The duties and responsibilities of pharmacists in a chemists

Most pharmacists work in chemists and provide advice and preventive care in addition to dispensing prescriptions. Pharmacists are in the top ranks of the "most trusted professionals," according to Gallup polls. The governing body for the profession is called the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

Dispense medication

The primary responsibility of a pharmacist is to safely and properly dispense medication to patients within the regulations of the RPSGB. Because of the possible dangers of pharmaceuticals, pharmacists cannot legally delegate dispensation to subordinates. However, pharmacy technicians can help prepare prescriptions. After receiving verbal or otherwise authorised refill instructions from physicians, pharmacists consult with patients to determine if there are any other possible conditions that may influence the medication's effect.

Records and personnel management

Pharmacists must record all the details of each transaction, including the date, time, amount of medication and the purpose of the prescription. Not recording this information makes the pharmacist vulnerable to legal action if the patient reacts negatively to the medication. Pharmacists maintain confidential patient medication records and may use that information when consulting with the patient's physicians, nurses or other health care practitioners. These records are important for reference purposes to prevent dangerous drug interactions. Pharmacists may also be responsible for the hiring and management of employees like technicians and medical sales staff in the chemists shop.

Community building

Pharmacists build relationships with patients over time and monitor their overall health. It is important for a pharmacist to have a good rapport with patients to properly assess their health needs. Pharmacists also give preventive care advice to patients who do not need a prescription but may need to purchase over-the-counter medicine.


Some chemists shops, especially large chains, like Boots, participate in statewide and national flu and H1N1 vaccination efforts. Pharmacies that participate in vaccination campaigns are vital in helping to prevent the spread of disease. Pharmacists at large chemists may also give vaccines for tetanus, pneumonia, shingles, hepatitis B and meningitis.

Continuing education

Even after obtaining a registration with the General Pharmaceutical Council, pharmacists are required to participate in accredited continuing education over the course of their careers. Continuing-education options include classes at hospitals, industry conference workshops, online and distance-learning courses and clinical training.

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About the Author

Lauren Miller has more than 10 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her articles on technology, small business and legal topics have appeared in magazines, newspapers and trade journals. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and is an avid gardener and sports fan.

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