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Clinical Pharmacists Play Critical Roles in Direct Patient Care

Clinical Pharmacists Play Critical Roles in Direct Patient Care

Jennifer LeClaire / Monster Contributing Writer

Stressful Rewards

Because they are more directly involved with choosing patient medications, clinical pharmacists carry more responsibility than pill-dispensing pharmacists. For that same reason, clinical pharmacists often say their jobs are more rewarding.

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“Clinical pharmacy is new every day,” says Keri Sims, immediate past president of the Gateway College of Clinical Pharmacy in St. Louis. “You get to see the direct effect of your recommendations — good or bad.”

If the patient has an adverse reaction to a drug, then it is the clinical pharmacist’s responsibility to notify the doctor and suggest a better treatment. Clinical pharmacists also monitor dosages to make sure patients are getting enough — but not too much — of the drug therapy.

“I enjoy watching patients get better right before my eyes and knowing that I had a hand in it,” says Matsune, who is also on staff at ValleyCare Health System in Pleasanton, California. “But it’s serious business, because if you recommend a drug to the doctor and harm comes to the patient, then you feel responsible.”

The Pharmacist-Doctor Relationship

Before they’ll ever experience the stress or rewards of direct patient care, clinical pharmacists must establish trust with doctors.

“Trust is essential when you are affecting the well-being of a doctor’s patient,” Matsune says. “It takes time to build that trust, but once you are over that barrier, the relationship is very smooth and doctors begin to rely on you, because they know you can provide the same level of care in terms of drug therapy.”

Sims says the clinical pharmacist’s experience with a doctor will depend greatly on that physician’s past interactions with pharmacists. “If you are working with physicians that have never worked with a clinical pharmacist or that haven’t had positive interactions with them, then it can be more challenging to prove your worth,” she says. “But if you position yourself as a competent resource, then it won’t take long to win their trust.”

This article originally appeared on Monster Career Advice.

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