Four Attributes of a Great Lead Technician in Community Pharmacy
by Michelle Hill, CPhT
A great community pharmacy always has strong pharmacy technicians. Among the pharmacy technicians staff, at least one stands out for their aptitude, attitude, attention to detail, and adaptability. That person is the Lead Pharmacy Technician. The Lead Pharmacy Technician is an integral part of a thriving community pharmacy. As pharmacy technicians, we already juggle quite a bit, and the responsibilities of the typical pharmacy technician are still growing. While pharmacy services have expanded in the community/retail setting, so has the need for pharmacy technicians who can go beyond the typical pharmacy tech job description. That is what a Lead Pharmacy Technician does. A Lead Pharmacy Technician has the aptitude to excel, an attitude that adds value, pays close attention to details and is adaptable to changing needs and priorities.
The Lead Pharmacy Technician is a top performer and excels in the community pharmacy while being proficient in the day-to-day tasks of the typical pharmacy technician in a community setting. This also means they are a strong performer in the key performance metrics and indicators. The Lead Technician should meet or exceed benchmarks such as typing speed, accurate prescription translation, and error rates. It is also imperative that the Lead Tech is knowledgeable of policies and practices in their pharmacy. To lead and instruct others, a Lead Tech must know the ins and outs of the pharmacy's policies and procedures.
The attitude of the Lead Pharmacy Technician sets the tone for the entire pharmacy. The Lead Pharmacy Technician must have a can-do spirit. Everyday pharmacy operations bring many challenges, but maintaining a positive attitude is contagious. As the Lead Pharmacy Technician, the other pharmacy technicians follow the Lead Tech's verbal and nonverbal cues, so they must display a positive attitude in every situation. Another component of attitude is being able to collaborate across cross-functional teams. Not only do you have your team in the pharmacy, but in the community pharmacy, there is typically a retail team in a store setting. The pharmacy must work very closely with the other teams, so the Lead Pharmacy Technician must have the right attitude to cultivate solid cross-functional collaboration.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
It's the little foxes that destroy the vine. A great Lead Pharmacy Technician pays attention to minute details and can recognize gaps or needs within the pharmacy. The Lead Tech acknowledges the little things that are so easily missed, and because they are so perceptive, they can proactively address problems that may arise within the pharmacy and improve outcomes. The Lead Tech must also be exceptionally accurate in their work. An excellent Lead Tech pays close attention to the words and tone of voice used by others and their tasks, and they understand the meaning and importance behind their words and their work.
Seasons change. Not only is that true in nature, but also in the community pharmacy. There is seasonality to community pharmacy tasks and priorities. Most community pharmacies typically have allergy season, the summer slowdown, and the flu season. With all these changes in patient and operational needs, the flow of the pharmacy changes as well, based on the needs of the pharmacy during different times of the year. A great Lead Tech can adapt to changing needs and priorities. They do not get stuck on what they have always done in the past; they become a professional at pivoting. Not only does the Lead Tech pivot in pharmacy operations but also their professional career. What is important or professional is that goals may change, and that is OKAY! An excellent Lead Tech adapts and follows what they need as they elevate their professional performance to obtain their goals.
There are many opportunities to lead in the community pharmacy. Still, there is a greater opportunity to become a great Lead Pharmacy Technician by demonstrating aptitude, having a great attitude, paying attention to details, and being adaptable. The Lead Tech sets the tone for a thriving business. There are good Pharmacy Technicians, and then there are great Lead Pharmacy Technicians. Which one are you?