Pharmacy technicians are the essential staff members who work with pharmacists to get medical prescriptions out to customers. Pharmacy technicians are trained healthcare professionals who handle the behind-the-scenes work of running a pharmacy and the frontline work of interacting with customers, while the pharmacist focuses more on direct patient counseling and overseeing the pharmacy. Becoming a pharm tech can be a great way to learn if working in a pharmacy is the right path for you. Some people go on to become pharmacists after starting out as a pharmacy tech.
The Essential Role of Pharm Techs
While the pharmacist is the coach of the pharmacy, the pharmacy techs are the critical team players who keep the place running. Some key responsibilities that pharm techs handle throughout their day to help the pharmacist include measuring medications, packaging and labeling prescription containers, collecting customer information and entering it into the computer system, organizing inventory, interacting with the public, and answering phone calls. Pharm techs also refer customers to the pharmacist when the customers have more complex questions about medications.
In a hospital pharmacy, pharm techs typically work less with the public and more with other healthcare professionals. In a hospital pharmacy, they will fill prescriptions for those medical professionals, may compound medicines for customized prescriptions, and deliver medications around the hospital, along with other typical duties such as entering patient information into a computer database and handling insurance information.
Customer Care Skills
Fifty percent of pharm techs work in retail pharmacies, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. A big part of helping the pharmacist in a retail setting includes using your customer care skills. You may work with seniors more than other age groups, and they might require extra care, including navigating their possible hearing or memory issues or language barriers. Part of the job is knowing when to refer the customer to the pharmacist.
As a hospital pharm tech, you work more closely with the pharmacist to ensure the hospital pharmacy runs smoothly rather than directly with customers. You assist with preparing drugs, filling prescriptions, taking inventory and ordering supplies, and filling out hospital paperwork. Fewer pharm techs work in hospital settings (about 16%) than retail settings, but it could be the right setting for you if working more directly with medical professionals sounds appealing.
Interested in a career working alongside pharmacists? Consider the Fortis pharmacy technician training program. Visit our website for more pharm tech information or call today!