Pharmacy technicians are the skilled person that work under the supervision of senior pharmacists. A few years back, pharmacy technicians were allowed for direct patient counselling, but now it is somehow restricted due to the high-level safety protocols of medical prescription. They assist pharmacists as pharmacists are responsible for multiple ongoing functions & his burden maybe share with the assistance provided by a pharmacy technician.
Here is the brief guidance about the career opportunities for pharmacy technicians, its scope, job description, general descriptions & all the essential information about this profession in a nutshell.
The job description of Pharmacy technicians:
Before moving towards career opportunities for pharmacy technicians, it is necessary to give a clear image of the job description of pharmacy technicians. As we mentioned previously that pharmacy technicians work as the assistance of pharmacists so they can assist in all those functions which are performed by pharmacists according to his guidance & mentioned tasks to formed.
The role of pharmacists in medicine prescription is counselling, making combination & checking interactions of medicines with one other is a very critical task with no chance of mistake & need full attention & concentration. But before prescribing pharmacists, some necessary information about the patient can be provided by a pharmacy technician. So the pharmacy technician can:
- Collect patient details like name, age, weight, etc. that will help pharmacists to write prescriptions.
- Estimate the quantity of dosage form like two tablets per day for continuous three days result in a total of 6 tablets for dispensing
- Proper labelling & packaging.
- Maintain inventory & update pharmacists about the status of medicine or shortage of stock.
- Maintain computerized records.
- Facilitate customer dealings with pharmacists.
- Answer phone calls.
Career opportunities & scope of pharmacy technicians:
Pharmacy technicians are jobholders of approx 420,400 jobs. Employment opportunities for pharmacy technicians are supposed to increase by 7% in the upcoming ten years, which is faster than the average of all other health care professions. Following is the list of places offering most massive employment opportunities to the pharmacy technicians.
- Community pharmacies.
- Hospitals & clinics.
- Pharmaceutical industry.
- Food industry & beverage stores.
Career opportunities with a brief introduction for a pharmacy technician are provided here:
- Chain pharmacy.
- Community pharmacy.
- Hospital pharmacy.
- Nuclear pharmacy.
- Industrial pharmacy.
- Care management.
Jobs related to pharmacy technicians are mentioned as follows:
- Medical assistants.
- Health information technicians.
- Medical transcriptionist.
Now here is an overview of career opportunities for pharmacy technicians. We are going to discuss them in detail here now. Well, this topic will cover career, job opportunities & employment opportunities for pharmacy technicians.
1. Management of inventory:
Any pharmacy, whether it is a retail pharmacy or community pharmacy, needs the critical operation of inventory management. Depending upon the type of pharmacy ( Retail, chain or community), technicians have allocated a variety of jobs like:
- To do ordering of new stock.
- Maintain inventory of medicines.
- Removed the products that are about to expire.
- Monitor the proper placement of new stock at respective places.
Management of inventory includes a lot of tasks that like a stocking, packing, unpacking, note online orders & removing the outdated products.
Moreover, pharmacy technicians should update the senior pharmacist about shortage or overstock of medications, product recall & considering turnover rates are also a technician’s duty. He is responsible for avoiding the overstocking of slow running medications & scheduled order of next stock in such a way that it has listed all the running products to prevent the offensive comments of consumers.
2. Billings and payments:
Insurance billings in retail pharmacies help the consumers to process the claim. It seems more common at community pharmacy then hospital pharmacy. There is a chance that the patient purchase a medicine & late on his physician change his prescription, so he needs to return the medication. Also, there is a probability that consumer face issue in operating any medical device so he can claim to replace or return that device at the community store by the help of evidence provided in the form of bills.
Now here, the pharmacy technician is responsible for acknowledging the consumer about the return/exchange return/exchange policies of that medicine store & facilitate the consumer as much as he can. Another alternative option can be suggested by the technician to the consumer in case if he is unable to return the product according to the insurance policy of companies.
A pharmacy technician may engage himself in the compounding of extemporaneous preparations. Still, a certificate is necessary to perform compounding with USP standards, or European pharmacopoeia compounding is needed when commercially available brands of drugs do not meet the requirements of an individual. Pharmacy technicians can perform compounding of preparations like creams, ointments, mouthwash & pills. As a compounding pharmacy, medicines are customized for many reasons, such as:
- To increase or decrease the strength of the drug.
- Reformulate it to remove any additional excipient that causes allergy to patient.
- To change the flavour of dosage form for children.
- To make it easy for being swallowed by the patient.
Compounding certificates help pharmacy technicians in various settings of compounding like to prepare sterile preparations and IV infusions. This certificate also assures that the pharmacy technician will safely perform compounding duties so the senior pharmacist can utilize more time to counter check the safe preparations of IV infusions instead of explaining the technicians every protocol in detail.
4. Shift supervision:
Most community pharmacies & hospital pharmacies are open all over the day & night. If not, then still there are morning & evening shifts of pharmacists & pharmacy technicians so that they can perform their work with fresh mind & efficiency. This shift change needs proper supervision. A pharmacy technician may be designated as shift supervisors & responsible for systemically starting the morning tasks & at the end of the morning shift, the remaining job must be handover to evening supervisor. In this way, the coordination between morning & evening supervisor minimizes the chance of unfinished works or any mess & confusion.
Shift supervision demands a sense of responsibility, discipline & communication with other supervisors, senior pharmacists & co-workers. It requires more hard work, dedication & passion for serving & supervising the ongoing tasks in the particular type of pharmacy.
Pharmacy technicians are required in the pharmaceutical industry to operate advanced machines with full safety protocols. Under the supervision of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians are trained to run a machine such as a tablet compression machine according to given standard operating procedures generated by that pharma industry.
The machinery & equipment used in the pharma industry is sensitive to the safety of the dosage form. Any mishandling may fail the whole batch of more than 1 lakh tablets or capsules. Therefore it required trained & skilled personnel to operate the machinery with an entirely professional attitude.
Being a pharmacy technician grooms the skills of an individual. Secondly, under the assistance of pharmacists, one can get benefited from his knowledge and experience too. As a career, it is quite a good option as pharmacy technicians have to faceless restrictions, legal issues & responsibilities as compare to pharmacists.
A student of Pharm D from University of Karachi. She has keen interest in all the attributes towards pharmacy especially community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy with an objective to make medications sound and safe. She loves to provide information about Pharmaceutical Analysis and Pharmacology in a best way so people with no medical background can understand.