The pharmacist may fulfill many roles as outlined below.
1. PROTECTOR OF YOUR HEALTH
The pharmacist receives your prescription and before he proceeds to prepare your prescription, he has to ensure that all the pertinent information is correct.
The information he looks for on the prescription includes;
i) the name of the patient
ii) the age of the patient
iii) the drug prescribed
iv) the dose of the drug and how often it is to be used, with respect to
a) the drug itself and
b) to the age of the patient
v) the signature of the medical practitioner is authentic
He must also ensure that the prescription is current and valid.
2. DISPENSER OF MEDICINE
After careful consideration of all the above facts, he will dispense the medication as prescribed or he will contact the doctor who will make the necessary changes.
The pharmacist must counsel you about the medication he has dispensed for you. Information important to you includes:
a) how to take it
b) when to take it
c) how long to take it for
d) side effects to look out for and what to do if they occur
e) how to store the medication to ensure that it remains potent for the time you are using it.
As a health care provider, the pharmacist must offer consultation on a range of health needs, including
a) over-the-counter products - pain killers, cough & cold preparations, laxatives etc.
(REMEMBER there are drugs too.)
b) diabetes care products e.g. blood and urine testing agents
c) asthma care products e.g. peak flow meters, aerochamber
d) baby care products e.g. baby milk formula, vitamin preparations, nappy rash and colic preparations
5. MEMBER OF THE HEALTH CARE TEAM
As a member of the Health Care team, the pharmacist must liaise with the doctor, the nurse, the nutritionist etc. to determine the best possible care for you, the patient.
6. STUDENT OF CONTINUING EDUCATION
The pharmacist has to keep up-to-date on current information and therefore he has to keep learning by attending Continuing Education programmes.
7. A FRIEND
In order that you may confide in him and seek his advice, the pharmacist must be your friend - Your Friend in the Community.
The pharmacist has to educate you on your medication so that you can make informed choices and understand the importance of proper medication management.
This can be achieved by verbal counseling or by leaflets, posters in the pharmacy and giving lectures to community groups.
The pharmacist is there to hear your problems and offer advise; this is done in the strictest of confidence. Any information that you may share with him will not be repeated.