There are a number of reasons why I want to become a pharmacist, but chief among them is the importance of the pharmacist as a representative of the healthcare system and as a mediator between patients and physicians with regard to many treatment options. A pharmacist is responsible for so much more than just filling prescriptions. They must ensure the accuracy and compatibility of various drugs, ensuring there are no conflicts or allergic reactions. They are responsible for educating patients about medications of all kinds (prescribed and over-the-counter). They provide consultations to ensure patients are using medication appropriately. Finally, they serve the community in a number of different ways, from providing flu shots to running methadone treatment programs. In many ways, pharmacists are on the front-line of defense in patient safety, ensuring any treatments truly do facilitate wellness and not unintentional harm.
Being responsible for so many aspects of patient care in the realm of medicinal treatments means that precision, attention to detail, and problem-solving capabilities are required. As indicated in my CV, I have contributed to several research projects, which required careful and exact measures, as well as the ability to self-correct, when needed. I find this process incredibly rewarding – seeing the results of my work, deciding upon next steps in light of seeing such results, and having a clear path to obtaining those results are all validating and inherently interesting. We learn so much from classes and textbooks, but I’ve found that experimentation, precision, and hands-on learning are much more effective with regard to my own learning needs.
Finally, being a pharmacist means being a member of the community, and this brings the opportunity for cultivating long-term relationships with patients. It is not uncommon to work with the same patients for years, ensuring their care is effective and advocating for them, if necessary. I value this aspect of the role immensely – such relationships are so important for advancing patient compliance with treatments, and this kind of personalized attention can result in better patient outcomes. Many patients want to feel heard and supported by healthcare representatives, and that isn’t always possible when physicians are working through a long list of patients with limited time for each. This leaves open the potential for a gap in care, or for patients to feel like they haven’t been heard effectively. Pharmacists have the duty and the opportunity to facilitate conversation about treatments, offer expert advice, and – most importantly – hear patients’ concerns and help them feel heard.
Together, these roles demonstrate how integral pharmacists are to the wider healthcare institution and to their own communities. Taking on such duties and responsibilities is a privilege, and each offer a distinct role for pharmacists in terms of patient care.