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Get to know your pharmacist

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By The Staff

Most of us have visited a local pharmacy, and with a pharmacy on nearly every street corner, the profession of pharmacy is not an unfamiliar one. In fact, about 250 million Americans walk into a pharmacy each week, which is nearly equivalent to the entire population.

You may be aware that UK boasts one of the Top 10 colleges of pharmacy in the country, and the largest academic pharmacy building in the world. But have you ever wondered what a Pharm.D. (Doctor of Pharmacy) degree means, or how pharmacists are involved in the health care team in various practice settings? Read on. Did you know ...

--Only 65 percent of pharmacists work in a traditional community setting. Other settings include hospital, mail order, long-term care facilities, federal government positions, managed care organizations and physicians' offices.

--After receiving their doctor of pharmacy degree, pharmacists can complete 1- to 2-year residencies for additional training in a variety of settings from community to heath systems.

--Health care teams that include pharmacists help to reduce health care costs and improve outcomes through better medication management.

--The presence of a pharmacist on rounds as a full member of the patient care team is associated with a substantially lower rate of adverse drug events.

--Pharmacists are the most accessible health care professional. In many rural areas, pharmacists and the health department are the sole sources of health care.

--In 2009, student pharmacists participated in patient care projects that educated more than 16.3 million people in communities across the nation.

How well do you know your pharmacist?

Developing good communication between the pharmacist and the patient can lead to better health outcomes. Take some time during the month of October to speak with your pharmacist about your medications.

Amory Cox is a Pharm.D. candidate at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy and the president of the UK Chapter of the American Pharmacists Association - Academy of Student Pharmacists.