Pharmacy

What Is a Pharmacy Degree?

A pharmacy degree prepares students to work directly in patient care as pharmacists. This section of biomedical science specialises in the medicines themselves, the natural and chemical properties behind them, how they are manufactured, how they work in healing the patient and their related dangers and side effects. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the 21st century, with new medicines discovered and placed into circulation every day.

Patients are reliant upon their pharmacists to explain the ups and downs of the medications their doctors prescribe; doctors rarely have the time to give their patients the full education on how to take the medicine and what to expect. This task is often relegated to the pharmacist, and pharmacists become an important part of the patients’ healthcare programme. Without the pharmacist, the patient risks taking his or her medication incorrectly, which in some frightening cases can have fatal consequences.

Students who enjoy working with people, would like a career in the healthcare industry and are strong in the biological sciences and chemistry should consider earning their degree in Pharmacy. This degree will put the student at the forefront of modern medical care, playing an important role in patient care.

Pharmacy Job Opportunities

Pharmacy graduates have several career options, including becoming community pharmacists, hospital pharmacists and research scientists.

Community pharmacists are the pharmacists who work in your local pharmacy, supermarket or healthcare centre. These pharmacists are in charge of selling both prescribed and over-the-counter medications. They dispense and distribute prescriptions, advising patients on the details of the medication and how to take it. Community pharmacists begin earning £21,000 to £35,000, with the option of earning upwards of £40,000 to £68,000 after working 10 to 15 years in the field and earning senior status.

Hospital pharmacists work in hospitals, health centres, nursing homes, hospices and general practitioner surgery centres. Hospital pharmacists are tasked with dispensing prescriptions to in-patients and out-patients, but also purchasing, testing and ensuring the quality of all medicines used within the medical facility. Hospital pharmacists are also responsible for keeping the patient informed about his or her medication. A hospital pharmacist’s salary is a bit broader than a community pharmacist’s salary, ranging from £21,176 to £80,810, when working as a pharmacist consultant.

Research scientists work in the lab researching, analysing, developing and testing pharmaceuticals for approval for production and distribution to the public through their doctors. These scientists are tasked with not only developing new products, but also educating the doctors who prescribe them and the people who use them. This job is well-suited for pharmacy graduates who wish to stay in the lab and develop the medications, rather than fill the prescriptions. Research scientists earn £18,500 to £60,000 or more, depending on where the scientist works and how much experience he or she has.

Pharmacy Curriculum

Pharmacy students will study a curriculum emphasising biomedicine and chemistry. Students must be proficient in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics to successfully complete the pharmacy curriculum. Coursework includes classroom and laboratory work. Pharmacy students will also fine-tune communication skills, as they will be expected to work one-on-one with patients, advising them in layman’s terms of the medications they are taking and how to take them safely and effectively.

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