What is the job of PharmD students

A story from two cultures

The pharmacist trained in this way can take on responsibility for treating patients immediately after completing their training. In many American hospitals, pharmacists have established themselves as experts in pharmaceuticals; They benefit from the fact that shifting tasks from the very well-paid doctors to the well-paid pharmacists also saves costs and reduces prescription errors. The German trend to reduce overtime for doctors could also be an opportunity for pharmacists in our country to take on more responsibility for drug prescriptions.

Where are the classical pharmaceutical sciences in this training? The subjects of pharmaceutical chemistry, biology, technology and pharmacology are of course still needed, but their subject representatives act mainly as lecturers in the PharmD programs. Since, of course, pharmaceutical research should not be extinguished, a parallel training course was created with the PhD in pharmaceutical sciences, which was given to the German Dr. rer. nat. corresponds to. Doctoral students who have a bachelor's degree in a natural science and are aiming for a scientific doctorate also study here in four-year programs.

This dichotomy has obvious educational benefits, but also profound implications. The American Colleges of Pharmacy are divided into Pharmaceutical Sciences and Clinical Pharmacy. The pharmaceutical scientists hold the basic lectures in the PharmD program and work in the research laboratory in the afternoons. The clinical pharmacists mainly work in clinics and supervise the students' internships. They usually sit in the lecture hall or do their laps in the hospital. They are consistently trained to become experts in the use of medicinal products on humans.

Some American pharmacists already refer to pharmacy as information science because the rapid provision of information about the drug is the focus of clinical pharmacists' activities. Clinical pharmacy makes it possible not only to work in the clinic, but also in the pharmacy, where the majority of American pharmacists work very well paid in large chain pharmacies.

No laboratory internships

While the PharmD student orients his studies to his later work with the patients, he remains unsuitable for experimental activities. Laboratory internships are practically no longer taking place. The research laboratories are filled with PhD students. This is where the researcher training takes place. The accompanying lectures and courses of the PhD students (corresponding to the German PhD students) are more scientific, in-depth and interactive than in the Pharm-D training. They correspond to the content of pharmaceutical science in Germany. The graduates of the PhD program switch to the pharmaceutical industry or to public authorities. However, you will not receive approval as a pharmacist. So the US departments produce two types of pharmacists. Pharmacy is divided into practice and science.

Connection to clinics

One consequence of this development is the close connection between the pharmaceutical departments and the university clinics. Numerous specialist clinics are required for PharmD training, but little contact with the natural sciences. The connection to the medical departments offers opportunities and risks. A number of educational institutions offer parallel lectures for medical and pharmacy students to ensure early interaction between the two subjects. On the other hand, the fear has been expressed that the training to become a clinical pharmacist will degenerate into a kind of narrow-gauge doctor because students learn a lot of medicine, but hardly any scientific basics. Where is the differentiator to the medical professional? The concerns must be taken seriously, since pharmaceutical departments have meanwhile been founded and accredited in the USA, which only offer relatively inexpensive PharmD training and no longer provide research laboratories. Here pharmacy easily becomes an appendage to medicine.