A day to recognize and celebrate technicians’ multiple contributions
Pharmacists are widely recognized as the patient’s most accessible health care professional. Yet, behind every good pharmacist is a great (and exhausted) pharmacy technician. Most patients don’t know that the pharmacy technician plays a critical role in a range of health care settings. They see the technician as the person who takes their prescription or refill request, then collects the money and hands the patient a bag containing the prescribed medication.
Pharmacy technicians do so much more.In fact, pharmacists themselves fully understand the importance of a well-trained technician. Beth Lofgren, Pharm.D, BCPS, wrote about the Top 8 Traits of Highly Effective Pharmacy Technicians, a list that includes technical knowledge, time management skills and empathetic patient communication. Given the important objective of any pharmacy – to provide accurate, reliable and safe patient care – it is no wonder that it takes a team of skilled professionals to achieve it.
Pharmacy technicians may work in a variety of professional environments, such as in retail pharmacies, compounding pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, pharmacy supply companies or educational facilities. Below is a brief snapshot of some of these challenging roles.
In a retail store, on the other side of that pharmacy counter, some of the tasks that are not seen by the patient include reviewing prescriptions for all required information (or obtaining it); assuring that the medication is in stock; securing current insurance information and processing claims; meticulously performing data entry; and balancing demand and availability with apposite inventory – all while pleasantly interacting with patients who don’t feel well.
Hospitals and Compounding Pharmacies
Technicians in other health care settings, such as hospitals or compounding pharmacies, perform many of the same duties as in retail pharmacies, but are also specially trained to make custom medications under the direct supervision of a pharmacist. The training may be from basic, non-sterile compounding to advanced, sterile preparations. The technician shares the responsibility to ethically and legally comply with all current regulations in the actual preparation of the medication, as well as the procedural and environmental compliance.
Pharmacy Suppliers and Education
Still another role for the pharmacy technician is to work within companies or organizations whose products or services support the pharmacy industry. For example, at Spectrum Pharmacy Products our technicians work both in Technical Customer Service and in Education. As Technical Service Representatives, our technicians support pharmacy professionals with protocols, formulas and techniques unique to compounding to help meet the individualized needs of a patient.
Spectrum technicians also serve as Compounding Trainers within the Spectrum Pharmacy Institute (SPI), an entity that is focused on both classroom and hands-on compounding training. SPI offers training for a growing list of compounding topics including: Non-sterile (USP795), Sterile (USP797), Hazardous Drugs (USP800), Veterinary, Hormone Replacement Therapy and Pain Management. In school, pharmacists and technicians do not typically receive detailed training in pharmaceutical compounding. While SPI classes are instructed by experts in the respective field of interest, our technicians demonstrate highly technical and detail-oriented compounding techniques in fully-functional ISO 7 & 8 training laboratories.
Regardless of the specific setting, the technician is a part of the pharmacy team – playing an essential role not only to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of the patient, but also to help the pharmacist achieve the best clinical outcome. The technician must excel at performing multiple tasks at the same time without making errors. He or she must identify and resolve problems at any stage in the prescription fulfillment process. These health care professionals must both provide feedback and welcome it from team members, always displaying objectivity and acceptance of others’ views.
So, technicians – take a step back – you are so much more than the person who collects the money and hands a bag to a patient. Look at how much your pharmacist appreciates all the work you do. Take pride in your achievements and your contributions to the team – and, CELEBRATE!
After all, today is National Pharmacy Technician Day!
Grow Your Practice with Spectrum!
In any of Spectrum Pharmacy Institute's pharmacy courses, you will learn from experienced pharmacists with decades of knowledge about each subject. All SPI courses are accredited by the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University or the American College of Apothecaries. For more information on the Spectrum Pharmacy Institute course offerings, visit Spectrum Pharmacy Institute Education.