Imagine yourself hip deep in pharmacy school. You are sweating bullets over classes in pharmokinetics, chemotherapy and biostats. What, ho! You see the calendar reads October and you realize it’s American Pharmacists Month and you graduate in 2014 from the University of Kentucky’s College of Pharmacy and you want people to know you are acquiring mad skills. What to do? Write a primer about how much pharmacists can do for a community. And then put that primer — via guest column — in the Kentucky Kernel, the school’s (sort-of) daily newspaper, where people who are consumers of good data like this will gobble it and put it to good use. Student Zachary Noel’s list of “the top 10 things you didn’t know your pharmacist could do for you” is worth repeating because Noel wants to do more than fill prescriptions, he wants to be a trustworthy health-care partner, something a lot of Kentucky communities could use.
Here’s Noel’s list of what pharmacists can do:
1) Immunize. Kentucky’s pharmacists can provide flu shots and vaccinations, even for the human papilloma virus.
2) Economize. Just ask if you find yourself paying too much for your meds, there might be something your pharmacist can do.
3) Educate. Pharmacist are highly educated health-care providers who are often under utilized and more accessible than traditional sources. Don’t feel you have to limit those questions to medication questions.
4) Stand guard. Think of pharmacists as a super-filter and your last, best chance to check that a medication is right for you.
5) Counsel. Vitamins, herbals, over-the-counter meds baffling? The evidence-based and experience-tested pharmacist will have some advice.
6) Prescribe. Yes, some pharmacists, writes Noel, “can enter agreements with various providers allowing them to prescribe or alter medication regimens, such as within the Veteran’s Affairs hospital system.”
7) Practice in interesting places. Like ERs, ORs, with vets.
8) Complete a residency. Pharmacists can opt for more schooling so they can specialize.
9) Medication therapy management. This means that pharmacists can review all your meds for interactions and make recommendations.
10) Compound. This is where they make stuff not already available. Where they create eye drops or topical ointments specifically for your use as directed by your doctor.