Role of the Pharmacist on the hospital

A pharmacist’s role in a hospital might appear straightforward. Simply assess the patients in their care and dispense any drugs that are deemed necessary by the doctors, right? Certainly not.While the delivery of medication is a major part of the job, the role extends far beyond this, as they are seen as a core member of the hospital team, when it comes to delivering patient care.Hospital pharmacist jobs are unlike community pharmacy, prison pharmacy or primary care pharmacy in many ways. So what makes a hospital pharmacist’s job so different?

Responsibilities : The key responsibilities of a hospital pharmacist include:

Medicine Management

A key role in a hospital pharmacist’s job is determining which form of medication best suits each patient. Each decision must be made in a timely and efficient manner and requires significant input from doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Hospital pharmacists will often monitor the effects of the medications they prescribe and counsel their patients on the effects of the drugs.Another aspect of this role is to recommend administration routes and dosages, all of which are dependent on an individual’s needs.

A source of information

A hospital pharmacist is often a great source of advice for patients. They can also be called upon to recommend safe combinations of medicines or solutions to specific patient problems. Hospital pharmacists can offer information on potential side effects and check that medicines are compatible with existing medication. They will often also monitor the effects of treatments to ensure that they are proving effective, safe and appropriate to the user.

Monitoring drug charts

As hospital pharmacists are required to work closely with other members of staff, such as physicians, nurses and dietician, it is critical that information is passed on in a way that is clear to understand. While this might seem simple, performing hand-overs between shifts has the potential to make this aspect of the role a little more complicated. Luckily, drug charts provide a vital source of information and act as an efficient method of communication between hospital pharmacists and other members of medical staff. It is critical that hospital pharmacists monitor these charts and ensure that the correct medication is being provided to each patient. Such information may include which form of medication a patient requires, with options including tablets, injections, ointments or inhalers. How the medication should be administered must also be communicated. Discharging patients

Discharging patients

is another important role. It is the duty of a hospital pharmacist to keep track of which patients are being discharged and inspect the discharge summary. This requires the pharmacist to inspect the patient’s drug chart to ensure that the medication prescribed matches that contained in the discharge summary. It is then the responsibility of the pharmacist to dispense the correct medication. Many hospital pharmacists are also qualified to prescribe medication, however, this does not apply to all those in the profession.

Keeping up to date

As with any healthcare job, hospital pharmacists are expected to remain up to date with all aspects of medicine. This includes their usage and any new developments that may occur. In order to do this, it is essential that hospital pharmacists use electronic databases and read research papers. These provide invaluable data that enables pharmacists to learn more about new drugs before recommending that they are purchased by the hospital. Utilizing these resources on a regular basis will allow hospital pharmacists to remain an excellent source of pharmaceutical advice.

Beyond the ward

Of course, hospital pharmacist duties can extend beyond the ward too. Hospital pharmacists are responsible for monitoring the supply of all medicines used in the hospital and are in charge of purchasing, manufacturing, dispensing and quality testing their medication stock along with help from pharmacy assistants and pharmacy technicians. The role can extend to manufacturing medicines when ready-made preparations are unavailable.


Hospital pharmacists are a valuable commodity. Once fully qualified, a hospital pharmacist can impart their knowledge of medicine to other members of healthcare staff. Patients may also benefit from this wisdom, particularly pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those with chronic conditions affecting their heart, liver or kidneys. For cases that offer a greater degree of complexity, hospital pharmacists are required to use their adept communication skills to gather more information on a patient. Once these facts have been obtained, they are expected to come to a qualified decision over the best course of action. Factors such as medical history, lifestyle, existing medication and beliefs of the patient, as well as their ability to understand and follow an individual treatment plan, are all important factors when it comes to dispensing or prescribing medication.

Lawk Hadi

Lawk Hadi

KPSA’s Member