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Pharmacy/Can I still be a Pharmacist?

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Question
Hi Nanaz, my name is Bianca and I am 17 years old and about to be a senior in high school. Over my junior year I have been considering becoming a pharmacist and I know I need to be strong in chemistry and math.

I took AP Chemistry last year and received a 1 on the the actual test, but an A over all in the class. Also because of scheduling conflicts next year, I won't be able to take organic chemistry. Will this effect me becoming a pharmacist in the future?

Also, could you tell me any other jobs a pharmacist does? I know the basic, filling prescriptions, but I wanted to know if there's any other things that pharmacists do.

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply to my question.

Answer
Dear Bianca,

   You are correct when you state you need to be strong in math and chemistry to be a pharmacist.  Do not worry about your AP Chemistry grade.  You can take organic chemistry another time; it should not affect your becoming a pharmacist in the future.   I have met pharmacists who have flunked general chemistry or organic chemistry in college and passed at a later time.  Not all pharmacists got A's in high school science either.   It is important to get good grades in college for admission to Rx school.

As a pharmacist, you have to monitor for drug interactions with other drugs, food, drink, lab tests, etc.  You have to monitor patient lab work and catch the doctor's errors in dosing.  You have to deal with doctors, nurses, patients, and insurance companies.  You have to research questions asked of you.  You monitor the pharmacy interns and technicians.  You attend meetings discussing what medications to put on formulary vs non formulary for hospitals/ long term care facilities.  You have to monitor drug inventory and comply to federal and state laws for the practice of pharmacy.

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Nanaz Khosrowshahi

Expertise

Being a pharmacist, I can answer questions on medications. This includes how drugs work in the body, drug interactions, drug side effects, warnings and precautions to take when using certain medications, dosage forms and strengths, management of overdosing, storage of medications, drug administration, contraindications, and drug indications. I am able to guide them on lab work that needs to be drawn and monitored while on certain medications. I am able to help patients save money when purchasing medications by directing them to cost-effective therapies. I am able to answer questions on federal laws governing pharmacy practice in the United States. I am unable to answer questions legally as if I am diagnosing the patient's disease or illness. For example, if a patient stated he had upper flank pain, I am unable to say he definitely has a urinary tract infection. However, I am able to direct the patient to the correct next step, which is to call his physician with such a side effect.

Experience

I have been a licensed pharmacist since 2007, holding licenses in CT and MA. I have a PHARM.D from an accelerated pharmacy school program. Currently, I work at the Hebrew Home and Hospital in West Hartford, CT as a pharmacist. I am a well-rounded pharmacist, with experience in long-term care, IV home infusion, retail, hospital, and hospice. I serve as the pharmacy unit coordinator for Mass Dispensing Area #31 in CT, where I am called upon as a volunteer pharmacist in case of public emergencies, such as anthrax threats. I helped run the swine flu vaccine clinic in 2009. I am on the Editorial Advisory Board for Pharmacy Today, a publication of the American Pharmacists Association. My position on the board runs for three years. Every month I make suggestions and offer ideas that would help improve the magazine. I have undergone extra training to administer vaccines to patients, which is training that only a certain percentage of registered pharmacists in the country have.

Organizations
American Pharmacists Association 2007

Education/Credentials
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester, MA- PHARM.D 2007 University of California, Irvine- BA psychology 2001 cum laude

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