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  1. The philosophy of practice is the most important concept of a professional practice, but the most difficult to grasp because it is the only component that is not tangible.

  2. A philosophy of practice is the set of values that guides a practitioner's behavior to be ethically appropriate, clinically accurate, and legal. It defines the rules, roles, relationships, and responsibilities of the practitioner.

  3. A philosophy of practice is specific to a practice, not the practitioner. A practitioner's philosophy of life is different and separate from the practice philosophy.

  4. The philosophy of pharmaceutical care establishes the purpose for the practice that is to meet the social need to control drug-related morbidity and mortality by managing medications well.

  5. The professional responsibilities defined by the philosophy of pharmaceutical care are to identify drug therapy problems, resolve them, and most importantly, prevent them from occurring in patients.

  6. The philosophy of pharmaceutical care states that these responsibilities will be carried out in a patient-centered manner using the caring paradigm that has been defined by the professions of medicine and nursing. This paradigm requires that the practitioner comprehensively assess a patient's drug-related needs, that he develops a care plan that can address these needs, and that he follows up to determine that the desired outcomes are achieved and no harm has been done.

  7. There are standards of professional behavior that determine if a practitioner is applying the philosophy of practice in practice. These standards should be met each time a patient is cared for by the practitioner.


All professional patient care practices (e.g., medicine, nursing, dentistry) have a philosophy of practice that serves as the basis for all that occurs in practice. This philosophy of practice guides the patient care process and the practice management components of the professional practice. The philosophy is the most challenging of the three components to grasp because it is the only one that is not tangible, it can only be seen in the behavior, attitude, and work of the practitioner. The philosophy of practice reflects the professional values that the practitioner holds—the values that guide his every day behavior and decision making in practice. As the philosophy of pharmaceutical care practice is new to pharmacists, we will spend time describing the meaning and importance of it in practice.


Definition A philosophy of practice is the set of values that guides behaviors associated with certain acts—in this case, those of pharmaceutical care.


A philosophy defines the rules, roles, relationships, and responsibilities of the practitioner. Any philosophy of practice, which is to be taken seriously, must reflect the functions and activities of the practitioner and also critically provide direction toward the formation of a consistent practice. How a practitioner practices from day-to-day should reflect a philosophy of practice.

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Key Clinical Concepts

A philosophy of practice helps a practitioner make decisions, determine what is important, and sets priorities over the course of the ...

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