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Pharmacy managers compound and dispense medications to patients in accordance with physicians' stipulations. In addition to physicians, medical directives come from dentists, physical therapists and other authorized medical practitioners. Pharmacy managers often share operating duties with registered pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, outpatient pharmacy managers, pharmacy informaticists and pharmacists in charge, also called PICs.
A pharmacy manager typically oversees the work of subordinates, ensuring that employees perform tasks in accordance with corporate policies, industry practices and safety rules. The manager combines effective communication skills with analytical dexterity to ensure that personnel uphold ethical and professional values in day-to-day activities. These include advising patients on the most appropriate dosage for medications and recommending alternative medications after discussing with physicians. Equally important, pharmacy supervisors engage in hiring and termination activities along with periodic appraisal processes. As such, they are the go-to people when it comes to selecting, retaining and promoting highly performing pharmacy personnel.
A pharmacy manager's operational functions are diverse. Managers review prescriptions to ensure accuracy, verify the necessary ingredients and evaluate their suitability. They provide specialized services to help patients manage conditions such as diabetes, asthma and smoking cessation, and they advise customers on the selection of medical brands. Pharmacy supervisors also maintain records such as pharmacy files, patient profiles and charge file systems. They plan, implement and oversee procedures for mixing, packaging and labeling pharmaceuticals, and they teach pharmacy students serving as interns.
Regulatory responsibilities remain the purview of pharmacy managers, especially when it comes to ensuring that patients receive medications in accordance with physicians' prescriptions. Managers take subordinates under their wings, teaching them the ropes of the profession and explaining why regulatory compliance is cardinal. The most important regulations to which pharmacy managers must conform include U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines, Department of Health and Human Services rules and Occupational Safety and Health Administration directives.
Pharmacy managers ensure that subordinates use the tools of the trade efficiently. Proper, monitored use of these tools prevents occupational hazards and accidents. Under the tutelage of managers, pharmacy personnel use tools and equipment such as ampoule-filling machinery, laminar flow cabinets and stations, multiple-channel well scintillation counters and vertical air flow laminar hoods. Pharmacy supervisors also monitor the use of medical radiological shielding screens, such as lead transport shields, vials and radiation shields for syringes.
Education and Compensation
Employers consider the successful completion of a doctor of pharmacy degree as the best preparation for a pharmacy manager position, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to the Pharm.D. degree, most pharmacy supervisors pass a series of examinations to obtain a license, including the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam. As of 2010, a pharmacy manager earned an average annual salary ranging from $103,121 to $129,418, according to the job data portal Payscale.
Marquis Codjia is a New York-based freelance writer, investor and banker. He has authored articles since 2000, covering topics such as politics, technology and business. A certified public accountant and certified financial manager, Codjia received a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University, majoring in investment analysis and financial management.