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Pharmacist Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use They advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection dosages interactions and side effects of medications Pharmacists must understand the use clinical effects and composition of drugs including their chemical biological and physical properties Compounding--the actual mixing of ingredients to form powders tablets capsules ointments and solutions--is only a small part of a pharmacists practice because pharmaceutical companies in a standard dosage and drug delivery form produce most medicines Most pharmacists work in a community setting such as a retail drug store or in a hospital or clinic Pharmacists usually work in clean well-lighted and well-ventilated areas Many pharmacists spend most of their workday on their feet When working with sterile or potentially dangerous pharmaceutical products pharmacists wear gloves and masks and work with other special protective equipment Many community and hospital pharmacies are open for extended hours or around the clock so pharmacists may work evenings nights weekends and holidays Consultant pharmacists may travel to nursing homes or other facilities to monitor patients drug therapy About 1 out of 7 pharmacists worked part time in 2000 Most full-time salaried pharmacists worked about 40 hours a week Some including many self-employed pharmacists worked more than 50 hours a week Pharmacists held about 217000 jobs in 2000 About 6 out of 10 worked in community pharmacies either independently owned or part of a drug store chain grocery store department store or mass merchandiser Most community pharmacists were salaried employees but some were self-employed owners About 21 percent of salaried pharmacists worked in hospitals and others worked in clinics mail-order pharmacies pharmaceutical wholesalers home healthcare agencies or the Federal Government A license to practice pharmacy is required in all States the District of Columbia and US territories To obtain a license one must serve an internship under a licensed pharmacist graduate from an accredited
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