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In which areas can a Pharmacist practice?
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Let’s talk about pharmacy practice in Ghana.

We came out of pharmacy school with so much zeal and enthusiasm; ready to conquer the world–do what Napoleon couldn’t do. The blessing our noble profession gives us is the opportunity to choose from many options of practice. Therefore, the expectation is to find pharmacists exploring and venturing into all the various pharmacy practice areas and making the difference we are cut out for. But what do we find? The greater percentage of us are medical representatives and community and hospital pharmacists, with only a few wading in industry and regulatory affairs. A good proportion of us are also in academia (God bless our lecturers).

Are the practice options our profession offer a bane rather than a blessing if we as practitioners cannot adequately exploit them for our enrichment? We have so much capacity to do more, to leave an indelible mark.

Let’s quickly refresh our minds on the other opportunities we have.

If you have ever been passionate about a practice that is primarily based on pharmacotherapy without dispensing drugs, but rather involves seeing patients during office visits to manage chronic disease, then you are looking at Ambulatory Care Pharmacy.

Another area is Consultant Pharmacy practice. Similar to the ambulatory care pharmacist, the consultant pharmacist focuses more on medication regimen review than on actual dispensing of drugs. Consultant pharmacists commonly work in nursing homes; however, they can practice in other institutions and non-institutional settings.

Let me step outside the needs of Homo sapiens and mention Veterinary Pharmacy Practice. If you are an animal lover or just interested in catering for the needs of animals, then look no further. You need to study the different strengths and varieties of medications stocked to meet the pharmaceutical needs of animals and you are good to practice as a veterinary pharmacist.

If none of the above describes your interests, but you have a desire to compound  and dispense radioactive materials to meet medical needs, all hope is not lost. Nuclear Pharmacy has you covered. You will have to undergo trainings that are specific to handling radioactive materials; however, unlike in community and hospital pharmacy practices, you may not interact directly with patients. But think about it, nuclear pharmacy may be the answer to some of the ailments in the world.

I definitely cannot leave out Military Pharmacy; it is a very reforming area to venture into. It has its pros and cons. Do you enjoy being a pharmacist but would want to “serve your country” as well? Have a talk with yourself and decide if you are up for military pharmacy practice.

 

If your interest is more in the combination of pharmacy practice science and applied science, then look no further than Pharmacy Informatics. You will get to work in information technology departments or for healthcare information technology vendor companies. As a practice area and specialist domain, pharmacy informatics is growing quickly to meet the needs of major national and international patient information projects and healthcare interoperability systems. In this field, you are trained to participate in medication management system development, deployment, and optimization.

Specialty Pharmacy offers you the opportunity to join the fastest growing sector of the pharmaceutical industry. It deals with the supply of high cost injectables, oral, infused, or inhaled medications that are used for managing chronic and complex diseases. This area also involves lab monitoring, adherence counselling, and assisting patients with cost-containment strategies needed to obtain their expensive specialty drugs.

Internet Pharmacy is ideal for you if you have a community pharmacy and you want to use online services to attend to your clients at their doorstep. It is a service of convenience for pharmaceutical care.

You may say some of these practices are inapplicable in our country but I beg to differ.

With vision, tenacity, and endurance, these uncommon practices can be observed in our country, and it could start with you.

Therefore, think wide, dream big, and act. Pharmacy is large enough to contain us all.

 

Pharm. Anita Djoleto

BPharm, MPSGh