Role of the Pharmacist in Patient Care

Describe the role of the pharmacist in patient care. What are some of his/her responsibilities? Discuss your strengths and describe how you feel they will be advantageous to you in becoming a successful pharmacist.

The present drug distribution system in the United States is, for the most part, physician-oriented. It is the physician who makes all the decisions and everyone else is expected to follow them. Within such a structure, however, there is little room for pharmacist involvement. Therefore, in the past, pharmacists have primarily functioned as "prescription processors." Hence, they have been more oriented towards product than patient. Voluntary actions for the benefit of patients are taken only when time and circumstances permit.

The traditional role of the pharmacist though, is currently undergoing change. In recent years, pharmacy has become much more clinical. One goal of this "clinical model" is to promote rational drug therapy. Clinical pharmacists generally have greater responsibility with respect to their patients than "technical pharmacists." They tend to be more patient-oriented (Schulz & Brushwood, 1991, p. 13).

Although such pharmacists must still encourage compliance with physician instructions, they more fully utilize their potential as both sources of information and patient advocates. It is patient-oriented pharmacists' duty to ensure that their charges are making their own decisions based on clear and thorough understandings of bot



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