In this era, Pharmacy is a health profession. The term ‘profession’ is defined and explored in pharmacy studies but essentially it relates to a higher degree of responsibility and accountability; pharmacists are accountable to a regulatory Council that seeks to protect the patient and public. We try to instill in our students the principle that the patient is the first and greatest priority to the pharmacist. Otherwise, pharmacists might best be described as the medicines expert, and pharmacy as the bridge between the pure sciences and the patient/public.
There are many fields of practice in Pharmacy but the major routes that pharmacy graduates follow are Community Pharmacy, Hospital Pharmacy, Industry/Manufacturing, Wholesale and Academic Pharmacy. These different fields will demand different competencies depending on what skills, knowledge and attitudes are required.
The opportunities after studying the Bachelor of Pharmacy Honours degree are huge and some choose not to enter into the profession but to use their degree to undertake a career in a related area such as the pharmaceutical industry, research, business management etc. However, with a great shortage of pharmacists in Namibia, in the wider SADC region and generally in the world, the job opportunities – as well as career satisfaction – are excellent. Speak to most pharmacists and you will find a hard-working but satisfied professional.
Within the profession of pharmacy the pharmacist is not alone. In Namibia, the law provides for not only the pharmacist but other supportive cadres including the Pharmacist’s Assistant (currently trained in the Ministry of Health).