Community Pharmacist Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a community pharmacist. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a community pharmacist.
Who is a Community Pharmacist?
A community pharmacist is a pharmacist who works in a community pharmacy that is generally open to the public and provides prescription and over-the-counter medications and other health-related products and services. Unlike hospital pharmacists, community pharmacists typically work in retail pharmacies. One of the pharmacist’s most important responsibilities is to provide prescription drugs to the public.
In addition, community pharmacists are often required to educate customers, work with physicians to find the right medication for a particular patient, and provide general health knowledge to a wide range of customers. The best community pharmacists are not only comfortable with all of these responsibilities, but they also enjoy taking them on and serving the customers who need their help.
As with other types of pharmacists, one of the most important tasks of a pharmacist is to interpret prescription drug orders and provide them to the appropriate patient. To do their job effectively, the community pharmacist must be able to not only provide a safe dosage for the patient but also ensure that the medication will not interact with any medications the patient is currently taking. In some cases, drug interactions can not only reduce the effectiveness of a prescription but can also be very dangerous to the person taking the pills.
Often, the pharmacist must work closely with the physician to select a prescription drug. Although doctors have extensive knowledge of medications, they can still defer to the community pharmacist when it comes to choosing a medication for a patient who is taking multiple pills with dangerous interactions.
A good community pharmacist must also be able to provide a high level of education to the patient receiving the medication. This education includes not only information about when to take the medication, but also what foods it should or should not be used with. In addition, community pharmacists must provide patients with detailed information about possible side effects of the medication and how to respond to those side effects.
In some cases, the community pharmacist may be required to provide general health knowledge to clients. For example, pharmacists may receive questions about natural ways to manage asthma attacks, tips on quitting smoking, or the proper use of a blood glucose meter. In addition, community pharmacists should be able to help clients make informed choices when selecting a walker or cane. In addition, community pharmacists are often called upon to administer flu shots and other types of vaccines.
Community Pharmacist Job Description
Below are the community pharmacist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of a community pharmacist include the following:
- Discussing medication instructions with patients, including proper storage and disposal procedures.
- Explaining to patients the use of over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and other treatment options.
- Providing information to patients on disease prevention, drug interactions, side effects, new medications on the market, and other relevant health information as requested by the physician or nurse practitioner.
- Providing patients with medications prescribed by a physician following the Federal Drug Administration guidelines.
- Counseling patients on how to properly take their medications, and identifying possible side effects or interactions with other medications or foods.
- Recommending alternative medications that may be less expensive or more effective for certain conditions.
- Maintaining accurate records of all medication orders, refills, and available inventory to ensure that patients can get the medications they need.
- Reviewing new medications to assess their safety and effectiveness before they are available.
- Providing counseling on health maintenance issues such as diet, exercise, and stress management.
- Dispensing of prescription and non-prescription drugs in the community.
- Verifying the accuracy and appropriateness of prescriptions obtained from physicians for the patient, including dosage, required ingredients, and correct and safe labeling.
- Overseeing the preparation of any medication, unless provided in a standard form by the manufacturers.
- Maintaining accurate pharmacy records, patient profiles, billing files, and inventory systems.
- Maintaining a register of controlled drugs for legal purposes and inventory control
- Liaising with physicians and other healthcare professionals to monitor, review and evaluate the effectiveness of drugs
- Advising the public on drugs, drug side effects, and the treatment of minor ailments
- Providing advice on specialized health issues such as immunization, blood pressure monitoring, smoking cessation, cholesterol control, and diabetes screening
- Managing, supervising, training, and mentoring pharmacy support staff
- Managing pharmacy finances and drug budgets
- Ordering and purchasing pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, or medications
- Maintaining, stocking, and managing inventory levels appropriately.
A pharmacist in a community setting typically needs the following:
Pharmacists must obtain a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy or a related field such as chemistry or biology. These programs last four years and include courses in pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, and mathematics.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, pharmacists must complete a Doctor of Pharmacy program. These two-year programs are offered by colleges and universities and include both classroom and laboratory instruction.
Training and Experience
Pharmacists receive most of their training through apprenticeship and internship programs. After completing their training, they must complete a one-year residency program to obtain a license. During this time, they work under the supervision of a registered pharmacist to gain practical experience in the field.
Certification and Licensing
In most states, pharmacists must apply for and obtain a license to practice. The type of license required varies from state to state, so it is important to check the requirements in your area.
- Clinical Services
Community pharmacists often provide clinical services to patients, including treatment of minor ailments and advice on chronic disease management. Clinical skills include the ability to assess a patient’s needs and prescribe medications to make them feel better. Community pharmacists also use clinical skills when researching new medications or drug combinations.
- Problem Solving
Community pharmacists often solve problems for their patients. They can help them find the right medication or dosage, answer questions about how to take the medication, and suggest lifestyle changes that may improve the patient’s health. Community pharmacists also use their problem-solving skills when trying to identify an unknown substance that a person has taken.
- Pharmacy Operations
Community pharmacists use their knowledge of pharmacy operations to ensure effective management of the community pharmacy. This includes knowing how to manage inventory, track sales and maintain the physical condition of the pharmacy. They also use their knowledge of pharmacy when interacting with insurance companies and other healthcare providers who write prescriptions.
- Third-Party Billing
Community pharmacists often bill insurance companies on behalf of their patients. This is an important skill, as it allows them to get paid for the medications they dispense and ensures that their patients can afford the treatment. It is also a necessary component of a successful business, as most community pharmacies rely on third-party billing to keep them operating.
- Patient Education
Patient education is an important skill for pharmacists to have, as it allows them to teach patients how to use medications correctly and safely. Community pharmacists often provide information about the side effects of certain medications, what to do if a patient experiences these side effects and any other information that might be helpful to their patients.
- Inventory Management
Community pharmacists often take inventory in their stores, which requires them to be able to track and organize the available inventory. They also need to be able to identify when they are going to run out of a particular product so they have time to order it before it runs out. This is important because it ensures that customers can get the medications they need.
- Customer Service
Customer service skills are important for pharmacists because they interact with patients and customers regularly. Customer service involves providing information, answering questions, and solving problems that customers may encounter. Community pharmacists must be friendly and approachable when interacting with patients to help them understand their medications or any side effects they may be experiencing.
- Patient Counseling
Community pharmacists often work with patients to help them understand the medications they are taking and how they work. They can explain the side effects of the medication, what to do if there are side effects or if there are questions about the treatment plan. Patient counseling skills allow community pharmacists to teach patients how to use medications safely and effectively. This can also help patients feel more comfortable taking prescribed medications.
- Supervisory Skills
Community pharmacists often supervise the work of pharmacy technicians and other staff. Supervisory skills include the ability to delegate tasks, provide feedback, and allocate time effectively. Community pharmacists must also teach patients how to use medications correctly and safely. They may also be able to train new staff or mentor existing staff.
- Medication Therapy Management
Medication therapy management is the ability to assess a patient’s medication needs and develop an individualized treatment plan. Community pharmacists often work with patients with complex medical conditions that require multiple medications to treat different symptoms. For example, a patient may need one medication to treat high blood pressure and another to control diabetes. The pharmacist can help identify the most effective medications for each condition and make sure the patient understands how to take all the medications correctly.
- Regulatory Compliance
Regulatory compliance is the ability to comply with all laws and regulations related to medications. Pharmacists must be aware of any changes in laws and regulations that may affect their practice and how to apply those laws and regulations when filling prescriptions for patients. For example, the pharmacist needs to know what information to obtain from the patient before filling the prescription and how to store the medication safely.
- Decision Making
Community pharmacists often have to make decisions about the medications they dispense. They may decide which drug is most effective in treating a patient or whether a drug is safe for a certain age group. Pharmacists also use their decision-making skills when deciding what to do in an emergency, such as if a client has taken too much medication and needs medical attention.
Compounding is the process of mixing ingredients to create medication. Community pharmacists often use their compounding skills for patients who need unique dosages or forms of treatment. For example, some patients may need liquid medications and others may need tablets. The pharmacist can prepare these medications by combining different ingredients and changing their proportions.
- Attention to Detail
Pharmacists must be able to measure and mix medications accurately. They must also ensure that the correct information is entered into the patient’s medical record, including dosing guidelines, side effects, and possible drug interactions. This ensures that patients are treated safely and helps pharmacists track their treatment.
Community pharmacists often work with patients to explain the medications they provide. They also communicate with other healthcare professionals, such as doctors and nurses, about patient care. This requires good written and verbal communication skills so that pharmacists can send emails and make phone calls effectively. It is also important that they can clearly explain medication instructions to patients so that they understand how to properly use their prescriptions.
Being organized means being able to keep track of many tasks and responsibilities. Community pharmacists often have many responsibilities, including filling prescriptions, answering customers’ questions about medications, and providing health advice. Strong organizational skills will help them effectively manage their workload and set priorities. It is also important for pharmacists to be organized when dealing with medications to ensure that patients receive the right treatment.
How to Become a Community Pharmacist
Here are some steps to becoming a community pharmacist:
- Obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree.
- Obtain a state license to practice pharmacy.
- Gain experience in retail sales.
- Develop strong customer service skills
- Keep abreast of changes in the pharmacy industry
- Maintain your license by completing continuing education requirements
- Join professional organizations such as the American Pharmacists Association.
Where to work as a Community Pharmacist
Community pharmacists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, retail pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities. They typically work 40 hours a week, but some may work evenings, weekends, or holidays. Many community pharmacists are self-employed and set their hours. Some pharmacists may travel to visit patients in their homes or to attend continuing education seminars. The work environment is generally clean and well-lit, and the work is generally not physically demanding. However, pharmacists may be exposed to infectious diseases and hazardous drugs. They may also be exposed to potential violence from disgruntled patients or customers.
Community Pharmacist Salary Scale
The median annual salary for community pharmacists in the United States is $115,736, while the median annual salary for pharmacists in Canada is $98,758. In the United Kingdom, salaries for community pharmacists can range from £46,000 to £50,000, depending on experience and location.