Are you a student aspiring to work in the healthcare industry? If yes, pharmacy technology is one field you’ll enjoy working in. Although the field doesn’t exactly qualify you as a pharmacist, it puts you in a position where you can work with pharmacists and other medical practitioners to care for sick patients. However, you’ll need to have a well-rounded skill set to effectively manage the pharmacy and help patients with their medical needs. This article beams its torchlight on these skills. But before we review the skills, let’s briefly explain the basic duties of a pharmacy technician.
What Do Pharmacy Technicians Do?
Put simply; pharmacy technicians work closely with pharmacists and medical practitioners to ensure the health and safety of their patients. Their job description typically includes locating, dispensing, packing, and labeling prescribed medication for patients. Of course, a pharmacist would still review the medication for accuracy before administering it to the patients. Depending on a pharmacy’s setting, a pharmacy technician may also assist pharmacists in handling administrative tasks like inventory tracking, processing of insurance claims, and filing paperwork.
Scope of practice
By default, a pharmacy technicians’ job puts them in the same work environment as pharmacists, doctors, and nurses. They handle a wide range of tasks within the pharmacy and other medical units. Some of these tasks include:
- Dispensing medication to patients based on the prescription of a qualified care provider
- Preparing new prescriptions for patients
- Processing insurance claims
- Preparing medications for administration
- Tracking medical inventory
- Packing and labeling of prescribed medications
- Repackaging of bulk medications.
What Qualities Make a Good Pharmacy Technician?
Now that we’ve talked so much about the common duties of pharmacy technicians, you are probably wondering whether it is the right job for you. The first step to knowing whether it is the right job for you is knowing whether you have the needed qualities to be good at it. Some of the qualities common among the best pharmacy technicians include:
The core of pharmacy technology is problem-solving. The pharmacy is always filled with many problems, from adjusting printers to getting the labels right to calling insurance companies to follow up on unapproved claims. Thankfully, pharmacy technicians are trained to possess the quality needed to handle these problems. And that’s why you’ll often see pharmacy technicians maintain a cool head amid issues that would easily upset other people.
Attention to Details
An essential aspect of a pharmacy technician’s job is ensuring the safety of customers. Unfortunately, pharmacies and medical units often have things that can jeopardize the safety of patients. Something as small as giving the wrong medication to patients can easily cause significant trouble. Pharmacy technicians have to always be on their feet to ensure that nothing of this sort happens. They must observe the smallest details and correct any abnormality before it becomes a problem. You can’t do this if you can’t pay attention to small details. Therefore, most pharmacies will test how well you pay attention to details before employing you to fill the role of a pharm tech.
If you are the sort of person who takes time to read instructions before doing things, you may have the detailed-oriented mindset needed to succeed in this field.
Always Willing To Learn
The medical field is complex, and nobody knows it all. Working in an always-evolving medical field means that pharmacy technicians must be ready to update their knowledge always. Yes, you’ve earned your pharm tech certification, but it doesn’t stop there. You need to update yourself with changing medical guidelines and pharmaceutical protocols. Of course, you’ll have opportunities to learn new skills to match the new dynamics, but these opportunities often come when you least expect them. Therefore, you’ll need to always be ready to learn new things, or you could face the risk of being pushed out of the field because your knowledge is outdated.
As a pharmacy technician, you’ll face several situations where you’ll need to trust your judgment. For instance, there’ll be times when people will visit the pharmacy when it’s urgent. You should be able to know who to attend to first based on how critical their situation is. Think of an older person struggling to wait in a queue or a very sick person that can’t stand waiting for their turn. The ability to be flexible in filling orders comes naturally for pharmacy technicians. If someone needs to be moved ahead of the queue, don’t hesitate to do it. Communicate well with others to ensure they understand why you need to prioritize the patient.
11 Top Pharmacy Technician Skills to Succeed
To qualify as a pharmacy technician, you’ll need to earn all the relevant educational qualifications. However, beyond the qualifications, you will be required to have certain inherent skills to succeed in the field. So, if you are aspiring to become a pharmacy technician, you must begin to work on developing the following skills. The skills required are classified into two (technical and non-technical), and you must possess these skills to succeed as a pharm tech.
This skill set generally helps for proper coordination around a pharmacy. The volatile nature of medical units means that pharm tech most possesses non-technical skills for interpersonal relationships and administrative duties. Here, let’s review some of these skills:
Working at the pharmacy is typically stressful, especially for pharmacy technicians. You’ll need to stand for several hours, performing multiple tasks with utmost accuracy. Despite all the stress involved, you are still expected to function with a pleasant disposition at all times. This makes stress management a vital skill for anybody that wants to succeed in this field.
Being able to adapt to different working conditions is a skill you should have. As a pharmacy technician, you’ll face several unexpected changes throughout your career. However, it’s your ability to remain industrious and adapt to new procedures when possible that makes you the best man for the job.
As part of your job, you’ll be in charge of stocking shelves with medical supplies, placing printed labels in their corresponding medicine bottles, arranging medicine containers to ensure orderliness, and updating stock data when necessary. All these are tasks that require excellent organizational skills. Therefore, it’s not surprising that HR staff are particular about this skill when employing pharmacy technicians.
The role of a pharmacy technician is at its core a support role. As we’ve discussed, the position requires you to work with pharmacists and other medical practitioners. You can’t function properly if you can’t be a teammate to them. You need to understand group goals and contribute your quota towards achieving them. Therefore, if you are the kind of person who loves to contribute actively to group projects, or you work well within a structured system, pharmacy technology will be an excellent field to go into.
Dependability and reliability
As a pharm tech, you’ll be working in a sensitive environment alongside other experts. To succeed in the field, you are expected to display ethical behaviors with respect to confidentiality and the ability to follow protocols. Pharmacists must rely on your ability to do what’s right when they are not around to supervise your work.
We can’t overemphasize the need for this skill. The pharmaceutical world is constantly evolving, and all workers must stay up to the trends. The job description of pharmacy technicians means that they’ll continuously need to update their knowledge to match changing trends. You must be ready to put in the efforts required to learn new things when called upon.
Like non-technical skills, a pharmacy technician must pick up some technical skills to succeed in their career. Things have changed from what they used to be. These days, the influx of technology makes work easier, and pharmacy technicians must stay up to technological trends to function effectively in their field. You also need to keep in mind that you’ll need to update these technical skills from time to time to stay in touch with the latest happenings in the pharmaceutical world. That said, here are the most common technical skills to have if you intend to pursue a career here.
While performing the duties of a pharm tech, you’ll need to perform a few different tasks on your computer. Various computer applications exist for various tasks, and you must understand how these applications work to use them effectively. Therefore, it’s essential to learn new programs related to the field before becoming a pharmacist technician.
It’s not a surprise that most pharmacy technology training programs include at least one math subject. After all, your knowledge of maths will be handy when you need to fill in prescriptions or measure pharmaceuticals. As a pharmacy technician, you’ll need maths knowledge to order, stock, and package prescriptions, maintain records and perform inventory control. Therefore, it’s crucial to develop your math skills from the start because you’ll need them a lot.
This may not necessarily seem like a technical skill from the start, but it is. Mail order is becoming a thing in the pharmaceutical world, and it means that more pharmacies are adopting the mechanization of medication dispensing. If you work in such pharmacies, you’ll need to know the computer software required to operate the machine. You’ll also be expected to handle simple maintenance procedures and fix minor breakdowns. Therefore, it’s essential to learn how to maintain equipment from the start.
OP Robotics and Barcode Station
Bigger pharmacies usually boast of higher volumes of work. Hence, they typically adopt the use of robotic prescription dispensing systems to handle bulky workflows. To work in such pharmacies, you must know how to effectively use the technology. On the other hand, barcode stations help in the prevention of possible administration errors. The software would scan barcodes to confirm a medicine’s identity during restocking. Knowing how to use the software is a plus for you during job interviews.
Knowledge of how to use TCG packaging machines
This packaging technology benefits patients because it helps them receive medicines in well-organized pouches that suit dosages. Pharmacies benefit from it since it helps to hasten the filing process for patients’ prescriptions. You are expected to learn how simple automated packaging technology works to be successful in your field.
How to Succeed as a Pharmacy Technician?
Working in a pharmacy is a rewarding profession, but it also comes with so many demands. As a pharmacy technician, you need to know how to juggle these demands to succeed in the field. Unfortunately, not many people know what they need to succeed. Here, let’s review some of the things that will help you succeed.
You must have relevant certifications to be employed as a pharmacy technician. In fact, education is one of the pillars to succeed in the field. Therefore, your journey into this rewarding profession starts from your school days. In college, you’ll be able to choose a major that relates to the field. You can also enroll in professional courses related to pharmacy technology.
As explained above, several technical and non-technical skills will help you succeed in this field. You must identify these skills and work towards acquiring them if you are serious about pursuing your interest in pharmacy technology.
The job of a pharmacy technician is stressful. You’ll need to juggle between several activities daily to meet the needs of patients and work colleagues. You’ll soon get tired if you don’t love the job. Therefore, it’s important to develop an intense passion for your role as a pharmacy technician before going into the job. If you enjoy taking care of sick or older people, this is an excellent job for you.
Wrapping Things Up: 11 Top Pharmacy Technician Skills to Succeed
It’s a wrap: a detailed look at the skills needed for success as a pharmacy technician. Success in any job requires relevant skills. Some of these skills are inherent to your personality, while others are gained through education or experience on the job. Pharmacy technicians play a very vital role in the healthcare industry today. Every pharmacy needs a pharmacy technician to take the heavy lifting of a pharmacist’s job. Throughout this article, we’ve reviewed all the skills you’ll need to succeed as a pharmacy technician. We’ve also reviewed some vital information to help you catch up with what the job entails.
If you found this post helpful, you’re definitely going to like our other medical school tips here.