A closer look at pharmacy

Fall, pumpkins, leaves, and football are things that come to mind when we think of October. But something that you might not know, is that October is also American Pharmacist Month. Melissa Auckley, PharmD Candidate, and Abby Todt, PharmD, BCPS, Pharmacy, Parkview Health, tell us more about the profession.

What do pharmacists do?
Pharmacists affect many of the medication decisions made in healthcare. I like to refer to us as the healthcare ninjas (while you may not see us, we are ultimately helping affect your care).

How do you become a pharmacist?
Pharmacy school is set up differently than many other healthcare professions (nursing, medical, etc). Typically, pharmacy students complete 2 years of undergraduate work before applying to pharmacy school. Once accepted into pharmacy school, students complete 4 years of graduate school. Three of the years are classwork along with a mix of clinical hours. The last year is all clinical based where students work within different settings to gain experience prior to entering the workforce.

What are the options after school?
Before I decided to become a pharmacist, I thought all pharmacists did was stand behind the counter at your local pharmacy and count pills all day. This is absolutely 0. There are so many different pharmacy career options that many people don't know about! Pharmacists work in hospitals, family care clinics, ambulatory clinics, industrial-based settings, nursing homes, management, colleges, and of course, drug stores.

What do pharmacists do?
Pharmacists manage your medications; in fact, it is our passion. Management of your medications can include verifying appropriate strength and route for the disease state being managed, finding interactions with other medications being taken, recommending to add on medications to better manage a disease state, or getting rid of medications no longer necessary for the patient. Without pharmacists input, many of these tasks may be skipped over or not adequately managed. For some more statistics take a look at http://whatpharmacistsdo.org.

What can your pharmacist do for you?
Pharmacists are easy to connect with and patients can certainly better utilize them. We can help you better understand your disease states and how you can better manage them. Pharmacists can answer any question you may have about over-the-counter medications to manage acute symptoms such as cough, cold and pain. Pharmacists can help with any concerns you may have about your medications.


Make sure to stop by your local pharmacy and get all of your questions answered. While you are there, thank your favorite pharmacist the month of October for the work they do!

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