Pharmacy technicians assist licensed pharmacists in dispensing medications based on the customers’ or health professionals’ prescription. They are often found in hospitals, pharmacies, and even drug stores in grocery stores.
What is a Pharmacy technician
Pharmacy technicians serve the role of a patient advocate who check and double check if the prescription is correctly filled, cater to the medical, personal and social needs of the patients according to their pharmacy care plan, and work with the patients’ healthcare providers to ensure that their prescribed pharmacy care is met.
Primary Responsibilities of pharmacy technician
There are several important responsibilities that pharmacy technicians must fill for them to do their job well. These include the following:
- Receive the patients’ prescription and fill or refill them, after ensuring that the information is accurate and complete
- Store and secure the medications properly
- Answer the phone and respond to the patients’ or health professionals’ requests and questions
- Fill bottles with prescribed drugs and mark them with the right labels
- Help customers by answering their questions, referring them to a licensed pharmacist to get the medication information that they need, or find items for them
- Get the right price for filled prescriptions
- Maintain work areas and equipment and sterilize glassware used at work following prescribed methods
- Organize patient profiles, including their typical medications
- Monitor inventory, label, and count medications, supplies, and chemicals in storage, and enter data into the computer
- Receive incoming supplies and stock them properly, verify their quantity against the list of orders, and notify supervisors when the inventory reaches a critical level that requires more stocks
- Transfer drugs from vials to sterile syringes
- Mix the right amount of drugs or nutrients to the customers’ intravenous solutions, while maintaining the sterile conditions of the surroundings to get some intravenous packs ready, under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist
- Follow the progress of robotic machines, supply them with medicines that will be dispensed into the right containers, and mark those containers
- Attend to the medical insurance claims forms and information of the customers
- Mix medications based on written prescriptions
- Man the cash registers
- Calculate charges for the medications and equipment prescribed to hospital patients
- Send medications, supplies, and equipment to the patients, surgery, or nursing stations
- Label the medications, supplies, and other items with the right price
- Maintain home healthcare products, equipment, and supplies
- Prepares reports
Necessary Skills for pharmacy technician
It is also important for pharmacy technicians to have the following skills while performing their job:
- Data entry skills
- Good communication skills
- Organizational and time management skills
- Ability to work with a team
- Flexibility in meeting the needs of the customers
- Great attention to detail
- Ability to present information to the customers clearly
- Ability to work with healthcare professionals
- Strong people skills
- Computer literate, especially in using Microsoft Office
- Strong math skills
- Ability to stand for long periods
- Pinch or pick even the smallest tablets with their fingers, and hold or grasp items with their hands
- Ability to test the temperate, shape, texture or size of an object with the fingertips
- Can push or lift objects that weight up to 10 pounds
- Clear vision, with the ability to distinguish colors
Check also Pharmacy Technician educational requirements and training.
Pharmacy Technician vs. Pharmacist
The following areas can be used as points of comparison between the professions of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists:
- Education. Pharmacy technicians may only need a year for their training, while pharmacists need at least six years to get a degree.
- Knowledge. Pharmacy technicians need to know how to take orders, fill prescriptions, transfer medications, prepare labels, explain how drugs interact, and more. On the other hand, pharmacists study these things and more, as their courses include biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and other advanced science subjects.
- Tasks. Pharmacy technicians receive prescriptions, talk to doctors, fill prescriptions, prepare labels, and give prescription drugs. They also monitor the inventory, process payments, pay the bills, and perform other administrative work. On the other hand, pharmacists check filled prescriptions, prepare medications, and recommend to patients about the right drug to use.
Responsibilities. Pharmacy technicians must ensure the quality of their work, while pharmacists are held responsible for the work of their technicians and the operations of the pharmacy.