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Clinical Pharmacist Vs. Hospital Pharmacist

Clinical pharmacists participate in direct patient care in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, while hospital pharmacists focus on preparing prescriptions for patients. Continue reading to learn more about the different training requirements and duties for these careers.

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Comparing Clinical Pharmacists to Hospital Pharmacists

Clinical pharmacists and hospital pharmacists are both involved in providing medication to patients. Their scope of duties differs, however, and clinical pharmacists are required to complete additional training. They also tend to earn a higher salary than hospital pharmacists.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)**
Clinical Pharmacists Professional degree; license; residency $115,223 6% (pharmacists)
Hospital Pharmacists Professional degree; license $107,710 6% (pharmacists)

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Clinical Pharmacists vs. Hospital Pharmacists

Clinical and hospital pharmacists are both qualified to prepare medications for patients. They are required to know how different medications interact so that they can determine if a prescribed medication may result in harmful side effects for the patient. Clinical pharmacists spend more time interacting with patients and medical professionals. They may see patients with doctors and participate in assessing the patient and help determine what medications to prescribe. Hospital pharmacists may consult with physicians and other medical professionals, but spend more of their time in the pharmacy preparing medications for patients.

Clinical Pharmacists

Clinical pharmacists must complete a residency after earning a professional degree in their field. It's most common for clinical pharmacists to work in medical clinics or hospitals where they will see patients. They benefit from having good interpersonal and communication skills because interacting with patients and other medical professionals is a regular part of their job. They may work different shifts during the day or night and may also work weekends and holidays. Physical fitness is important since they spend much of their time at work standing.

Job responsibilities of a clinical pharmacist include:

  • Evaluating for untreated health issues
  • Performing medical tests on patients
  • Ensuring patients receive the correct medications
  • Advising patients about health-related matters
  • Tracking the progress of patients

Hospital Pharmacists

Hospital pharmacists work in hospitals and provide medications to patients. They should have good communication skills since their work involves interacting with doctors and other medical professionals regularly. They also need to be able to prioritize their duties because they involve a wide range of tasks. Since they work in hospitals they may be scheduled during any hours, and it's common for them to work rotating shifts throughout the day or night. Attention to detail is important because they must be precise when filling prescriptions.

Job responsibilities of a hospital pharmacist include:

  • Preparing IV prescription medications
  • Providing information to medical staff
  • Ensuring the medication is safe for the patient
  • Filling out paperwork
  • Monitoring and ordering inventory

Related Careers

Another career option for aspiring clinical pharmacists is to become a nurse practitioner, since these practitioners also see patients and prescribe medications. Those thinking about a career as a hospital pharmacist may also be interested in pursuing a career as a biomedical engineer because these professionals can also be involved in making medications.

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