Female pharmacist shows mom and young girl how to use inhaler.

How COVID-19 Is Empowering Pharmacists

April 13, 2020

By Marc Sweeney, Pharm.D.
Dean, School of Pharmacy
Cedarville University

Due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for more frontline healthcare workers, pharmacists have been empowered by the federal government and most states to meet the growing healthcare needs. Considering that pharmacists are educated in a four-year Doctor of Pharmacy graduate program, they are more than qualified to take up the challenge. I find that public perception of most healthcare providers lags behind reality by about 20 years, which is often based upon television, movie, and news portrayal. Today, pharmacists are trained in patient assessment, clinical decision-making, disease management, and of course, medication expertise. With those skills, continued expansion of the pharmacist role was inevitable.

As the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic mount, pharmacists are quickly being identified as an underutilized resource in healthcare.
Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare provider in the nation and thus, the public has an incredible resource at their fingertips for all areas of healthcare. Many of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains are now expanding services at the local pharmacies to become more like a health clinic. As the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic mount, pharmacists are quickly being identified as an underutilized resource in healthcare.

How are pharmacists roles changing? Regulatory agencies are now allowing pharmacists to expand their prescriptive authority, This includes prescribing chronic medications for patients and ordering lab tests (including COVID-19 tests). Pharmacists are now compounding medications and products where shortages exist. Pharmacists are collaborating with physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to manage patients as a team. Pharmacists are providing services through tele-health electronic platforms. Although COVID-19 has brought significant new challenges to our nation and world, I am encouraged by how the profession of pharmacy is uniquely positioned to serve patients in their time of greatest need.

The Cedarville University School of Pharmacy is equipping its Doctor of Pharmacy students to be on the leading edge of healthcare innovation. Cedarville’s Pharm.D. students are fully prepared to begin a rewarding career as a pharmacist and to use their calling to make a difference for Christ as they serve with excellence and compassion.

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