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  1. The practice of pharmaceutical care requires the integration of information about individual patients, their medical conditions, and their drug therapies.

  2. The dimensions of the patient that become most important include the personal medication experience, living environment, and physiological status, including medical conditions or illnesses that need to be managed with drug therapy.

  3. The disease information that becomes most important includes the characteristics, prognosis, and natural course of the disease, and the goals of therapy that are achievable with drug therapy.

  4. Pharmacological information that is central to all patient cases includes the characteristics of the drug, its pharmacology, mechanism of action, toxicity, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties, and the effectiveness and safety that can be expected for a patient.

  5. The Pharmacotherapy Workup serves as the conceptual framework to gather, organize, evaluate, and learn new patient, disease, and drug information.

  6. In a generalist's practice, common things are common, meaning that the most frequently encountered medical conditions, drug products, and drug therapy problems represent a majority of the information needed to be mastered.

  7. The most valuable clinical skills you learn are those needed to be reflective in practice—it is the best way to improve yourself as a practitioner.

  8. The pharmacotherapy case presentation has a specific format that facilitates the successful communication among practitioners who share the responsibility for managing medications.

In this chapter, we focus our attention directly on those who wish to become pharmaceutical care practitioners, be they students or pharmacists who intend to change their focus from prescriptions to patient care.

Key Clinical Concepts

The contribution of a pharmaceutical care practitioner is measured by her ability to apply a unique body of knowledge to identify and resolve drug therapy problems for patients.

This unique knowledge focuses on pharmacology and pharmacotherapy and is applied to resolve and prevent drug therapy problems and optimize the patient's medication experience.

However, the mere accumulation of knowledge is not sufficient; the key is applying this knowledge to help patients. Caring for patients and resolving drug therapy problems require that you integrate patient, disease, and drug knowledge, and then apply it to a specific patient. There are often other practitioners such as physicians or nurses who will know more than you do about a specific patient or a disease, but no other patient care practitioner will know more about the drug therapy.

Becoming Familiar with What You Need to Know

Learning all that is required may seem like an enormous task, but there are three basic concepts that will help to make it manageable:

  1. The knowledge that you must learn, integrate, and use in practice can be classified into three broad categories: knowledge about patients, knowledge about diseases, and knowledge about drugs. All three categories of knowledge are equally important; however, your unique expertise will lie in drug therapies. Because you will be using this knowledge to make ...

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