Every year, millions of doses of medications are dispensed across America. Pharmacists play a crucial role in ensuring patients receive appropriate, safe and effective medication therapy. On this National Pharmacist Day, here’s a behind the scenes look at how HCA pharmacists help patients and their families understand why, how and when to take medications.

Pharmacists work with patients, families, doctors and nurses for patient safety.

In hospitals, medications not needed urgently are reviewed by a pharmacist to make sure there are no drug-allergy interactions, drug-drug interactions, drug-disease state interactions or drug-food interactions. The pharmacist also will verify medications are suitable for you or your family member’s diagnosis, kidney and liver function, weight and age. If the pharmacist discovers a potential concern with any medication ordered, he or she will contact the doctor to talk about what options may work better.

Pharmacists check medications before they leave the pharmacy department.

Certain medications given intravenously, like chemotherapy, are checked by two pharmacists. Pharmacy technicians deliver medications in the hospital using bar code scanning features to track and store medications correctly. Pharmacists round with multidisciplinary teams in the hospital, serving as a resource for drug information and providing drug therapy recommendations, so patients can receive the most benefit from their medications.

Pharmacists talk to patients about their medications.

A pharmacist wants to know the medications a patient was taking prior to coming to the hospital, new medications given in the hospital and those continued at home after hospital discharge. Sometimes a prescription may be expensive and or difficult to find. Pharmacists can help work through some of those challenges to prevent hospital readmissions.

The role of a pharmacist is evolving every day. However, our number one priority remains the same – the safety of our patients. Thank you for recognizing our work in hospitals and communities across the nation on today’s National Pharmacist Day. It’s a privilege to play a role in your healthcare.

Please visit Pharmacy Safety to learn more about what to expect from a pharmacist.