CLINICAL PHARMACIST AND ITS IMPORTANCE
Pharmacy profession has entered doctor’s clinics and hospitals as the “clinical pharmacist”. Clinical pharmacy is a branch of pharmacy where the pharmacist role is to provide patient care. Clinical pharmacist is an important part of the healthcare team. The pharmacist works in coordination with the doctors for the better patient healthcare. They have some very specific roles which aim at assuring patient safety. Some of the roles are as follows:
1. Patient medication history interview
2. Medication order review
3. Patient counseling regarding safe and rational use of drug
4. Adverse drug reaction monitoring
5. Drug interaction monitoring
6. Therapeutic drug monitoring
7. Participating in ward rounds
8. Providing drug information at the drug information and poison information centre
The roles of the clinical pharmacist mentioned above shall be described in detail in the forthcoming blogs. But for now let us discuss the academic qualification required for a clinical pharmacist. The basis qualification required in U.S is Doctor of pharmacy (Pharm D) degree. During this course the students are trained extensively in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, sociobehavioural, and clinical sciences. The clinical pharmacist after the completion of the bachelor’s course can undergo one or more years of post graduate training of general or specialty pharmacy residency program. The options available after Pharm D are many, a clinical pharmacist can choose to become a Board certified Pharmacotherapy specialist (BCNP), a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP), Board certified Nuclear Pharmacist (BCNP), Board Certified Nutrition Support Pharmacist (BCNSP), or a Board certified Psychiatric specialty (BCPP) through the Board Pharmaceutical specialties (BPS) which was organized in 1976 as an independent agency OF APhA (American Pharmacists Association). There are other sub specialties such as cardiology and infectious diseases. These are termed as added qualifications. In order to acquire them one must first be a Board certified Pharmacotherapy specialist and then submit a portfolio to the board of pharmaceutical specialties for review. A well developed system for the clinical pharmacy education unlike India. However things are expected to change in India with the advent of the Pharm D course in some pharmacy colleges.
The clinical pharmacist can work in private or government hospital or can practice independently as pharmacy practitioners. It is highly paid and well respected profession in the developed world like U.S, Europe, Canada, Australia etc. Even in the developing countries like Bangladesh, UAE, and African country the clinical pharmacist is a well known figure in the healthcare system. But the scenario in India is a bit different, clinical pharmacy is still in its rudimentary form and the profession is not well recognized. However the conditions are improving slowly in some parts of the country because of the effort made by private organizations like ACPI.