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Job Description of a Pharmacy Supervisor
A pharmacy supervisor oversees pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy supervisors hire and interview pharmacists and their aides, then schedule and supervise them once they are members of a staff. Pharmacy supervisors either work in drugstores with pharmacies or health care facilities. Their main priority is managing the packaging and distribution of medicine prescribed by a physician and usually forwarded to them by a pharmaceutical company.
Pharmacy supervisors make sure drugs prescribed are dispensed accurately. They monitor doses, ensuring patients are aware of how often the drug should be taken and warn them of possible side effects. They also offer advice on over-the-counter medications or health programs. Pharmacy supervisors in hospitals might also recommend certain drugs for doctors and nurses to dispense based on a patient’s illness. Pharmacy supervisors and their staff also spend a lot of time researching new types of medications.
Pharmacy supervisors have to be highly organized and know the ins and outs of various illnesses and the types of medication needed to ease resulting discomfort. They have to be excellent communicators as they interact with everyone from patients to members of their staff to physicians and drugstore managers. They should be professional, patient, analytical and prepared to work the odd hours that can come with the job. Pharmacy supervisors should have at least a basic understanding of computers since they are used for billing and to track patient information.
All pharmacy supervisors must receive a PharmD degree, which typically takes no less than four years to obtain. Pharmacy supervisors can work toward these degrees at most four-year colleges. They often also need courses in biology, chemistry, natural sciences and humanities. They must receive a license to become a practicing pharmacist. Licensure normally consist of more classes and exams, proving that those with a PharmD degree are actually qualified to not only dispense medicine but to direct a staff as well.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacists will increase faster than the average for all occupations during the 2008-18 decade, or by 17 percent.
Pharmacy supervisors are often among the country’s highest earners. According to the BLS, they earned a median wage of $106,410 per year in May 2008. The highest 10 percent earned median wages of more than $133,000 per year.
Sam Amico is a reporter for NBA.com and worked as a writer and editor at daily newspapers for more than a decade, covering everything from rock concerts to college football to courts and crime. He attended Kent State University and is the author of the book, "A Basketball Summer." He also is the co-host of a nationally-syndicated television show, "The Wine & Gold Zone."