Pharmacy Technician is one of the more popular training programs at ACHT, partially because of the increasing demand for pharmacy services in California and the rest of the world. But what’s the difference between a “pharmacy tech” and a pharmacist? What does a pharmacy technician do, anyway?
Pharmacy technicians make sure that pharmacists, patients, and visitors can interact smoothly in pharmacies. Pharmacies stock large quantities of medications, and mix-ups can be dangerous or even life threatening, so they need to be clean, organized, and staffed with responsible people. Here’s what it’s like to be a daytime pharmacy technician in a mid-sized pharmacy.
The Pharmacy Technician Talking to Patients
Most people don’t realize it, but one of the pharmacy technician’s most important jobs is customer service. You’ll need to be able to pick up the phone, speak with patients, and answer their questions. When appropriate, you’ll direct them to the pharmacist. At times, you’ll also deliver medications to patients and departments; often, you’ll be the first thing they see when they come to get their medications. If you can greet them kindly, you’ll do well – a smiling face is sometimes the best medication.
The Pharmacy Technician Around and About
Around the pharmacy, you’ll have all kinds of responsibilities. Sometimes, they’ll be administrative – making sure filled prescriptions have been recorded, supply and stock have been accounted for, and pharmacists’ prescription orders have been filled.
Sometimes, you’ll need to ensure the organization and safety of the medications in the pharmacy. You might count pills and fill prescription bottles, ensure that medications are stored in their proper places (and at the correct temperatures), or affix prices to prescriptions. That means that you’ll need to know quite a bit about the medications you work with. You’ll need to be able to tell the difference between some medications just by looking at the pills, and you’ll need to be able to identify medications by their names as well.
Most importantly, you will make sure that when patients leave with medications, they’ve left with something that’s safe to ingest. All pharmacies have health, safety and infection-control standards, and you are responsible for their maintenance. You should be organized, because one misplaced medication could compromise a person’s health.
Being a pharmacy technician is about self-motivation, because you need to know your responsibilities and perform them without being asked. But it’s also about teamwork. As a pharmacy technician, you’ll work every day with a group of people who are committed to making it as easy as possible for people to get the medications they need, and you’ll get to know those people well. Over time, your experiences will make you into an understanding customer representative as well as a helpful, pleasant person to work with. To most people, medications are like mysterious potions. But as a pharmacy technician, you’ll know about medications and what they do.
Curious about ACHT’s training program? We love talking to prospective pharmacy technicians – give us a call, and we’ll gladly answer your questions.