The field of pharmacy is constantly evolving, with new practice settings emerging to meet the changing needs of patients and the healthcare industry. Pharmacists can now find opportunities in areas such as ambulatory care, association management, YouTube, and specialty healthcare.
Each of these practice settings offers a unique career pathway and requires specific skills and knowledge. It is essential for pharmacy students and professionals to explore these novel practice settings and gain exposure to the diverse career pathways available to them.
This article aims to provide an in-depth exploration of these novel pharmacy practice settings and the career opportunities they offer. We will discuss the skills and knowledge required for each practice setting, the challenges and rewards of working in these areas, and provide tips for pharmacy students who are interested in pursuing a career in these fields.
By understanding the different practice settings available to them, pharmacy students and professionals can make informed decisions about their career paths and find a practice setting that aligns with their skills and interests.
Pharmacy Career Pathways
Pharmacy career pathways offer a wide range of practice setting options for pharmacists with different skills and interests. Students interested in pursuing a career in novel practice settings are recommended to gain exposure to different practice settings, network with individuals across various areas, and stay informed about job market changes.
It is important to note that the pharmacy job market trends may change over time, and staying up-to-date with these changes can be valuable for making informed career decisions. Future career opportunities in pharmacy may also be influenced by changes in healthcare policies and advancements in technology.
For instance, telepharmacy and personalized medicine are emerging trends that could create new opportunities for pharmacists. It is also important to note that becoming a pharmacy technician is a recommended step for those interested in pursuing a pharmacy career, as prior healthcare experience can be valuable in gaining admission to pharmacy school and preparing for a career in pharmacy practice.
Overall, exploring different pharmacy career pathways and staying informed about job market trends can help students make informed decisions about their future career goals.
Pharmacy Technician Path
Acquiring prior healthcare experience is a valuable asset for individuals interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician. Many pharmacy technicians have prior experience working as a healthcare aide, nurse, or medical assistant, which provides them with a foundation of knowledge necessary for success in a pharmacy setting. Additionally, prior healthcare experience can help individuals better understand the needs of patients and how to effectively communicate with them.
In addition to prior healthcare experience, pharmacy technician training is necessary to prepare individuals for the job. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer pharmacy technician training programs that typically last 1-2 years and cover topics such as medication preparation, dispensing, and record-keeping. It’s important to note that the job market for pharmacy technicians can be competitive, and obtaining certification and completing on-the-job training can increase job prospects. The following table outlines the job outlook for pharmacy technicians in the United States.
|Job Outlook for Pharmacy Technicians
|Projected Employment, 2029
|Percent Change, 2019-29
|Median Annual Wage, May 2020
|Typical Entry-Level Education
|High school diploma or equivalent
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pharmacy Technicians.
Ambulatory Care Practice
One-on-one patient care is a central focus in the unique practice setting of ambulatory care. Pharmacists working in this setting collaborate with physicians under collaborative practice agreements to improve patient care.
Suzanne Surowiec, PharmD, BCACP, is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at The University of Findlay and works as a clinical ambulatory care pharmacist at a private practice in Northwest Ohio. She sees patients for a variety of disease states and medication management.
Students interested in a career similar to hers should shadow and/or complete introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE) hours in an ambulatory care setting and complete at least one year of residency training.
Pharmacists in ambulatory care settings provide patient-centered care and often have more time with each patient than in other settings. This allows them to focus on medication management, disease state management, and counseling patients on lifestyle modifications.
However, pharmacists in this setting also face challenges such as limited time with each patient and the need to stay up-to-date with the latest research and medication therapies. Despite these challenges, pharmacists in ambulatory care settings can have a positive impact on patients, populations, and communities by working to improve patient outcomes and prevent hospital readmissions.
Association Management Fellowship
To become a leader in the profession of pharmacy and healthcare, an association management fellowship provides an exceptional learning experience for pharmacists who seek to broaden their knowledge and skills.
Sharmi Patel, PharmD, MBA’s executive fellowship at Iowa Pharmacy Association is a prime example of how association management can pave the way for career growth and networking opportunities for pharmacy professionals. As an executive fellow, Patel has gained valuable experience in association management, which has prepared her for a well-rounded, high-level position in the profession of pharmacy and healthcare.
State associations work tirelessly to advocate for pharmacists, technicians, and students, and provide opportunities for pharmacists to get involved in advocacy, committees, and event planning.
For individuals interested in association management, networking with pharmacy leaders, getting involved in advancing state associations’ legislative priorities, and pursuing internships or rotations focused on association management or legislative/regulatory affairs are recommended. By taking these steps, pharmacists can gain valuable experience in association management, which can lead to career growth and networking opportunities in the profession of pharmacy and healthcare.
YouTube as a Communication Tool
The use of YouTube as a communication tool in the field of pharmacy has proven to be an effective way for pharmacists to connect with a wider audience and provide accessible information about pharmacy-related topics. James Delk, PharmD, known as The Fresh Pharmacist, is an excellent example of how pharmacists can create engaging content that appeals to a broad range of patients.
Delk’s YouTube videos cover a variety of topics, including medication management, disease information, and tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As a result, he has gained a wide following and has become a trusted source of information for patients seeking to learn more about their health.
While creating engaging content is essential, overcoming video production challenges can be a significant barrier for pharmacists looking to use YouTube as a communication tool. Delk recommends not worrying too much about video quality at first and seeking out resources to improve.
He also suggests finding a quiet, well-lit location to film and investing in a quality microphone to ensure that audio is clear and easy to understand. With persistence and dedication, pharmacists can use YouTube as a powerful tool to educate patients and improve health outcomes.
Clinical Research in Pharmacy
Clinical research is an important aspect of the field of pharmacy as it plays a significant role in ensuring that new medications and treatments are safe and effective for patients. Pharmacists working in clinical research are responsible for auditing clinical trials to ensure compliance with FDA guidelines and are involved in the drug development process from the early stages of research. They also work to collect and analyze data, interpret results, and communicate findings to healthcare professionals and regulatory bodies.
For pharmacists interested in pursuing clinical research opportunities, there are various pathways available. Career fairs, networking with industry professionals, and pursuing internships or rotations focused on clinical research or regulatory affairs can provide valuable experience and insights.
Additionally, for those interested in combining their knowledge of pharmacy with video production possibilities, there are opportunities to create educational and informative content for patients and healthcare professionals, such as those produced by James Delk, PharmD, as The Fresh Pharmacist. However, it’s important to note that while producing content can be a valuable tool for communication and education, it should always be done with accuracy, ethical considerations, and adherence to regulations in mind.
Specialty Healthcare Practice
Pharmacists working in a collaborative practice agreement with physicians are able to engage in prescriptive activities for diabetes treatment. This is evident at the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center in Portland, Oregon, where clinical pharmacists provide care for both adults and children with diabetes. The collaborative practice agreement enables pharmacists to manage hyperglycemic disorders, incorporate diabetes technology into treatment plans, and engage in prescriptive activities.
Over half of the pharmacists’ time at the center is spent providing direct patient care through office or digital visits, with other duties including committee or task force involvement and providing drug-information support.
Patient management is a critical aspect of the pharmacists’ role in this specialty healthcare setting. Pharmacists at the center work closely with physicians to provide comprehensive diabetes care, addressing barriers to diabetes management such as medication affordability and mental health support. The most rewarding aspect of Rita Parsiani’s role as a clinical pharmacist at the center is helping patients achieve blood sugar targets or A1c goals.
However, addressing such barriers can be challenging for pharmacists, making it critical for pharmacists to have a comprehensive understanding of the patient and to work collaboratively with healthcare professionals to ensure optimal patient care and glycemic control.
Diabetes Health Center Role
Patient management and collaborative care with physicians are essential components of providing comprehensive diabetes care in specialty healthcare settings. Clinical pharmacists at the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center in Portland, Oregon, work closely with physicians to provide treatment plans that incorporate diabetes technology and engage in prescriptive activities for diabetes treatment. Rita Parsiani, PharmD, BC-ADM, CDCES, a clinical pharmacist at the center, spends over half of her time providing direct patient care through office or digital visits. She also participates in committee or task force involvement and provides drug-information support. Parsiani finds helping patients achieve blood sugar targets or A1c goals to be the most rewarding aspect of her role, but she also faces challenges in addressing barriers to diabetes management, such as medication affordability and mental health support.
To better understand the role of clinical pharmacists in specialty healthcare settings, the following table summarizes the responsibilities and challenges faced by clinical pharmacists like Parsiani in the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center.
|Engage in prescriptive activities for diabetes treatment
|Addressing barriers to diabetes management such as medication affordability and mental health support
|Provide direct patient care through office or digital visits
|Managing burnout due to the burden of living with diabetes
|Participate in committee or task force involvement
|Provide drug-information support
In addition to her responsibilities, Parsiani emphasizes the importance of patient education in managing diabetes. She works closely with patients to ensure they understand their medication regimen and how to properly monitor their blood sugar levels. By educating patients, Parsiani helps them become more proactive in their own care and achieve their treatment goals.
Certifications and Training
Pharmacists working in specialty healthcare settings like the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center must have specialized training and certifications to provide the best possible care for their patients.
Rita Parsiani, a clinical pharmacist at the center, earned her pharmacy degree from Pacific University School of Pharmacy and completed rotations and a postgraduate year one (PGY-1) pharmacy residency in specialty healthcare settings. She has also gained certifications in diabetes care and education to better serve her patients.
These certifications and specialized training allow pharmacists to provide comprehensive care and stay up-to-date with the latest developments and best practices in their field.
Certifications and training requirements vary depending on the practice setting and specialty area. However, they offer significant benefits for pharmacists and their patients.
Certification indicates a higher level of expertise and knowledge in a particular area, which can lead to career advancement and higher salaries. Additionally, specialized training can improve patient outcomes, increase job satisfaction, and provide opportunities for professional growth and development.
Challenges and Rewards
The challenges and rewards of working in various pharmacy practice settings depend on factors such as the nature of the work, the patient population, and the level of collaboration with other healthcare providers.
Pharmacists working in novel practice settings often face challenges such as limited time with each patient, navigating complex insurance and reimbursement systems, and addressing barriers to care such as medication affordability and mental health support. However, overcoming these obstacles can lead to personal growth and development, and a sense of fulfillment from improving patient outcomes and making a positive impact on populations and communities.
Working in specialty healthcare settings, such as diabetes clinics, can be particularly rewarding for pharmacists. Helping patients achieve their blood sugar targets or A1c goals can provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. However, addressing the barriers to diabetes management can be a challenge, and pharmacists must be able to navigate complex healthcare systems and work collaboratively with other healthcare providers to provide comprehensive care.
Overall, pharmacists in novel practice settings face unique challenges and rewards, and must be committed to ongoing professional development and growth to succeed in these roles.
Other Practice Settings
State associations provide numerous opportunities for pharmacists to become involved in different areas of the profession. Pharmacists can join committees focused on areas such as legislative advocacy, patient safety, or education. These committees offer a chance to connect with other pharmacists, learn about current issues facing the profession, and develop leadership skills. Involvement in state associations can also lead to career growth potential, as pharmacists may be tapped for leadership positions or offered speaking engagements at conferences.
In addition to state associations, pharmacists can explore other novel pharmacy practice settings. Contract research organizations, for example, offer opportunities to work on clinical trials and drug development projects. Pharmacists can also consider opening their own pharmacies, like R. Logan Yoho, who opened a 340B pharmacy within one of his clinics. Exploring these new opportunities can lead to a rewarding career path, with the potential to impact patients in unique and meaningful ways.
Tips for Pharmacy Students
Like a compass guiding a ship, students interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy should keep an open mind and gain diverse experiences to navigate the vast opportunities available in the field.
One way to do this is by networking with pharmacy leaders and professionals, attending seminars and conferences, and pursuing internships or shadowing opportunities in various practice settings.
By gaining experience in different areas, students can determine their interests and find the practice setting that best incorporates their skills and passions.
Pharmacy school prepares students well for the clinical knowledge needed for various career paths, but it’s important to also gain experience outside of the classroom.
Pursuing internships or work in healthcare settings, such as becoming a pharmacy technician, can provide valuable experience and insight into the pharmacy profession.
Additionally, keeping an open mind and stepping outside of comfort zones can lead to unexpected opportunities and career paths.
By gaining diverse experiences and networking with professionals in the field, students can set themselves up for success in pursuing a career in pharmacy.
Preparing for Clinical Knowledge
To prepare for the clinical knowledge required for a career in pharmacy, students should focus on gaining practical experience through internships, volunteering, and working in healthcare settings. This practical experience can help students develop hands-on skills and gain exposure to different practice settings. Additionally, students should seek out networking opportunities with pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to learn about career paths and gain insights into the industry.
One way to gain clinical experience is through internships or rotations in pharmacy school. These experiences allow students to work alongside licensed pharmacists and gain practical skills in various practice settings. Volunteering in healthcare settings, such as hospitals or clinics, can also provide valuable experience and networking opportunities. Additionally, working as a pharmacy technician can provide a foundation of knowledge and skills that will be helpful in pharmacy school and future pharmacy practice. By gaining clinical experience and networking with industry professionals, students can better prepare themselves for a career in pharmacy.
Summary and Conclusion
Novel Pharmacy Practice Settings: A Comprehensive Summary and Conclusion
Pharmacy practice settings have evolved significantly over the years, with new and innovative approaches emerging to address the changing healthcare landscape. These novel pharmacy practice settings offer unique opportunities for pharmacists to expand their roles and improve patient outcomes. In this summary, we will explore the various types of novel pharmacy practice settings and their potential impact on the field of pharmacy.
Community-Based Pharmacy Practice Settings
Community-based pharmacy practice settings have long been a staple of the pharmacy profession. However, these settings are now evolving to offer a wider range of services beyond traditional dispensing. One example is the development of medication therapy management (MTM) services, which involve pharmacists working directly with patients to optimize medication regimens and improve adherence. Other community-based pharmacy practice settings include collaborative practice agreements with physicians and other healthcare providers, as well as the provision of clinical services such as immunizations and point-of-care testing.
Hospital-Based Pharmacy Practice Settings
Hospital-based pharmacy practice settings have also undergone significant changes in recent years. One example is the development of decentralized pharmacy services, which involve pharmacists working on patient care units to provide medication management and education. Another example is the use of technology such as automated dispensing cabinets and electronic health records to improve efficiency and patient safety.
Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Practice Settings
Ambulatory care pharmacy practice settings involve pharmacists working in outpatient clinics and other non-hospital settings to provide a range of clinical services. These services may include medication management, disease management, and patient education. One example of an ambulatory care pharmacy practice setting is the development of pharmacist-led anticoagulation clinics, which have been shown to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.
Specialty Pharmacy Practice Settings
Specialty pharmacy practice settings involve the provision of specialized medications for patients with complex medical conditions. These medications may be expensive and require specialized handling and administration. Specialty pharmacy practice settings may involve collaboration with other healthcare providers to ensure optimal patient outcomes.
Telepharmacy Practice Settings
Telepharmacy practice settings involve the use of technology to provide pharmacy services remotely. This may include medication dispensing, counseling, and education. Telepharmacy practice settings can be particularly useful in rural or underserved areas where access to traditional pharmacy services may be limited.
Novel pharmacy practice settings offer unique opportunities for pharmacists to expand their roles and improve patient outcomes. These settings are evolving rapidly to address the changing healthcare landscape, and pharmacists must be prepared to adapt to these changes. By embracing new and innovative approaches to pharmacy practice, pharmacists can play a vital role in improving patient care and advancing the field of pharmacy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some common misconceptions about pharmacy practice settings?
Common misconceptions about pharmacy practice settings include limited career options and lack of patient interaction. Ambulatory care and association management settings offer unique opportunities for patient care and leadership roles, respectively.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected pharmacy career pathways?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a surge in telepharmacy and virtual care, changing the landscape of pharmacy career pathways. Pharmacists have adapted to new ways of providing care, including remote patient monitoring and medication delivery, creating new opportunities in the field.
What are some emerging technologies or trends in pharmacy practice?
Emerging technologies in pharmacy practice include telepharmacy, which provides remote access to medication and counseling, and personalized medicine, which tailors treatment plans to genetic and individual factors. These trends aim to improve patient outcomes and access to care.
How can pharmacists work to address healthcare disparities in their communities?
Pharmacy advocacy and community outreach efforts can address healthcare disparities. Pharmacists can work with underserved populations, provide education, collaborate with healthcare providers, and advocate for policy changes to improve access to care and reduce disparities.
What advice do experienced pharmacists have for those just starting out in the field?
Experienced pharmacists advise those starting out in the field to seek mentorship and network with pharmacy leaders. Pursuing internships and shadowing opportunities can also provide valuable experiences for future career paths.