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What is the role of a pharmacist?

To become a clinical pharmacist, one must undergo professional development programmes and postgraduate training.

Here, we will explain the pharmacist’s role as described by the Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP), before moving on to the two essentials of good clinical pharmacy services (CPS).

Key concepts

The GPP guideline recommends pharmacists take up four roles:

  • Role 1: Prepare, obtain, store, secure, distribute, administer, dispense, and dispose of medical products.
  • Role 2: Provide effective medication therapy management (MTM).
  • Role 3: Maintain and improve professional performance.
  • Role 4: Contribute to improving the effectiveness of the healthcare system and public health.

Role 2 is essentially the concept of providing clinical pharmacy services. There are four functions listed under role 2.

  • Assess patient health status and needs.
  • Manage patient medication therapy.
  • Monitor patient progress and outcomes
  • Provide information about medicines and health-related issues.

The government implemented guidelines rarely encompass all these criteria, and seldom give precise instructions. Thus, it is the responsibility of professional associations to set standards required for GPP.

Successful CPS comes down to 2 key components

These are competent clinical pharmacists, and evidence-based processes.

Clinical pharmacists are specialised in pharmacological knowledge and experience. They are expected to be competent indirect patient care, pharmacotherapy knowledge, systems-based care and population health, communication, professionalism, and continuing professional development, to provide comprehensive medication management in patient-centered, team-based settings.

To become a clinical pharmacist, one must undergo professional development programmes and postgraduate training, such as residencies and fellowships. There are also clinical pharmacists trained in various specialties. Specialties currently recognised by The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (US) include ambulatory care, critical care, cardiology, oncology, geriatric, pediatric, psychiatric, infectious disease, nuclear pharmacy, nutrition support, and pharmacotherapy.

Pharmacists should always apply quality evidence such as drug information resources, published clinical studies or guidelines, and expert consensus advice, to carry out accurate, efficient improvements.

Share and learn:


  • Besides those recognised by The Board of Pharmacy Specialties, do you know of other specialisations for clinical pharmacists?
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Good Pharmacy Practice: Introduction to Clinical Pharmacy Services

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