Much more than the white coat

Much more than the white coat

MANY people know that they can talk to their doctors or nurses about matters relating to their health but few know that pharmacists are also a great source of health information.
Pharmacists are experts in medications and have intricate knowledge on how medicines work to treat various health conditions. Pharmacists can tell you what your medicine is for, whether it’s dosed appropriately and if it’s safe to use along with other medications you are already taking.

They guide you to use your medications correctly and safely. They are trained on the side-effects of medicines and how to manage them.
Pharmacists go through an intensive training for years that qualifies and singles them out as specialists in medicines. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking medicine related questions or getting a private counseling session with your pharmacist.

Remember that pharmacists are specifically trained to speak with you about how to use your medicine correctly and safely. They may also be the most accessible healthcare professional for you.
Behind the Pharmacy Counter (and hospital dispensary window)
Pharmacists do more than just fill prescriptions. Among other responsibilities pharmacists:

  1. Offer advice about which over-the-counter medications may be appropriate for you based on your symptoms.
    Evaluate the medications you use for possible interactions, especially when a new medication is added to the mix
    2. Counsel you on how to correctly use your medicine, including answer any questions you may have about the purpose of a treatment, when it should start working, etc.
    3. Work together with other healthcare professionals such as Medical doctors and nurses to resolve issues related to your health
    Tips to help you maximize the value of your pharmacist:
    4. Always remember that the pharmacist has your best interests at heart, and that whatever you talk about remains confidential, they took an oath.
    5. As the pharmacist gives medicines to you, communication between the two of you is not a monologue but rather a dialogue. Therefore, initiate a conversation and ask simple questions, such as: “It is my first time taking this medication—what should I know about it?” or “Tell me, any side effects, and how severe?” or “I’m not sure if I am taking this medication correctly.”
    6. While the pharmacist reads and analysis your prescription, be patient, they don’t intend to waste your time, but they are proof checking to avoid detrimental medication errors.
    7. Let your pharmacist know about any herbal medicines or supplements you use as they may interfere with your prescription or non-prescription medications.
    8. When buying over-the-counter medicines always remember to tell your pharmacist of any allergies you’ve had to medications.
    9. If you’re pregnant, let the pharmacist know and ask about taking medications during pregnancy. Pharmacists can tell you what may be safe or unsafe to take.

Retšelisitsoe Nkhahle is a Mosotho pharmacist based in Botswana. She is pursuing an Msc in Supply Chain Management.

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