5 Important Pharmacist Traits
- Interpersonal Skills
- Skilled in Science and Math
- Good Memory
There are several common characteristics of a pharmacist that are critical for success in the field. Although most people think of pharmacists as the people who work behind the counter in drugstores filling and dispensing prescriptions, they may be found in a variety of environments. For example, they might work in hospitals or in consulting positions. A pharmacist’s job might be in the pharmaceutical industry doing research and development or marketing. Wherever a pharmacist works, these qualities are necessary.
A detail-oriented approach to work is one important characteristic of a pharmacist because the work involves reading prescriptions, dispensing medication correctly and keeping accurate records. Medication errors could lead to serious consequences for customers. Pharmacists must also be aware of drug interactions, side effects and how a drug might exacerbate other conditions. Being detail-oriented will help prevent errors and ensure that medicines are dispensed safely.
2. Interpersonal Skills
Pharmacy Times reports that pharmacists are some of the most trusted professionals. Good skills in dealing with people is another important characteristic of a pharmacist. People often consult pharmacists when they are under stress and not feeling well and may share private information with them. It is important that pharmacists are able to convey a sense of trust and reassurance to their customers. They also need to be able to communicate with them effectively and talk about sensitive issues without making them uncomfortable.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists must attend a doctor of pharmacy program and take two licensing exams. Doctor of pharmacy programs vary in their requirements for entry. Most require two to four years of an undergraduate program and an additional three to four years of study while a few will take people who have finished high school into longer programs. A pharmacist who wishes to specialize or who wants to work in research or clinical pharmacy may need to do an additional one to two years of a residency. It is also important for pharmacists to stay up to date with knowledge about new drugs and new findings in pharmacology.
4. Skilled in Science and Math
An affinity for science and math is a characteristic of a pharmacist. Pharmacists need a background in anatomy, chemistry and physiology because they need to understand how various drugs affect the body. Although they have tools to assist them, including computers and pill counting machines, they must be able to calculate units of measurement as well as fractions and percentages. They also need to use this knowledge analytically.
5. Good Memory
Although pharmacists are not required to carry every piece of knowledge about every drug in their heads, they need to be able to keep track of facts such as common drug interactions, allergies, side effects and nomenclature. They may also need to be cognizant of the needs of regular customers. Knowing what types of drugs are prescribed for various conditions may help prevent errors.
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These are some of the common characteristics of a pharmacist, but the list is not an exhaustive one. A head for business, empathy and computer skills may also be important for a pharmacist. A pharmacist’s job can be demanding, but with these skills in place, it can also be both lucrative and rewarding.
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