Hospital Pharmacist

Hospital pharmacists distribute medications for hospitalized patients. They dispense the patients’ drugs through medical staff rather than directly to the patient. Hospital pharmacists advise the medical staff about dosages, possible side effects and administering medication to patients.

Intravenous medications and sterile solutions may be made and dispensed through the hospital pharmacist. Pharmacists who work in medical facilities may design personal drug regimens for patients and counsel those patients on the use of drugs after discharge. Unlike drugstore pharmacists, those employed by hospitals may work more flexible hours.

As a hospital pharmacist, tasks could include:

  • Reviewing all patient prescriptions for accuracy and possible drug interactions
  • Keeping confidential electronic records of patient drug therapies
  • Accurately recording all prescriptions dispensed to medical personnel
  • Counseling medical staff about dosage levels, side effects and administration of medicine
  • Compounding, or mixing ingredients for medications, as needed
  • Making sterile solutions to be administered intravenously
  • Designing, monitoring and evaluating drug programs
  • Counseling patients prior to discharge about drug usage
  • Overseeing and training pharmacy students and/or interns

Hospital Pharmacist Degrees

All pharmacists educated in the United States must earn a Pharm.D. degree, which typically takes four years. Prior to enrolling in the Pharm.D. program, a candidate must earn at least two years of specific professional study which includes an emphasis on various sciences.

Postgraduate residency programs of 1 or 2 years are common for Pharm.D. graduates. Hospitals determine the level of the educational requirements for their pharmacists.

Hospital Pharmacist Salary*

In 2008, pharmacist salaries fell between $77,390 and $131,440 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual salary for pharmacists, based on a 2008 BLS report, was $106,410 with an expected employment growth rate of 17%, which is faster than average.

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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