing and approving prescription orders. They make it so people can afford medication; look at responses to drug therapies and address ways to lessen side effects ("Health" 4). The research that pharmacists do is beneficial to the field because it helps with the advancements in medicine. They find new drugs and test the effects of them to make it safer for the consumer. They sometimes go outside the field to get help to make sure the research is the best possible. These are examples of how a career in pharmacy is challenging and how it will continue to challenge after a degree is received.
I want to become a pharmacist basically because I feel that this career is full of chances to succeed. I think that this is best for me because I'm devoted, determined and hard working. Yes, I am still very interested in this career. I believe that this is a great way for me to advance and make good money while doing so. I also feel that this will give me a chance to feel like I am contributing to society and helping the advancement of medicine. Since I want to do research I know that if I discover a new drug or help improve medication. I know by doing this I will be helping the family as well as the patient. Although, the education and training will be difficult but in the end it will pay off in the end because I know that I will be doing something that will make me happy and bring purpose to my life. These are just a few reasons why I believe that pharmacy is an excellent career choice for myself because I know this is an area I will excel in. There are many opportunities in a career in pharmacy because there is such a demand for pharmacists and the field has a variety of areas to venture into. Then there are a great number of challenges that go along with this career. School, training and conducting research are all examples of the challenges. And the last thing is why pharmacy is the best career choice. The reason this is an excellent career choice is because of its opportunities, benefits and the challenges. This is a great choice because it reflects hard work and dedication.