The Pharmacy Technician helps the Pharmacists provide medications and other health care products to patients.
- The Pharmacy Technician primary objective is to assist the Pharmacist in preparing medications for patients.
- The Pharmacy Technician does duties like counting the pills that go into a bottle of prescribed medication or prepare labels for the medication.
- The Pharmacy Technician does many administrative duties in order to help the Pharmacist.
- The Pharmacy Technician is usually trained on the job but most employers like to have their Pharmacy Technician pass the state test and become certified after a certain length of training time.
The Pharmacy Technician normally does duties like answering the phone, stocking the shelves, cleaning the counters and operating the cash register. The duties may vary according to the size of the Pharmacy. In some cases the Pharmacy Technician receives prescriptions manually from the patient while in other cases they pull the prescription from the fax machine or off the computer. In any case they must present the prescription to the Pharmacist who determines what the medication is and how much is to be given to the patient. Afterwards the Pharmacist may permit the Pharmacy Technician to administer the medication to the patient. In many situations the Pharmacy Technician counts the pills that go into the prescription bottle and prepares the label with instructions for the patient.
Preparing medication is not always a matter of just counting pills sometimes the Pharmacy Technician must weigh, pour, and measure and even mix combinations of medicines for the patient. Afterwards the Pharmacy Technician must select the type of container that the medication is going to be placed into and then they prepare the label making sure that all pertinent information is on the label. The patient must be given instructions on how to take the medication, what to expect if they have an allergic reaction to the medication, how often to take the medication, name of the physician who prescribed the medication, along with the name of the Pharmacy who prepared the medication. These things are very important to the patient and they are vital to any attending physician if an accidental overdose is taken or the patient shows signs of being allergic to the medication.
Pharmacy Technicians who work in retail or mail order pharmacies need to be very careful of the state laws and to what they are actually permitted to do. It is very easy to fill a prescription without thinking especially if you have been doing it for years, however, some medications must be filled by a licensed Pharmacists. The Pharmacy Technician must make sure that all those types of prescriptions are completely prepared and filled by the licensed Pharmacist on duty. When a Pharmacy Technician works in a hospital, nursing home, or assisted-living facilities the duties may vary to that of those who work in the retail stores. In these types of facilities the Pharmacy Technician may deliver the prescription to the patient. The Pharmacy Technician may read the patients chart and prepare the medication that the patient needs to take. When this happens then the Pharmacy Technician must copy all information on to the patient’s profile. The Pharmacy Technician may also assemble a twenty-four hour supply for the patients in the facilities. The Pharmacy Technician must make sure that each dose is packaged and label separately. Afterwards then the Pharmacy Technician must put each package in a locked cabinet until the Pharmacist checks for accuracy and only then may it be given to the patients.
The Pharmacy Technician may receive on-the-job training but most employers prefer that they take educational courses that will permit them to be tested and certified. The formal training helps the Pharmacy Technician to advance in the position. Ironically there are few state laws that determine what courses the Pharmacy Technician must take and there are no Federal laws that govern the Pharmacy Technician. The military does train people and certify them as a Pharmacy Technician and there are some hospitals that train and certify Pharmacy Technicians. In most cases the Pharmacy Technician is hired initially by a Pharmacy that is located in a retail store and trained by the Pharmacist to do the job. When they show that they can and have the skills to be very accurate then the Pharmacists will try to help the person become certified as a Pharmacy Technician.