Hospital pharmacies are mostly ran by professional pharmacists to prepare and dispense drugs to patients within a healthcare premise. These pharmacies stock diagnostic, curative, and preventive medications, of which majority are not present in the traditional drug stores (Paradkar and Chunawala 21). Astonishingly, drugs that hospital pharmacies stock are exclusively available for use by hospitalized patients. Therefore, this functional structure indicates that hospital pharmacies are not retail establishments because they hardly offer prescription services to the outside community.
The Purpose of Hospital Pharmacy
Hospital pharmacies give priority to patients within the facility in terms of diagnosis, medication, and disease prevention measures. The first purpose is to ensure professionalism in the provision of pharmaceutical services in the hospital (Stephens 87). Second, the facility makes sure that right medication is available to patients in the right dosages, right time, and affordable cost. Actually, most hospital pharmacies are not so profit-driven compared to private pharmacies established for business.
Third, the hospital pharmacy department aims to serve the medical and nursing staff with counseling tips regarding updates on dosage regimen, possible side effects, usage instructions, and precaution measures. Lastly, hospital pharmacy serves to improve the medical conditions of the concerned healthcare facility by implementing all decisions made by the Pharmacy Therapeutics Committee. Most hospitals have established their pharmacies to facilitate treatment processes, eliminate wrong dosage regimens, and increase recovery rates among patients (Zellmer 124).
Responsibilities and Roles of the Hospital Pharmacy
Hospital pharmacies forecast demand and foresee the purchasing and delivery of drugs, chemicals, and pharmaceutical items used in the treatment of patients (Paradkar and Chunawala 21). It does this through reliable suppliers, with specifications on the quality required. The department also maintains information regarding vendors, manufacturing records, cost, quality, inquisition rates, and distribution trends set by the hospital staff. This information is pertinent to the investigations of pharmaceutical problems that may arise during use of any drug from the pharmacy (Paradkar and Chunawala 21).
Second, it maintains the perpetual inventory of medicines and ensures that their quality remains potent despite the storage duration. Third, the pharmacy plans to dispense individual prescriptions for both inpatients and outpatients to promote faster recovery. Fourth, hospital pharmacists foresee the filling and labeling of drug containers. Fifth, the pharmacy prepares large volumes of parenteral injection fluids and provides them with aseptic conditions. Lastly, the department ensures that laws, rules, regulations and acts regarding pharmacies and dispensing are adhered to.
Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are both store staff that works together to deliver assistance to sick individuals, through medications and advice (Paradkar and Chunawala 21). Pharmacists rely on the pharmacy technicians for several reasons, and in return, the tech looks up to the pharmacist for guidance. However, their roles and responsibilities in a hospital pharmacy are quite different due to their varying levels of education.
In terms of education, pharmacists hold a degree in pharmacology, which involves six years of vigorous learning, whereby four years are for college education and two years of pre-pharmacy education (Stephens 184). Learning requires courses such as biology, biochemistry, chemistry, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, and microbiology. The purpose of these studies is to equip them with skills of how to differentiate drugs, their uses, and their interaction with each other in the human body. These studies are then backed up with one year of internship, exclusively under a licensed pharmacist. For one to acquire a license to practice pharmacy and register with the Pharmacy’s State Board, they must undertake and pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX).
The knowledge acquired by pharmacists assists them to be responsible for roles in pharmacy. Their roles and responsibilities include ensuring prescriptions are valid and legal, as well as adherence to regulations. They guarantee accurate filling of prescriptions, to avoid grave problems (Zellmer 35). Pharmacists also review patients’ medical records, to administer drugs whose interaction with previously used medication does not cause side effects. Lastly, they pay close attention prescription to avoid confusion in medications.
On the other hand, pharmacy technicians do not require standardized national education. The majority of practitioners working in pharmacies only have high school education. However, this matter depends on various states. In some nations, they must pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCB). The board that provides this examination offer pharmacy education (Zellmer 92), develops protocols, and certifies technicians. Several programs available through online schools, high education institutes, and private organizations help individuals study for the test.
The duration of study depends on the level of education one wishes to pursue. The subjects include drug terminology, classification and preparation, medication dosage calculations, pharmacy law and ethics, and pharmacy administration among others (Paradkar and Chunawala 21). The roles and responsibilities of pharmacy technicians include administrative tasks such as tracking inventory, filling paperwork, running the cash register, and processing insurance claims. They may also accept patients’ prescription, fill them, pack, and label drugs (Stephens 154). However, the pharmacists must be present to inspect and review accuracy before delivering to patients.
Hospital pharmacy is a vital department in any healthcare facility. It is responsible for all medications consumed by patients and therefore, ensures that there is adequate supply and watches the manufacture and expiry dates carefully. The pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are also crucial in the functioning of the store. They must work together to deliver the relevant services related to pharmacy. Pharmacists must carefully supervise any activity regarding medications handled by technicians since pharmacy technicians have no education on interaction or side effects of medicines.
- Paradkar, Ariel and Seth Chunawala. A Text Book of Hospital and Clinical Pharmacy. Nirali Prakashan, 2008.
- Stephens, Martin. Hospital Pharmacy. Pharmaceutical Press, 2011.
- Zellmer, Williams. The Conscience of a Pharmacist. ASHP, 2002.