What Do Pharmacists Really Do?

By Jamie Bussin


Most people think that pharmacists count pills and fill bottles. You might be surprised to find out all that goes into the profession. It isn’t just filling your prescriptions. The following is a digest of that upcoming interview. I spoke with Pharmacist Daman Preet Kaur about her experiences working at Walmart.

What’s your favourite part about connecting with your customers? Listening to my customers and understanding what they really want and what their expectations are. They need to talk to someone and I’m talkative you know! I always make sure that I greet customers with a smile. Sometimes we joke around as well.  Making patients feel comfortable during interactions lets them know that the pharmacy cares about their well-being. It creates a feeling of trust. I try to contribute to a friendly environment, not just for the customers but also my peers. 

Can you tell us about your relationship with the customers? My relationship with all the customers is based upon empathy, strong communication and shared decision-making. Each customer is an individual, and they have a right to privacy, confidentiality and dignity.  That is key to my work.  But customers have a role to play too, and that’s where the shared decision-making comes in.  I support customers in caring for themselves to improve and maintain their health. 

How do you help your customers navigate their own care with their conditions and medications? We help them by providing professional services such as preparation of blister packs, extending refills or adapting their prescriptions.  We also provide diabetes support; for instance we help them set up their blood glucose (BG) monitors, chart their BG and look at other parameters like blood pressure.  All of these are key indicators which help to provide optimal care. We provide counseling and we offer to provide follow ups. It helps motivate customers to make and keep health goals when there is a follow up.  

How do you assist caregivers or people supporting their family care? We encounter many caregivers or people supporting their families.  Some care for their older parents or a loved one with a disability.  Others work as  registered caregivers.  Customers who are caregivers are often sensitive to privacy – they want to be discreet when talking about their loved one.  Our confidentiality and consent policies help guide us here. We provide compliance packs/blister packs (all the medicines a patient takes are organized in one package) and Walmart offers free delivery of prescriptions at 200+ locations. This is a huge benefit to patients or caregivers with often packed schedules. 

What are the services/support that you offer that customers might not know about? We offer many services, including but not limited to compliance packaging, immunizations, travel health vaccines and some travel consultations.  As I mentioned, we offer free prescription delivery at over 200 locations. During COVID this was a really important service for seniors or other vulnerable individuals. Walmart also offers curbside prescription pick-up at select locations, and Pharmacists will conduct diabetes clinics and “Wellness Days” throughout the year for patient convenience and health promotion. In some provinces, pharmacists have prescribing authority, including being able to order lab work. We also provide Rapid tests and COVID-19 vaccines and general guidance on over the counter options that can help alleviate symptoms.

 Jamie Bussin is the Publisher of The Tonic Magazine and Host of The Tonic Talk Show.