oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - What role does the clinical pharmacist play in the neonatal intensive care unit? : review

Volume 81, Issue 7
  • ISSN : 2221-5875
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1017



Pharmacy has evolved over several centuries from the traditional role of dispensing and compounding a physician's order, to include modern day services, such as patient care. The underlying philosophy of clinical pharmacy is pharmaceutical care. This is a patient-centred approach which addresses all possible pharmaceutical interventions in the context of a fully integrated multidisciplinary plan of care. The most effective pharmaceutical care is achieved when pharmacists become part of the clinical team caring for patients. Clinical pharmacists are not currently part of ward staff in South Africa, as seen in the USA or the UK. This may be because of human resources and an inadequate number of trained clinical pharmacists. This has an impact on the effectiveness of the pharmacist, as he or she should be based in the wards so as to become an effective member of the healthcare team. A high-impact unit that would benefit greatly from pharmaceutical care is the neonatal intensive care unit, which has been shown to be highly vulnerable to medication errors, and in which a clinical pharmacist could play a role in decreasing medication errors.

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