Opportunities Are Endless in Pharmacy

Ed Cohen, PharmD
Published Online: Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ed Cohen, PharmD
Dr. Cohen is manager of immunization Clinical Services at Walgreens.

Looking back almost 100 years at the practice of pharmacy, pharmacists were very involved with their patients' care. Most medications, sold with or without a doctor's prescription, were prepared by pharmacists in a laboratory-type setting to treat the patient. There were very few, if any, remedies that were manufactured as we have them today. Pharmacists knew their patients, their ailments, and the medications they had prepared.

Today, pharmacists are equally involved with their patients' care. Pharmacists have electronic records of their patients' medications and are able to quickly review the treatment regimen. Patients on complex regimens rely on the pharmacist for guidance to properly take their medications to get the maximum benefit, at the lowest cost. As your pharmacy career begins, you will never lack for opportunities to impact patients and their care. You can be involved in direct patient care, working with patients who are well, at risk for disease, or chronically ill. You can work in various types of practice settings in the community or in an institutional practice. You can work in industry, in research, or in sales. You will always be a teacher to your patients, to other practitioners, and to future pharmacists.

You can also get involved with pharmacy outside your practice site by joining professional associations. These groups work on your behalf to ensure that you have the opportunity to practice pharmacy as a true health care professional, with the rights and privileges to be part of your patients' care, and to be compensated for your services.

The best of luck to you as you embark on your career as a pharmacist.

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