What is a clinical pharmacist?
Pharmacists are drug experts. Clinical pharmacists take this knowledge and apply it to clinical scenarios.
Clinical pharmacists perform functions beyond fundamental dispensing and order-processing activities. This typically involves optimization of medication selection, dosing, and monitoring. There are a wide variety of activities that can be considered clinical pharmacy activities.
Under the clinical context there are three types of pharmacists. First is a “staff pharmacist” who performs no or limited clinical pharmacist activities. Second is a “hybrid pharmacist” who performs dispensing and order-processing activities sometimes, then clinical activities other times. Third is a “clinical pharmacist” who only performs clinical pharmacy activities. It is not very common to find a pharmacist position that solely requires clinical pharmacist activities. Which pharmacists and activities healthcare administrators consider “clinical” can vary between organizations.
Clinical pharmacists are not superior to non-clinical pharmacists, they just practice pharmacy in a different way.
Examples of clinical pharmacist activities:
- Providing pharmacotherapy support to diagnosticians during inpatient medical ward rounds so that drug selection and dosing can be optimized
- Interviewing and counseling patients in an ambulatory care clinic to ensure appropriate monitoring for safety and efficacy during treatment of hepatitis C
- Developing institutional tools that help healthcare providers make smarter decisions related to medications
READINGS / RESOURCES
Timothy P. Gauthier, Pharm.D., BCPS-AQ ID
The ID PharmD Q&A pages attempt to answer common pharmacy questions by providing the perspective and opinion of a trained expert with substantial experience relevant to the question. That noted, these answers are not provided as all-inclusive comprehensive responses.