Registered pharmacists (RPhs) are professionally licensed and typically work in a pharmacy environment, often within a retail store, clinic, or hospital. They are generally responsible for filling prescriptions and advising patients on medical precautions, special instructions, and other important information associated with their medications, as well as potential alternatives and generic medications which may be discussed with a physician.
While many are familiar with local pharmacists who simply fill prescriptions, the position of an RPh holds rigorous professional requirements. Registered pharmacists are responsible for ensuring that prescribed medicines do not conflict with other medicines or dietary restrictions, and must help patients understand the ways in which pills, salves, and other prescribed medicines are to be used. They must also be available by phone or e-mail to answer questions about any noted complications, side effects, or other drug interactions a patient may experience.
In many cases, registered pharmacists also hold a supervisory role within the pharmacy and help train assistants and new pharmacy technicians, as well as oversee their work to ensure it meets proper care standards. They may also be tasked with taking inventory for medicines and ensuring proper storage.
To earn the RPh designation, a pharmacist must first earn a doctorate degree in pharmacy, as this is now a requirement to take RPh certification testing. Some pharmacology schools include this testing as part of the curriculum, so those graduating with a relevant degree may become professionally certified in the process. Registered pharmacists typically work in a retail or clinical pharmacy environment; while some retail outlets' pharmacies are open 24/7, those in this position typically work during weekly daytime hours.
Registered Pharmacist (RPh) Tasks
Analyze prescribing trends to monitor patient compliance and to prevent excessive usage or harmful interactions.
Dispense and review prescriptions to ensure accuracy, and compliance with professional, state and federal regulatory requirements.
May collaborate with other health care professionals to plan, monitor, review and evaluate patient effectiveness.
Educate patient on medication use, storage and side effects.
Solicit information from patients regarding past and current medication to prevent drug interactions.