The Top Three Things to Remember as a Pharmacy Technician
by Tiana McGee, MHAPI, CPhT
Working as a pharmacy technician requires a lot to remember for the job. There's memorizing brand and generic names, accurately processing prescriptions from start to finish, reconstituting or compounding formulas, and computing basic math calculations.
You’re also required to manage customer service and execute nursing staff requests. The duties are endless and tiresome at some moments, which can make you wonder how one can retain and do it all.
With all that’s required, becoming a well-rounded technician comes with time and experience. Therefore, you must remember the things that will help increase your effectiveness to yield rewarding outcomes!
So, let me give you my top 3 things to remember as a pharmacy technician:
- Don't take things to heart.
- Give yourself some credit.
- Never stop learning.
Don’t Take Things to Heart
A healthy relationship between the pharmacy technician and a patient will provide better communication, care, and solid trust. We want to encourage our patients to be honest
about their medication regimens.
This helps reveal problems that may be occurring. Yet not all patients will be so forthcoming with information, let alone pleasant in their presentation. You may be exposed to some of the rudest people. They may not give a friendly greeting, they may demand their prescriptions to be ready at an unrealistic time, or even display inappropriate behavior.
Of course, every day is not like this, but pharmacy technicians must always maintain professionalism. You must first remember not to take certain things to heart. Patients don't come to the pharmacy to hang out; they are there because they're ill and many leave the physician's office stressed about their diagnosis. Some will have attitudes because now they must take medication daily.
A technician must not take these situations personally. They understand the "why" behind these patients' behavior and can help you realize that these circumstances are not intended for you. They have nothing to do with you and everything to do with why a prescription is necessary in the first place. Shrug it off, display care, help the patient as best as possible, and move on. If it gets too rough, grab the pharmacist on duty for help. It's never a technician's baggage to carry.
Doing this will smooth out those days that are a struggle to get through. For more information on how to deal with complex patients, check out this blog titled “How to Deal with Difficult Patients”.
Give Yourself Some Credit
Remember to give yourself the credit you deserve!
Some goals would include achieving a perfect percentage on data entry, polishing those skills of checking behind yourself, and being able to look out and catch errors within the prescription process.
Conquering these small victories will confirm a solid path within the profession, and that’s because small wins add up to big ones. Mastering these skills can become advantages you can use for future positions, whether in pharmacy or not.
So, celebrate your accomplishments and be your biggest supporter. Only you know how far you've come!
Never Stop Learning
The third thing to remember is never stop learning. Every day can yield learning a new skill or a lesson.
Just because you’ve mastered the skills mentioned above doesn't mean you've arrived. Becoming fully efficient will take some time.
However, moving at a steadily deliberate pace can lay out a successful career. With expanded opportunities becoming more available for pharmacy technicians nowadays, there are so many avenues you can choose from.
For some, being a technician is a setup to being a pharmacist. In contrast, others can specialize in specific areas of advanced pharmacy.
Furthermore, with a nice variety of credentials available for you to earn, these certifications can increase your level of expertise beyond what you may have initially imagined. Your new skill can land you on another career path because you decided to learn something new.
For more information about advanced certifications, click here or read this past NPTA blog titled “What Certificates Can a Pharmacy Technician Gain to Further Their Career?”
In the end, remember to never take things to heart, give yourself some credit, and never stop learning.
Not too much pressure for you, I hope.
After all, pharmacy is in the top three of the most trusted professions. You, together with other pharmacy personnel, help to make that possible. A pharmacy technician's job may not be one of glitz and glamour, but it’s a job that’s necessary. So, keep these three things toward the front of your mind and watch yourself grow into the best pharmacy professional you can be.