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Clinical pharmacy is the area of pharmacy concerned with the science and practice of rational medication use.

American College of Clinical Pharmacy

I decided to pursue a career as a clinical pharmacist in my second year of pharmacy school. Most of my friends at that time were considering better known professional careers such as doctors, lawyers, nurses, and accountants. I didn’t know much about the roles of clinical pharmacists, but I knew it would require additional training and education as well as lifelong commitment to professional growth and development.

So, what is a clinical pharmacist, you may ask?

We are pharmacists who have made the choice to work directly with patients and their health providers-often physicians-in a collaborative manner. We take care of the entirety of a patient’s medication therapy to improve health and prevent disease. This is done by using a consistent process to assess for medication related problems, create and implement a collaborative care plan, and provide timely follow-up monitoring of medications.

Education and Training

Most clinical pharmacists have a degree in pharmacy. In Canada, this is often a bachelor degree in pharmacy. Many clinical pharmacists will have a doctorate of pharmacy (PharmD), and some clinical pharmacists may have both a bachelor degree and a PharmD. Clinical pharmacists typically complete in-depth learning through programs such as a pharmacy residency program and by pursuing board specialization. We are highly trained and are experienced in a wide variety of medical and pharmaceutical areas, with a focus on medication therapy. Our training focuses on the rational use of medications to optimize the appropriateness, efficacy, and safety of individualized medication therapy for patients.

Five years after completing university and residency program, I have achieved my goal of becoming a clinical pharmacist. It is a fulfilling profession, where I help patients and their providers make optimal decisions about medications.