Ambulatory care pharmacy is one of the six pharmacy specialties that one can be certified in. The certification is provided by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties and can be initiated following graduation from pharmacy school.
An ambulatory care pharmacist provides pharmacy services to ambulatory (mobile) patients. According to the Board of Pharmacy Specialties “this is accomplished through direct patient care and medication management for ambulatory patients, long-term relationships, coordination of care, patient advocacy, wellness and health promotion, triage and referral, and patient education and self-management.”
Certification in this area requires the completion of an ambulatory care residency. This residency provides the experience and training necessary to work with patients in primary care clinics. An ambulatory care pharmacist fills prescriptions for clinic patients, who are not so ill that they need to be admitted to a hospital or other inpatient institution. At the University of Iowa, the core rotations in an ambulatory care residency include:
- Anticoagulation Case Management Service
- General Internal Medicine Clinic
- Geriatrics Assessment Clinic
- Long-Term Care
- Pharmacotherapy Clinic
- Family Medicine Inpatient Service
- Drug Information
- Medication Use Evaluation
- Practice Management and Acute Care
Other areas of study and additional clinical opportunities may be required or optional.
The area of ambulatory care pharmacy is predicted to be one of great growth as the baby boomer generation gets older and requires more medications. This is an important consideration to take into account when one is considering job security issues.
Ambulatory care pharmacy is just one of many specialty areas within the field of pharmacy. Pharmacy schools begin to prepare one for this field, but practice in this area does require a residency, and one can become certified in this field.