Whenever you go to the hospital, you know that a team will work for you and your health, no matter your injury or illness. This team might include a doctor, a nurse, specialized doctors and nurses for your specific needs, and other caretakers. But all of these team members are working for the betterment of your health and are working to get you well again.
But there’s probably one member you have not thought of as being a valuable team player whenever you go to the hospital, and that is the humble pharmacist. While pharmacists are often only seen whenever you need to pick up your prescriptions from your healthcare provider, they are much more than that, and they can provide their own experience to help their patients feel much better.
Here are all the ways a pharmacist can become an important part of your healthcare team and all the benefits they can provide.
What is a pharmacist’s role?
Pharmacists often work in pharmacies or drug stores, though many also work at hospitals, and they are both experts in medication and healthcare providers. They can provide the prescriptions and medications that you are given by a doctor and also stock various over-the-counter medicines and cures for people who need them.
They are also able to give vaccines and immunizations and will answer any questions you have about your prescriptions, such as how they react to other medications or supplements you are taking. If you need to pick something up over the counter or get a shot, you will walk into a pharmacist’s office.
While it might seem that a pharmacist is best suited for the environment of a drug store rather than a hospital, they do have several key pieces of insight on their patients that can be helpful and useful for any medical team.
Pharmacists know their patients
Many people pick one pharmacy or at least one specific storefront and tend to remain with it for life. A relationship with their patient’s pharmacist can give doctors and nurses both current and past knowledge of the medication the patient is taking and can let them see how well this medication is working to keep them healthy.
They can also help with managing medication and answering questions relating to medication and drugs, questions that doctors and nurses will not need to spend their precious time answering. This is very helpful for patients who have chronic illnesses, as the local pharmacist can work with them one-on-one to provide long-term and effective care services.
For people who have one or more chronic health conditions, medication management is extremely important, and being able to work with a pharmacist in order to gain the best information about their health and to keep their variety of medications under control is very helpful.
Additionally, many pharmacists are able to help with transitions of care from a hospital back to home care by helping manage medications and educating patients about how to maintain their care and achieve health after their hospitalization.
Collaboration between both pharmacists and physicians will give both sides the information they need in order to treat their patients effectively at all stages of care and with the best outcome in mind for the patient.
Pharmacists and the wider public
As sad as it might be to admit, there are a lot of people in the world today who don’t have access to the money needed to visit the doctor and get checked up on. Even for those that do, they tend to visit the doctor far less often than the local pharmacy. Pharmacies and drug stores are very easy to access for most of the public, especially in lower-income areas, and pharmacies have greater access to the public and the health of a wider community.
By working with a medical team of doctors and nurses, the impact that doctors and nurses can have on the community at large can be increased. Pharmacists can speak to the community and then connect them with doctors and nurses who can provide more detailed help.
Pharmacists tackle social health determinants
The social determinants of health are conditions that people have based on their environment that can affect their health. For example, many people have food insecurity, limited access to healthcare services, language barriers, and a lack of social support. Generally, if patients are not well off in these areas, they cannot be expected to have good health.
However, many pharmacists have started to undergo training in order to better prepare for when they encounter these scenarios, and connections and collaboration between both physicians and pharmacists can help connect patients with the resources they need to overcome the social determinants of health and start to increase their quality of life.
Getting this type of training is going to be more important than ever because pharmacists will encounter people who are struggling against the social determinants of health and will need help solving those problems in order to live a healthy life. For new pharmacists, learning at the right pharmacy program online, such as the one offered by the University of Findlay, is an ideal step into an excellent pharmacy career. This flexible course enables students to work and study for their pharmacy degree while acquiring expert knowledge that will allow them to help patients and the wider community.
If you are looking for the front line against health problems in a community, then a pharmacy is the first place to look. The local pharmacist knows the community, works with their various patients long-term, and will be extremely useful for any medical team when it comes to making sure that all the gaps in care are closed.
Pharmacists are often the unsung heroes in the medical world, but by collaborating with them, doctors and healthcare providers will see an increase in the amount of care that they are able to provide for their patients, and that will lead to better patient outcomes for everyone involved.