Today’s generation can’t remember the days when parents and families had a close and personal relationship with the neighborhood pharmacist. Years ago, pharmacists provided the same down-home, personal care and attention that was typically associated with the Doctor who made house calls. It was not uncommon to request a prescription be delivered, and none other than the pharmacist himself would be on the other side of the door.
Some of the commercials for major chain drug stores advertise “your neighborhood shop.” This signals a transition in the way drug companies want to be viewed. They are going back to the hands-on, customer care relationship; the public welcomes the retreat with open arms. The outcry for affordable medical insurance has left many families to their own accord, forced to self-diagnosis and treat illnesses. People still need assistance in making the appropriate decisions and purchases regarding medications. Consequently, they look to the pharmacist to help with current health care concerns.
The pharmacy industry is going back to personal and community-oriented relationships that were nearly consumed by the “convenient” drive-thru window service. Colleges and universities recognize the necessity of training a pharmacist to have a genuine care for people and the overall wellness of the community. Pharmacy degree programs generally include in-depth components that focus in on professional competence and preventive health care methods.
Part of the pharmacy degree core curriculum is based on developing communication skills that help pharmacists be effective communicators to patients, colleagues, and other health care providers. They learn skills that aid them in speaking with audiences from diverse backgrounds, understand and use communication methods that are sensitive to a patient’s social background, and utilize appropriate listening skills to help them ascertain one’s needs.
Pharmacists are expected to contribute to the overall wellness of the community. Subsequently, student pharmacists receive training on helping to establish wellness and preventive disease programs that are targeted for specific communities and at-risk populations. Training includes learning research methods that identify specific population health issues. Research may result in identifying cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic factors that contribute to particular health issues.
A student must be a graduate from an accredited pharmacy program and pass a state license exam to become a pharmacist in the United States. The PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) entails being a registered pharmacist and a health care professional. Depending on the institution, it can take four to six years to complete a degree program, including experimental education in practice settings and working environments.
Entry into a pharmaceutical degree program requires a solid foundation of science and math. Students may be required to complete courses in macro and microeconomics, calculus, anatomy, physiology, general and organic chemistry, and biology. Program requirements vary from university to university.
Pharmacists, who have completed their online doctorate degree programs, must know the chemical properties of drugs and the effectiveness they have on the body as well as advise consumers on the use of prescription and non-prescription medicines. But, in addition to those duties are the equally important responsibilities of establishing relationships with the communities that they serve. Consequently, the human relation, communication, and wellness aspects of pharmacy are an important part of the degree program. There is always more information abut online classes to be found.