Today is a special day! It’s National Pharmacist Day!! Pharmacists are special people. Every year, they are rated highly on the Gallup Most Trustworthy profession survey. This was an often quoted statistic when I was in pharmacy school. I worked as a pharmacist for 10 years in Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, Texas and New Mexico. So I have known a fair number of pharmacists and worked in a variety of conditions as one myself.
Here are some things you should know about pharmacists.
Pharmacists are accessible. They are often on the front lines of healthcare. You can easily contact one when you have a question about medication or medical issues. You don’t even have to give your name over the phone or fill prescriptions at that pharmacy! Simply call and say “Hi, I have a question..” and you will get an answer. It’s free. You don’t need an appointment. I have been asked some bizarre questions in my career, as have most pharmacists I would guess! You can ask advice on medications of course, but also about small medical concerns. At the very least, the pharmacist will know when you should contact a doctor. Many pharmacists are also trained to give vaccinations (although many don’t give them to kids), which can save you a visit to the doctor if you need a booster on an immunization or a flu shot. Many pharmacies also offer health and wellness screenings and information on keeping a healthy lifestyle. Many pharmacists help manage chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Pharmacists are trustworthy. They keep your information confidential; after all, it’s the law! Most pharmacists take the time to get to know their patients and look out for them. It’s best to stick with one pharmacy if you can, as that is the easiest way for your pharmacist to keep track of what medications you are taking and spot any potential interaction.
Pharmacists are hard-working. Many of them work 12 hour shifts and are on their feet for most of that time. Sometimes they are very busy, sometimes they are in a slower environment. Some work part time, many work full time. Most work nights and weekends and holidays.
Pharmacists don’t just count out tablets and capsules and put them in a bottle! It may look like that sometimes, but even if/while they are doing that, they are checking for drug-drug interactions, drug-disease interactions, dosage appropriateness and duplicate therapy. They also will counsel you about your medication when you come to pick it up. There are also pharmacists who work in settings other than retail pharmacy; many pharmacists work in hospitals, clinics, poison control, home health care, long term care, universities, rehabilitation hospitals, nuclear pharmacies or research. 50% or more of pharmacists are women.
So hug your pharmacist today! Or at least give them a little smile and a wave and wish them a happy National Pharmacist Day!
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