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Work Environments

There are two kinds of practice environments: patient environments and non-patient environments.

1. Patient environments: Pharmacists interact with members of the public in organizations such as:

  • Hospitals
    • Some pharmacists work in hospitals, serving either patients who are admitted to the hospital (“in-patients”) or patients accessing the hospital for less than a day (“out-patients”).
  • Community Pharmacies
    • Most pharmacists find employment in community pharmacies. These are independent organizations that serve the public directly. Canadians often refer to these businesses as “pharmacies” or “drug stores.”
  • Long-term Care and Assisted-living Facilities
    • Pharmacists at these facilities work alongside doctors, nurses and other health practitioners serving residents, who require long-term care for conditions related to aging or disabilities.
  • Family Medicine Clinics
    • Family medicine clinics serve people of all ages. These organizations focus on disease prevention and treatment as well as health promotion. Pharmacists work alongside doctors, nurses and other health practitioners as members of a team. Pharmacists oversee dispensing, drug inventories and packaging. They also educate team members about new drugs and new drug-research findings.
  • Canadian Armed Forces
    • Pharmacists who are Canadian citizens may find work with the Canadian Armed Forces—the military department of the federal government. Pharmacists in this environment provide injury treatment, emergency medicine and intensive-care therapy. They may work at a military base, a medical depot or a field medical unit. In addition to meeting the education and skill levels required of Canadian pharmacists, pharmacists with the Canadian Armed Forces must meet a high physical and mental fitness standard.

2. Non-patient environments: Pharmacists in these work settings would rarely interact with the public. These environments include:

  • Universities
  • Government departments
  • Pharmaceutical companies

Only a small number of pharmacists work in non-patient environments, where they participate in research and education efforts.