Clinical pharmacists work with physicians and other medical staff to provide exemplary patient care. They determine the most appropriate medications for patients, their correct dosage, and specify possible adverse side effects. They are also responsible for dispensing medicines to patients and sometimes monitoring their progress. If you want to contribute to a patient's medication therapy and help them get well, then this is the right job for you. This guide will assist you in understanding detailed information about this job and how to create or modify your resume.
First, let’s take a look at the three resume formats, one of which you’ll choose to create your own resume.
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Clinical pharmacists monitor patient progress to ensure the suitability and efficiency of medications. Some of their other duties are:
Diagnosing untreated health issues and determining appropriate medications to improve those problems.
Instructing patients on how to consume medicines and informing them about dosage and side effects.
Performing medical tests like sugar, glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Collaborating with health care professionals to decide the medication therapy most appropriate for a patient’s needs and conditions.
Providing vaccine injections.
Checking all medications and medical devices to confirm that they are safe and functioning accurately.
Clinical pharmacist median salary
According to PayScale, the basic average annual salary earned by a c pharmacist is $119,253.
Top skills for a clinical pharmacist
A clinical pharmacist is a registered pharmacist who provides comprehensive pharmaceutical care to designated service areas or patient populations to achieve optimal patient outcomes. These positions act as drug information resources and their responsibilities include age- and disease-specific consultative medication therapy evaluation, education, research and participation in quality improvement activities.
Let’s take a deeper look at the skills you’ll need:
- Pharmacology The primary responsibility of a clinical pharmacist is to evaluate, prepare and dispense medication orders. Whether working in a hospital, a patient’s home, or another health care facility, your job ensures appropriate and cost-effective medication therapies. You’ll be working on aspects of patient care, from extracting and interpreting information in patient charts to designing, recommending, monitoring and evaluating patient-specific pharmacy care plans. You must be competent in using both Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic principles and formulas and assessing patient laboratory values.
- Safety It is of utmost importance that you comply with all regulatory standards, facility policies and procedures and other legal requirements while adhering to safety and quality assurance. You must be familiar with and abide by the Drug Enforcement Administration substance regulations. You must also comply with policies regarding the perpetual inventory systems for schedule II narcotics, controlled substances and other medications. For example, you’ll prepare labels, ensure all medicine contains the required cautionary advisory labels and inspect the final medication before dispensing. As part of your safety duties, you’ll have to monitor drug therapy regimens for contraindications, drug-drug interactions, drug-food interactions, allergies and appropriateness of drug and dose. You must also complete notification reports regarding medication errors and adverse drug reactions.
- Supervising and mentoring In this role, you’ll be educating patients, caregivers, staff and other professionals about appropriate medication use and potential drug side effects and precautions. Depending on the seniority level of the position, you can also expect to train, mentor and supervise Pharm.D. candidates, pharmacy students, pharmacy residents, technicians, nurses and physicians. This includes overseeing pharmacy support personnel activities related to the accurate compounding and dispensing of pharmaceuticals, verifying staff activities, and providing input to support personnel performance reviews.
- Documentation and record-keeping As part of compliance with safety standards and ensuring patient safety, you must accurately and thoroughly document all clinical activities and interventions. You must also perform ongoing analysis of interventions to provide accurate and appropriate documentation. These duties include participating in the data collection of drug usage evaluations, adverse drug reactions and pharmacy quality initiatives. You’re also responsible for maintaining appropriate controlled substance records.
- Pharmacology tools and equipment You must be familiar with the proper use and care of your compounding, measuring, labeling and weighing equipment. You’ll also need to manage the service, maintenance, and troubleshooting of medication administration equipment and medication-related equipment used in the management of patients. This includes accurately programming, maintaining, and advising others on the use and maintenance of all medication administration and medication-related equipment used by the staff.
- Teamwork and effective communication As you can imagine, clinical pharmacists must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to explain critical information accurately and safely to patients, families, staff and medical teams. You can expect to work closely with patients, so you must be a team player to prevent and solve problems while achieving quality outcomes, patient safety, customer satisfaction and a safe environment.
Clinical pharmacist education and certifications
DegreeThe minimum requirement to become a clinical pharmacist is a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm. D. ) from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
High Point University, University of Florida, University of California San Francisco, The University of Puerto Rico Science Campus and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center offer an accredited Doctor of Pharmacy degree. To find or confirm if a school near you is accredited, you can consult ACPE’s list of accredited programs by school name. To be accepted into a Pharmacy program, you’ll first have to pass the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). During the first few years of study in Pharm.D., you can apply to an Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE). Then, in your third or fourth year (depending on the institution), you can get into an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) to complement your studies with hands-on experience. Candidates also need to have completed a residency. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has a Residency Directory you can consult to find a program that’s right for you.
Employers also search for candidates with three to five years of job-related experience but may consider candidates with only one to two years under their belt. All clinical pharmacists must also take continuing education courses to keep up with changes in the pharmaceutical industry.
LicensesAfter completing your Doctor of Pharmacy degree, you must get a state-specific license to become a clinical pharmacist. You must pass two exams: The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE). NAPLEX is administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and tests practical knowledge and abilities in pharmacy, whereas MPJE tests your knowledge of state laws and regulations.
Clinical pharmacists must check the requirements to get licensed by the state, as each state has different licensing requirements. You can check out the State Board of Pharmacy for a complete list of each state's licensure requirements.
CertificationMany of the available offerings depend on whether you want to work in pediatrics, a cardiovascular center, oncology or any other specialized field. Some certifications demonstrate different levels of expertise. The most prominent ones are
The Certified Specialty Pharmacist (CSP) certification by the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) recognizes individuals who demonstrate intermediate knowledge and skill in providing competent specialty pharmacy services. Moreover, if you want to be qualified to work in Advanced Clinical Pharmacist roles, you should get certified with the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS). This certification is a gold standard for qualified professionals.
Another certification is the BPS Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS). This one is useful to prove to employers that you provide safe and appropriate use of medications.
The Board Certification in Medication Therapy Management (MTM) proves your expertise in a specific pharmacy specialty. At the same time, the Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery is a certification offered by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) for those who will work with vaccinations.
Meanwhile, the American Heart Association's certifications are beneficial for working at hospitals or with in-home patients. Mainly, the Advanced Cardio Life Support Certification (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS) course, Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course, as well as the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification are some you should consider.
Finally, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has an offering of seven accreditations to choose from according to your professional goals.
Clinical pharmacist resume-writing tips
- Present accomplishments: In the work experience section, write all your accomplishments and results that showcase your knowledge and capabilities. Add numbers and data to prove your work efficiency. Although presenting all your work experiences in figures is impossible, quantify as many as possible. Mention the percentage increase in patient satisfaction due to improved treatment plan, the number of vaccines administered, or the increase in productivity.
- Flaunt your continuing education: Clinical pharmacists must study advances in the pharmaceutical industry by taking continuing education courses. Highlight knowledge to show your awareness of any changes in the industry. For example, programs on continuous glucose monitoring in the management of diabetes or examining the impact of medication errors in the hospitals can demonstrate your expertise with inpatient care.
- Focus on certifications: Sometimes recruiters look for clinical pharmacists specialized in oncology, pharmacotherapy or diabetes. Focusing on your certificates can help you catch the attention of recruiters. Even when hospitals or clinics are not looking for clinical pharmacists certified in specific areas, writing them can give your resume a competitive edge.
- Use keywords: Some organizations use an application tracking system (ATS) to scan resumes. If your resume doesn't have the right keywords, it is highly possible that it will not pass the ATS scrutinization stage and will not even reach the hands of recruiters. The best way to identify the right keywords is to read the job description and website of the organization. When hiring clinical pharmacists, hospitals and clinics generally mention the duties in the job description. Some keywords used by clinical pharmacists are FDA compliance, Hydration Fluids, Compounding, or Therapy monitoring.
What is the career ladder for clinical pharmacists?
Clinical pharmacists aim to upgrade their knowledge and skills to improve the quality of patient care. Therefore, to motivate them, a career ladder is available to offer structured advancement. Usually, career ladders have three to five levels. Each level grants rewards by increasing the research opportunities, freedom to develop new therapy plans, and responsibilities for patient care. Career ladders also prevent the loss of talented clinical pharmacists to managerial positions.
What is the difference between a clinical pharmacist and a pharmacist?
Clinical pharmacists collaborate with health professionals to devise an appropriate medication therapy. They have specialized knowledge of drugs, their dosage and their adverse effects to provide patient care. Pharmacists do not have any direct interaction with health practitioners or contribute to medication therapy. They are responsible for preparing and dispensing prescribed medications. Clinical pharmacists also have to complete one to two years of residency before working, while pharmacists have no such requirements.