Responsibilities and Functions of Hospital Pharmacists

Hospital pharmacists are engaged in hospital pharmacy services in the public sector. They are skilled in the practice of medicines and dispense prescriptions, purchase, manufacture, and perform a quality test of all medicines used in a hospital. Being members of the healthcare team, they coordinate with medical and nursing staff for better treatment of patients. They help and refer knowledge to patients on their medicines. The responsibilities of a pharmacist vary with the departments and this has been discussed below.

In-Patient Pharmacist Responsibilities

The areas of the in-patient pharmacy department are:

1) Dispensing Area: The responsibilities of the pharmacist in the dispensing area are:

  • i) Policies: He/she ensures that the framed hospital policies and procedures are being obeyed
  • ii) Accuracy: He/she maintains proper control of the accuracy of dosages prepared (particularly for intravenous administration).
  • iii) Maintenance of Records: He/she maintains records of drugs supplied, returned bills of investigational drugs and intravenous admixtures, etc.
  • iv) Storage: He/she has adequate control over the stocked drugs.
  • v) Working: He/she ensures the compliance of all the laws and rules, and that compounding is done by adequate techniques.
  • vi) Coordination: He/she manages all the conduct of the dispensing area.
  • vii) Drug Information: He/she remains updated about the drugs in the hospital in terms of their side effects, therapeutic efficacy, stability, etc.

2) Patient Care Area: This area indicates any site of a hospital where patients are examined. Parts of the patient care area where pharmacists are involved are:

  • i) Coordination: He/she coordinates all the pharmacy services in the nursing unit.
  • ii) Communication: He/she consults nurses and medical staff for medicine administration problems.
  • iii) Technical: He/she shares technical sections giving instructions to the technicians for new procedures and dealing with difficult patients. The pharmacist connects the technician, nursing, and medical staff, thereby ensuring that proper techniques are followed by the technician for drug administration.
  • iv) Supervisory: He/she supervises and re-checks all the prescriptions for their correct entry in the unit dose system. The pharmacist periodically inspects individual patient’s drug administration forms for all doses being administered and charted correctly. He/she periodically ensures that the administered doses are mentioned on the patient’s chart and that the drug charges are correctly calculated. He/she re-examines the missed doses, re-schedules them, and signs all “Drugs not given” notices. He/she timely checks the medication areas for maintenance of adequate level of floor stock drugs and supplies.

3) Direct Patient Care: This relates to any facet of the health care of a patient, like treatments, counseling, self-care, patient education, and drug administration. Parts of the direct patient care area involving pharmacists are:

  • i) Patient’s Medication History: He/she takes down the patient’s medication history and forwards it to the physician.
  • ii) Identification of Drugs: He/she identifies the drugs brought to the hospital by the patient.
  • iii) Patient Monitoring: He/she monitors the overall patient’s drug therapy for its effectiveness, side effects, toxicities, and allergic reactions.
  • iv) Patient Counselling: He/she counsels the patient for self -self-self-administered drugs and discharge drugs.
  • v) Selection of Drug: He/she supports the physician while selecting the drugs, and dose regimens, and scheduling the time for drug administration.
  • vi) Cardiopulmonary Emergencies: He/she gets involved in emergencies, like cardiopulmonary cases.
  • 4) General Responsibilities: He/she provides education and drug information to other health professionals

Out-Patient Pharmacist Responsibilities

These responsibilities are categorized into three categories:

1) Central Dispensing Area: The pharmacists perform the following tasks:

  • i) He/she ensures the use of correct compounding techniques.
  • ii) He/she maintains adequate records and billing for patients’ medication particulars, records of tentative drugs, and records of out-patient bills (charging of services and material), and maintains and prepares all reports.
  • iii) He/she keeps up with the prescription files.
  • iv) He/she maintains the tidiness of the outdoor pharmacy.

2) Patient Care Area: The pharmacists perform the following tasks:

  • i) He/she regularly visits and checks the medication areas in the nursing unit. He/she ensures an adequate supply of required drugs and other articles.
  • ii) He/she identifies the drugs brought into the clinic by the patients.
  • iii) He/she pharmacist records the patient’s medication history and delivers it to the physician’s knowledge.
  • iv) He/she assists the physician in selecting the drug regimen.
  • v) He/she also helps in selecting the right drug products and their entities.
  • vi) He/she is involved in inpatient counseling for the use of medication and preparation for intravenous administration.

3) General Responsibilities

  • i) He/she understands and coordinates the complete pharmaceutical needs of the outdoor service area. ii) He/she makes sure that all drugs are properly managed.
  • iii) He/she takes part in cardiopulmonary emergencies.
  • iv) He/she offers in-service education and training to pharmacists, pharmacy students taking practical training for their diploma or degree courses, and nurses.


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