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Clinical Pharmacy Practices

It is easy to get a thousand prescriptions, but hard to get one single remedy.

Clinical pharmacists have extensive education in biomedical, pharmaceutical, socio-behavioral, and clinical sciences. Most clinical pharmacists have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and many have completed one or more years of post-graduate training (e.g. a general and/or specialty pharmacy residency). Many clinical pharmacists also choose to become Board Certified through the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties (BPS) which was organized in 1976 as an independent certification agency of APhA (American Pharmacists Association). A pharmacist may become a Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS), a Board-Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP), Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist (BCNP), Board Certified Nutrition Support Pharmacist (BCNSP), or a Board-Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist (BCPP) through the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties (BPS). There are also subspecialties within the Pharmacotherapy specialty: Cardiology and Infectious Disease. It is denoted as an "Added Qualification" or AQ. In order to obtain one of these specialties, you must first be a Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist and then submit a portfolio to the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties for review to determine if they will grant you the added qualifications.

Within the system of health care, clinical pharmacists are experts in the therapeutic use of medications. They routinely provide medication therapy evaluations and recommendations to patients and other health care professionals. Clinical pharmacists are a primary source of scientifically valid information and advice regarding the safe, appropriate, and cost-effective use of medications.

A more appropriate definition for clinical pharmacy is, "Clinical pharmacy is the branch of pharmacy which deals with various aspects of patient care, dispensing of drugs and advising the patient on the safe and rational use of the drug." In some states, clinical pharmacists are given prescriptive authority.

Basic components of clinical pharmacy practice:

  1. Prescribing drugs
  2. Dispensing and administering drugs
  3. Documenting professional services
  4. Reviewing drug use
  5. Communication
  6. Counseling
  7. Consulting 

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