The practice of pharmacy is a vital part of a complete health care system. The number of people requiring health care services has steadily increased, and this trend will likely continue. Due to many of society's changing social and health issues, men and women in pharmacy will face new challenges, expanded responsibilities, and an ever-increasing growth in opportunities.
Some of these issues include increases in average life span and the increased incidence of chronic diseases; the increased complexity, number, and sophistication of medications and related products and devices; increased emphasis on primary and preventive health services, home health care, and long term care; and concerns about improving patients' access to health care, controlling its cost, and assuring its quality. Because of the large role that medications and their proper use play throughout these issues, pharmacists will play an important part in the future of health care. (Langabeer, J.R., 2008)In a recent study conducted by the Pharmacy Manpower Project (PMP), it was discovered that the shortage of pharmacists is expected to worsen over the next 10 years.
In addition, Money Magazine included pharmacists in their report of the nation's top 10 jobs based on growth, pay, stress-levels and other factors, citing a 25% growth for the profession over the next 10 years.
As society's health care needs have changed and expanded, there has been an increased emphasis on provision of that care through organized health care settings. As a result, an increased number of pharmacists now practice in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, neighborhood health centers, and health maintenance organizations.
As members of the health care team composed of physicians and nurses, among others, hospital pharmacists have a unique opportunity for direct involvement with patient care. The knowledge and clinical skills that the contemporary pharmacist possesses make this individual an...