Infusion pharmacists are specialists in preparing medicines for patients who need treatment via subcutaneous or intravenous methods. Patients who receive infusions suffer through chemotherapy and need strong antibiotics or aggressive pain management. Parental nutrition or hormonal therapy are other reasons to have an infusion. In order to combine and mix the drugs properly, infusion pharmacists need skills and knowledge of such treatments.
- Advanced degree
- Ability to develop good relationships with colleagues
- Excellent work ethic
- Prescribing patients and physicians
Start with completing your degree concentrating in chemistry, math, biology and physics. Work closely with your college guidance counselor and make sure you keep your grades high.
Register with a pharmaceutical school; a pharmaceutical degree (Doctor of Pharmacy Pharm D) is offered by many universities. This degree earns you in-depth knowledge on dosages, drugs and their interactions. The duration of this degree is for 5 years and starts with passing an entrance examination.
The next step is to take the licensing exam, each state has its own licensing requirements for Pharm D graduates. Get in touch with your state licensing board for any further information. Any preparatory work or study you may want to do must be completed before sitting for the examination.
Finish a residency, if you are offered a residency, accept it and focus on infusion therapy.
Get an entry-level experience as a pharmacist. Choose to work in a hospital where infusion and intravenous medicines are prepared for in-house patients, to stay focused on your career track.
While working, you will gather more knowledge and experience about preparing medications, new treatments and drugs interactions for patients who need your expertise.
You will have to complete continuing education credits in order to keep your license as a pharmacist. Ensure you keep track of what courses are available and how many hours you need; the licensing board or employer will be able to refer you to classes and instructors.
Once you have the required experience for the post, go ahead with applying for the infusion pharmacists jobs. Most of the times employers look for candidates who have direct experience or at least a year’s experience working with infusion therapies.
NHIA Home Infusion Therapy Certificate Program
Home infusion providers, through NHIA, have come together to convey the need to meet this educational challenge by developing a national certification program that is helpful for home infusion pharmacists. This initiative will not only help create education and training materials that are useful to pharmacists who practice in all home infusion settings such as independent, national organizations and hospital-based, but also provides an opportunity for pharmacists to be recognized with a certification of completion in home infusion therapy (HIT). With the lack of comparable educational programs in other sectors or academic, this certification program helps provide the necessary training required to all pharmacists who are interested in home infusion practice.