Healthcare & Medical
Pharmacists dispense and distribute prescription and controlled medications and give advice about their safe use.
What does a Pharmacist do?
Pharmacists dispense and distribute prescription and controlled medications and offer expertise about their safe use. Pharmacists also provide advice on the appropriate use of over-the-counter medications, conduct health and wellness screenings, provide immunisations, and oversee medications given to patients.
As a pharmacist, you would:
- fill prescriptions and dispense controlled medications
- give advice about the potential interactions of prescription medication and other medications
- give instructions to the patient on how and when to take the medication
- prepare medicines that are not supplied ready-made by the manufacturer
- give general healthcare advice and help to the public in relation to minor ailments
- arrange the delivery of medication to people who are unable to leave home
- sell a range of over the counter medications and healthcare products
- arrange programs such as monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels, diabetes screening, or flu vaccinations
- keep up to date with current pharmacy practice, new drugs and their uses
- order and control stock
- run or help to run a business, including supervising and training staff.
Pharmacists who work in hospitals might also:
- visit wards, giving advice about medicines to other medical professionals and provide them with up-to-date information
- buy and distribute medicines throughout the hospital.
Key skills and interests
To become a pharmacist, you would need:
- an interest in the health and well being of people
- a high level of scientific ability and understanding
- a methodical and responsible approach to your work
- good problem solving skills
- good maths skills
- accuracy and attention to detail.
Working hours and conditions
As a pharmacist in a retail pharmacy, you would work a standard number of hours per week. This would usually include weekends and evenings. Part-time work should be readily available. As a self-employed pharmacist, you would likely work longer than normal hours.
In a hospital setting, you would usually work a standard number of hours per week, which would include shifts on evenings and weekends.
Pharmacists usually work in retail pharmacies or hospitals. Some work in government departments, involved with the regulatory control of pharmaceuticals, and in research and development in pharmaceutical companies.
How to become an Pharmacist?
Entry Level Education
To become a pharmacist you usually have to complete a degree in pharmacy at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Pharmacists must be registered with the Pharmacy Board of Australia, and meet the board's registration standards, before practising in Australia. Before applying for full registration, pharmacy graduates must successfully complete a set number of hours of supervised practice while undertaking an accredited intern training program, and pass a written and oral examination.
Employment of pharmacists is projected to remain neutral.
Increased demand for prescription medications, and greater control of some over-the-counter medications, will lead to more demand for pharmaceutical services. However, the general public is increasingly using online dispensing services for non-specialist medication.
Newer robotics technologies may also replace some human dispensing activities but currently is not widely used.