Pharmacy Practice Faculty Publications


A Contemporary Perspective on Pharmacy’s Traditional Strengths

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Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association







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OBJECTIVE: To present a framework for recognizing, appreciating, and applying the specific skills used during the processes of medication order screening and therapy monitoring in daily practice.

SUMMARY: The health care system in which the profession of pharmacy serves is undergoing significant change. The profession is continually reacting to this change. Recently these reactions have included a shift in focus from the medication order processing skills all pharmacists possess to such things as medication prescribing, clinical pathway development, and formulary management. Although some of these activities have merit, we believe that the disregard of pharmacy's traditional strengths applied to medication order processing may damage both patient care and the system in which we practice. Renewed focus must be applied to the development of practice models that include the application of unique pharmacist skills (e.g., optimizing drug doses, safety, routes of administration, and compliance) as integral components. Variances in knowledge and training among pharmacists may result in differences in the level of service provided to a given patient. However, all pharmacists are equipped to provide unique professional services at a level that has demonstrable impact on patient care.

CONCLUSION: Pharmacists are uniquely skilled in ensuring the safe and effective use of medications. The authors believe that the specific skills applied during the processes of medication order screening and therapy monitoring can and should be incorporated into daily practice. Failure to do so will deprive patients of optimal care and pharmacists of professional satisfaction. We encourage pharmacists to recognize and develop their unique, traditional strengths, and subsequently allow these strengths to provide the health benefits for which they were intended.


Pharmacists, pharmacy, stregnths, professional practice


Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association now known as the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association