Schools Currently Accepting Pharmacy Tech Applicants
18 Skills Required To Be a Successful Pharmacy Technician
To be successful in any job one needs to possess relevant skills. Some skills are inherent to a person's personality, while some are gained by educating one self and some are learnt on the job. Playing a vital role in the healthcare industry today, pharmacy technicians need to have a well-rounded skill set in order to effectively manage the pharmacy and help patients with their medicine needs under the direct supervision of a pharmacist. With the advent of technology some skills such as being proficient in OP Robot and Bar-Code Station software which are technical in nature are learnt over a period of time. Before we go in depth about pharmacy technician skills, let us understand the basic duties of a pharmacy technician:
• Being at the frontline in a pharmacy, assisting patients, answering calls and attending to medical representatives.
• Being responsible to check the prescription, process it and dispense the medication to the patient.
• Reporting adverse reactions to the pharmacist or assisting physician.
• Facilitating communication between the patients and insurance company, doctors and nurses.
• Maintaining patient records both in paper and electronically.
• Checking pharmaceutical stock to assess inventory.
To fulfill all the above responsibilities the following pharmacy tech skills are essential:
1. Skills Inherent to a Pharmacy Technician's Personality
As a pharmacy technician you are required to have certain inherent skills which are crucial to the favorable outcome of your career. High levels of integrity and accuracy, attention to detail, dependability and empathetic communication are some inherent skills to being a pharmacy tech.
Attention to Detail and Accuracy: You are required to maintain utmost level of accuracy while processing prescriptions. The slightest error in doing so can prove detrimental to the patient's health. While checking prescriptions, paying attention to any allergies and drug intolerance is vital.
Dependability and Reliability: You are expected to demonstrate ethical behavior with emphasis on confidentiality, realization of professional liability and importance of following a protocol.
Effective Communication: You should to be an empathetic and compassionate listener. As a member of a healthcare team, you should be able to communicate with tact and diplomacy. You should be friendly and interactive with patients and other members of the team.
Problem-Solving: While dealing with patients, co-workers, doctors and nurses, you should have the emotional maturity to solve conflicts that may occur with patients, insurance companies or between co-workers.
Stress Management: A pharmacy can be a stressful place to work, with long hours of standing, performing multiple tasks with utmost accuracy. You are expected to manage stress and function with a pleasant disposition at all times.
Adaptability: As a pharmacy tech you should be adaptable to change. You must be industrious and must display initiative to adapt to new procedures and new job settings.
Continual Learning: Learning the names of new drugs and medical terminology is essential in the ever-evolving pharmaceutical world. You should have an innate ability to learn and retain information.
Organizational Skills: Stocking shelves with supplies, keeping medicine containers in order, affixing printed labels on bottles, keeping stock data well updated are some of the tasks which go into keeping the pharmacy organized.
Collaboration and Team Work: You are required to collaborate with other members and work together as a healthcare team. You should be able to take directions, undertake additional duties and anticipate pharmacists and co-worker's needs.
Proficiency in Languages Especially Spanish and Mandarin: Depending on where you work you might need to know these languages to communicate better with patients. Some placements therefore require bilingual pharmacy technicians, so being proficient in Spanish and Mandarin apart from English is an added advantage.
2. Task Related Skills
With the expanding role of a pharmacy technician in a pharmacy, you are expected to complete several tasks in a day in an efficient manner. From being well versed with pharmacy laws to having the know-how of settling insurance claims, the skills you possess will sail you through these tasks smoothly.
Comply with Laws: As a pharmacy technician you are required to learn, understand and comply with Federal laws. You must have knowledge of legal codes and court procedures.
Efficient Inventory Management: You are expected to know proper storage conditions for drug supplies. You should be able to suggest alternate avenues for procuring supplies and at the same time know how to return expired or damaged pharmaceuticals.
Processing Insurance Claims: Processing insurance claims can be time consuming. You are required to aggressively follow-up with the insurance company and simultaneously keep the patient updated.
Computer Savvy: You are required to be proficient in the use of computers, especially with word processing and data-based software. You should be able to print labels, manage billing, enter patient and inventory data and file online insurance claims.
3. Technical Skills
The technical skills which come to the fore in a pharmacy technician's career are vital to the success of his career. As a pharmacy technician you are expected to know fundamentals of chemistry, pharmacology, medical terminology and mathematical calculations. Besides, nowadays technology is being used to support daily operations at busy pharmacies. From robotics to computer softwares, a pharmacy technician is expected to overlook the automation process. You also need to keep in mind that technical skills need constant updation to keep with the latest happenings in the pharmaceutical world.
Constant Updating of Knowledge: With constant innovations in the pharmaceutical world you are expected to stay abreast with latest happenings in terms of names of drugs, brands and procedures. You should also have thorough knowledge of medical terms, abbreviations and pharmacy calculations.
Maintaining Pharmacy Equipment: In mail order pharmacy where the dispensing of medication is mechanized you are expected to know the computer software required to operate the machine. You are also expected to handle and fix minor breakdowns.
Working with TCG Packaging Machine: This is the packaging technology that benefits patients in terms of receiving medicines in pouches that are organized according to dosages. It helps the pharmacies too as they can increase the number of filing of prescriptions per patient. You are required to learn how to use this simple automated packaging technology.
Preparation for Medical Procedures: You must be able to compound sterile and non-sterile product. You should be able to prepare an IV mixture and reconstitute granular antibiotic into suspension form.
OP Robotic and Barcode Station: In many big pharmacies where there is high volume of work, robotic prescription dispensing systems are used. You are expected to know how to use this technology effectively. Bar-Code Station helps prevent potentially harmful administration errors. The software is used to scan bar codes to confirm the identity of a medication or supply during restocking, item removal and returns. You are also expected to know how to use this software.
Well, to sum it, to become a pharmacy technician and a successful one at it, it's not only the inherent skills but also skills developed with either continuous education or on the job. An aspirant with relevant pharmacy technician skills, for instance will easily find a desirable placement and draw a higher salary as compared to someone who is either not well-versed with the latest pharmaceutical softwares or who is not an efficient multi-tasker.