What is a Pharmacist?
Pharmacists are on the ‘SCARCE & CRITICAL SKILLS LIST’.
Pharmacists are the link between pharmaceutical companies and medical, prescribing practitioners. The main task is to prepare and supply safe medicinal products for the prevention or cure of disease, pain relief etc, in people and animals. They work closely with doctors and veterinarians.
Pharmacists may work in 4 different areas:
- Local, community pharmacies:
The Pharmacists in this field deal mainly with the public and prepare doctors’ prescriptions by reading the document carefully, finding and counting out the right dosages and making sure that drug combinations that the patient is taking is safe. These Pharmacists can also advise patients regarding minor issues and dispense medicines accordingly. They may also deal with small injuries and apply bandages etc when required.
- Cruise Ships:
These Pharmacists are similar to the local, community Pharmacists but on a smaller scale. They will work closely with the ship’s doctor.
These Pharmacists work for pharmaceutical companies and research laboratories and are responsible for the control and production of the various medicines and/or research. They are constantly developing and testing new ones. These Pharmacists may also be involved in writing up reports, or product information brochures for doctors or may even be involved in marketing the product.
These Pharmacists are responsible for dispensation of medicines, surgical materials and instruments and may be involved administrative duties as well.
What does a Pharmacist do?
- reads and understands doctors’ prescriptions
- makes sure that medicine dispensed is exactly what the doctor ordered
- checkis to see if combinations of medicines are safe for patient
- advises patients/public on preventative measures with regard to their health
- assistis patients with minor injuries
- offeris generic (usually local and cheaper) alternatives to prescribed medicines
- manages staff
- orders and stocks the pharmacy with the right amount of product and medicines
- meets with medical representatives to discuss new medicines and technologies
- keeps up to date with new products
- keeps detailed records of patients’ medicines – limiting the possibility of patients becoming dependent or addicted
- educates the public on various issues like flu vaccines etc
Are you . . . ?
- interested in the medical profession?
- interested in chemistry and science?
- passionate about the well-being of others?
- a person who enjoys working with people?
- able to stand on your feet for long periods?
- a person with a head for business?
- a good listener?
How do I become a Pharmacist?
You will need to study a Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) degree at an accredited university.
- SOUTH AFRICAN PHARMACY COUNCIL (SAPC)
All the course/learning programmes that lead to registration of persons becoming a Pharmacist, MUST be accredited/approved by SAPC.
A 4 year, full-time BPharm (Bachelor of Pharmacy), followed by a 12 months practical training.
‘After successful completion of the year of practical training, as well as a pre-registration evaluation, the intern is registered as a Pharmacist, and must do one year of pharmaceutical community service in a public sector facility before he/she can practise independently as a pharmacist.’ – SAPC
- NELSON MANDELA METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY
- RHODES UNIVERSITY
- SEFAKO MAKGATHO HEALTH SCIENCES UNIVERSITY
- NORTH-WEST UNIVERSITY (Potchefstroom Campus)
- TSHWANE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
- UNIVERSITY OF LIMPOPO (Turfloop Campus)
- UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL (Westville Campus)
- UNIVERSITY OF THE WESTERN CAPE
- UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND
- CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
- Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
- To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions.
These are different for each institution but here is a rough guide if you want to do a BPharm. Check with your university of choice for theirs.
- English and Mathematics (NOT mathematics literacy)
- Physical Science (NQF Level 4).
- Life Sciences (NQF Level 4)
Recommended Subject: Computer Literacy (NQF Level 3)
Is becoming a Pharmacist the right career choice for me?