It’s time to rethink what your pharmacist is to you
Here are 7 reasons why you should be proud to be a pharmacist:
1) We are accessible.
Did you know that patients see their community pharmacists up to 10x more frequently than they see their family physicians? With over 41,000 licensed pharmacists working in 10,000 pharmacies across Nigeria, we are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals for Nigerians. Pharmacists are also generally available without appointments, and in the evenings, on weekends, and on holidays when seeking other care is more difficult
2) We are trusted.
Pharmacists consistently rank as one of the most trusted professions in Nigeria. 93% of Nigerians have a positive impression of pharmacists and believe that pharmacists play an essential or important role in Nigeria’s healthcare system. Most Nigerians trust pharmacists to provide advice on medications (96%), management of common or minor ailments (93%), management of chronic diseases (90%), healthy lifestyle changes (90%), and vaccinations (87%).
3) We are doing more for patients than ever before.
Although every state’s and local government is different, pharmacists across the country are able to deliver a broader range of services compared to just a few years ago.
4) We improve the health of patients.
Pharmacist-led interventions and services improve the health of Nigerians, such as increasing the likelihood of patients quitting smoking and improving vaccination rates, like the annual influenza shot.
With extended adapting and/or prescribing authority, pharmacists improve the health of patients even further. When pharmacists have the ability to prescribe for minor ailments, the condition improves with symptom resolution in 81% of patients. With prescribing authority to manage chronic diseases, pharmacists help patients achieve better control, such as improved blood pressure control, improved glycemic control and more patients reaching LDL targets.
5) We provide value to the healthcare system.
Pharmacist-led services and interventions improve access to care, reduce wait times and alleviate pressures on the healthcare system, and decrease emergency room visits. These improvements to the healthcare system ultimately helps save the healthcare system money.
6) We are healthcare leaders.
As pharmacists are one of the most accessible and trusted healthcare professionals, we play a leading role in finding solutions to some of the key challenges facing our healthcare system today. Pharmacists are leaders in addressing issues such as the opioid crisis, improving mental health care, increasing immunization rates, deprescribing, and reducing the overall burden on the healthcare system.
7) We save lives.
By being the first point of contact with the healthcare system for many patients, pharmacists have unique opportunities to help patients in a number of situations.
Patients come to pharmacists for advice on OTC products and supplements.
Patients are finding it difficult to make appointments to see their physicians on the same day, and to avoid long wait times they seek advice from their pharmacist. When one patient visited her pharmacy because she didn’t want to go to the hospital after being stung by a bee and was experiencing difficulty breathing, her pharmacist immediately recognized the severity of her symptoms and calmly gave her an epinephrine injection.
Pharmacists have the knowledge and scope to help patients in emergencies. When a patient was found unresponsive in the bathroom due to an opioid overdose, the pharmacist knew she had to administer naloxone to him.
While you may not have been so directly involved in saving a patient’s life, we do so everyday as the last line of defense for patients receiving medications. You may not be a hero on every prescription you check, but there are definitely those where you have helped protect a patient by catching an error, drug interaction, or therapeutic inefficacy.