Senior Care Pharmacist Job Description, Career as a Senior Care Pharmacist, Salary, Employment
Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
Training/Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy with geriatric specialization
Median Salary: $106,764 per year
Job Prospects: Very good
A senior care pharmacist fulfills the medication requirements of senior citizens in a very broad capacity. Though they are trained as general pharmacists, those working in senior care have a specialized knowledge and associated experience in geriatric medicine.
Senior care pharmacists not only fulfill prescription medication requirements but they are often involved in the patient’s entire treatment process. Because there is a wide array of different medications that the elderly may be on, it is important that the senior care pharmacist be aware of them all and look for any potential side effects or problems with mixing. These pharmacists often act as caregivers because they may work directly with their patients to ensure that they take the proper medications.
Senior care pharmacists look at the specific medication requirements of their patients and work to find any improvements to their treatment plan. These specialized pharmacists look for and work to eliminate unnecessary medications, and they try to provide the safest and most effective medication plan for the patients under their care. They work in conjunction with physicians and other medical staff to provide effective treatment plans for elderly patients, and it is their job to question anything that seems unusual or potentially harmful. Senior care pharmacists work with their patients to promote wellness, and this is accomplished through the medications provided and their push for a healthy lifestyle.
Oftentimes the senior care pharmacist acts as an advocate for their patients when they are dealing with their treating physician. These pharmacists take a second look at the medication prescribed and work to find a safer and sometimes less expensive route to treatment. A senior care pharmacist may consult with the patient and their family so that they all can provide an effective treatment plan in conjunction with the physician.
A bachelor’s degree in pharmacy provides the educational foundation for this role. It is also essential that a senior care pharmacist has a specialized focus in geriatric pharmacotherapy, which may be accomplished through a separate program or degree. This specialization within geriatric medication helps to prepare senior care pharmacists for the role that they will hold and the special attention to detail they will have to provide.
Training for the role of senior care pharmacist happens on the job as well. Though the educational requirement is important in preparing an individual for a job in this field, working with the elderly and understanding their specific medication needs is also excellent training. It can help if a senior care pharmacist works with somebody more experienced in the field to gain the necessary insight to be successful at this job. Additionally, these specialized pharmacists should attend trainings on new medications or trends within the senior care sector of medicine.
How to Get Hired
The best way to get hired initially is to have the necessary training and education in geriatric pharmacotherapy, as this is a very specialized area. Beyond that, any training or work in the field can be the best route for getting hired.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development
The outlook for the role of a senior care pharmacist fortunately looks very good. Not only is the health care industry doing well in spite of general economic hardships but this job is important with an increasingly aging population. Because a major focus within the health care industry is on the elderly and their medication needs, the role of a senior care pharmacist is quite important. Adding to the likelihood for job opportunities is the fact that many different employers and environments are working to provide this specialized type of care to the elderly. This is good for the elderly population, and certainly a positive for those who wish to enter or work within senior care pharmacy.
There are several different environments that a senior care pharmacist may work within. These specialized pharmacists may work at a pharmacy, through a home care services company, in a nursing home or elderly care facility, at a physician’s office, at a community based health facility, at a hospice facility, or through a holistic medicine clinic. Though the specific environment may change, the similarities across them are these: senior care pharmacists spend part of their day consulting with the elderly patients that they care for, in their own office or in the patient’s house or hospital room, and filling their prescriptions.
Salary and Benefits
Though the average salary for a senior care pharmacist is around $106,764 per year, it can vary quite significantly. The number can go from as low as $100,700 to as high as $112,367 per year, and this varies based on several different factors. The geography that a senior care pharmacist works within, as well as the environment and associated employer can play a large role in the salary earned. The experience that the pharmacist has is often the biggest factor in determining salary. The benefits that senior care pharmacists receive usually include good medical coverage, paid vacation, sick days, and holidays. They may be eligible for tuition reimbursement and often receive a pension savings plan as part of their job.
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