Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Pre-Professional Program in Pharmacy
The pre-pharmacy program at Western Illinois University is designed to prepare students academically for admission into either BS or a doctorate program in pharmacy. Pre-pharmacy students are advised by Jennifer Sandrik. This page is maintained to provide our pre-pharmacy students and prospective students with valuable information such as pre-pharmacy courses and curriculum, admission requirements of various pharmacy schools, Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) information, pharmacy career options, salary range as well as some general information.
About the Pharmacy Profession
Pharmacy is an ancient profession, dating from the time when prehistoric people experimented with plants and minerals to cure various ailments. A pharmacist is often the first health professional with whom patients confer regarding a health question and will likely be the final one with whom patients consult about their medication and dosage.
In the past, a pharmacist's responsibility was centered on the preparation (compounding) of medications for patients. However, the modern-day pharmacist has a variety of roles and professional responsibilities. Some of these responsibilities are:
- consultation with physicians and other health professionals in the process of pharmacotherapeutic decision making
- selecting appropriate dosages for patients
- advising patients about the medication, dosage, possible side effects etc.
In order to excel in their profession, the modern day pharmacist must understand the composition of drugs, their chemical and physical properties, physiological effects of medicinals, pharmacokinetics etc.
Pharmacists are allowed by law to compound medicines and to dispense prescription orders written by attending physicians. Pharmacists should also be familiar with the tests for drug purity and strength.
Because pharmacists must understand several areas of science, their training includes courses in basic sciences such as chemistry, physics and biology.
Pharmacists are employed in a variety of settings. The most common of all is the druggist in the local independently owned store. More and more pharmacists are being employed by chain pharmacies, pharmacies associated with department and discount stores etc. Other venues of employment include health care centers, nursing homes, health maintenance organizations and hospitals. In all the above settings, a pharmacist is directly involved in one on one patient care. A hospital pharmacist will also be involved in providing specialized services such as dispensing nuclear pharmaceutical medicines, providing assistance and information about drug and other chemical poison information, assisting doctors with intravenous therapy etc.
Pharmacists are also employed by pharmaceutical industries which produce pharmaceutical drugs. Pharmacists in such settings will carry out drug discovery research, product development and quality control. Some are employed as medical representatives to explain the use and merits of new products to practicing physicians and vetenerians.
Pharmacists are also employed in federal and state regulatory agencies such as FDA (food and drug administration), Public Health Service etc. Pharmacists also teach in our nations accredited pharmacy colleges.