(1997; 49 pages)
3.2 The role of the pharmacist: “The seven-star pharmacist”
Second, the consultancy agreed that contemporary and future pharmacists must possess specific knowledge attitudes, skills and behaviours in support of their roles. Although these roles go beyond those previously described in official WHO publications and policies, they should be considered essential, minimum, common expectations of national health care systems worldwide. The consultancy summarized these roles in “the seven star pharmacist:”
• Care-giver - the pharmacist provides caring services. Whether these services are clinical, analytical, technological or regulatory, the pharmacist must be comfortable interacting with individuals and populations. The pharmacist must view his or her practice as integrated and continuous with those of the health care system and other pharmacists. Services must be of the highest quality.
• Decision-maker - the appropriate, efficacious and cost effective use of resources (e.g., personnel, medicines, chemicals, equipment, procedures, practices) should be at the foundation of the pharmacist’s work. Achieving this goal requires the ability to evaluate, synthesize and decide upon the most appropriate course of action.
• Communicator - the pharmacist is in an ideal position between physician and patient. As such, he or she must be knowledgeable and confident while interacting with other health professionals and the public. Communication involves verbal, non-verbal, listening and writing skills.
• Leader - whether the pharmacist finds him/herself in multidisciplinary (e.g., team) caring situations or in areas where other health care providers are in short supply or non-existent, he/she is obligated to assume a leadership position in the overall welfare of the community. Leadership involves compassion and empathy as well as the ability to make decisions, communicate, and manage effectively.
• Manager - the pharmacist must effectively manage resources (human, physical and fiscal) and information; he or she must also be comfortable being managed by others, whether an employer or the manager/leader of a health care team. More and more, information and its related technology will provide challenges to the pharmacist as he/she assumes greater responsibility for sharing information about medicines and related products.
• Life-long-learner - it is no longer possible to learn all one must learn in school in order to practice a career as a pharmacist. The concepts, principles and commitment to life-long learning must begin while attending pharmacy school and must be supported throughout the pharmacist’s career. Pharmacists should learn how to learn.
• Teacher - the pharmacist has a responsibility to assist with the education and training of future generations of pharmacists. Participating as a teacher not only imparts knowledge to others, it offers an opportunity for the practitioner to gain new knowledge and to fine-tune existing skills.