Wednesday , 28 June 2017
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CAN YOU BE REPLACED AS A PHARMACIST?

CAN PHARMACISTS BE REPLACED?

When it comes to healthcare and patient’s health there are lots of professionals who

contribute. We have doctors, nurses, dentists, lab scientists etc. We also have us,

pharmacists. It’s easy for a practicing pharmacists to live an automated life. Everyday can

seem routine. You meet very similar cases daily. I have interviewed some pharmacist who

have admitted that the bulk of their work is dispensing. Innovators are creating machines

and artificial intelligence to replace pharmacists. There are robots that dispense, and refill

prescriptions, and some even detect errors. Some pharmacists in the UK and US have lost

their jobs to these robots. It’s painful to think that we could be replaced, but the reality is

every profession is at risk of being disrupted by technology, even pharmacy. With technology

evolving we’ll need less human factor for operations. As pharmacists we need to brace

ourselves for this coming future and become more innovative in the way we make ourselves

indispensable.

Pharmacists need to embrace the personal touch that the profession has. Become more

connected with your patients. We should explore all the additional service that we can

provide for our patients asides dispensing. We are supposed to be drug experts, we were

trained to see drugs differently from anyone else, so let us use that knowledge. When we

interact with our patients lets us counsel them effectively and personally. Let them know that

they met a pharmacist that day. We can extend our services to drug monitoring and

reporting, local and community research and data compilation. If you work in a community

or hospital pharmacy you need to use that opportunity to gather data and observe trends in

your patients and their medications and report your findings. We can also be more

integrated in our care and provide a holistic approach to patient care, that’s looking beyond

the drugs. We should also be communicating with our patient’s doctors and providing

important feedback and information.

Pharmacist have been put in a box of dispensing for so long, we need to break free. I gave a

career talk to SS 3 students in a school, and I was surprised to discover that they thought a

pharmacist’s only job was dispensing. I had to educate them that we did much more than

that.

I know it is inevitable that technology would develop to play more roles in our profession,

but we need to actively carve out new sectors and function for ourselves and our profession.

By: Pharm. Nkechi Oti

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