What is a pharmacist?

A pharmacist is an expert on how medicines work. A pharmacist prepares medicines so that people get exactly the right amount.

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Licensed pharmacists go to college and pharmacy school for at least 5 years. We take a lot of classes in chemistry, math, physics, biology, microbiology and biochemistry. We learn about drug interactions, side effects, treating diseases with medications or lifestyle changes, and how to counsel patients on their medications. The most difficult part is learning how to assess patients with multiple conditions at the same time and select and monitor drug therapy for those patients.

Pharmacists have to be licensed in the states where they work, just like doctors, dentists and nurses do. We have to take continuing education classes to keep up on new drugs and disease treatments. We work in retail pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, research and many other healthcare organizations.

Being a pharmacist is a privilege—in the community and hospital settings, we get to know some of our patients and their families quite well over the years. I enjoy helping people to take care of themselves and to understand their medications. Don't be afraid to ask to talk to the pharmacist if you have questions—that's why we're there.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.