Pharmacy technicians are taking on more responsibilities to free pharmacists to carry out clinical services,but the role of a pharmacy technician is varied, and the responsibilities are determined by the pharmacy setting in which the technician practices. A pharmacy technician is a health professional who plays an integral role in the pharmacy.

 

Skills and personal characteristics

 

Pharmacy technicians need to be:

  • accurate and methodical
  • responsible
  • able to pay attention to detail
  • ready to refer to the pharmacist when necessary
  • able to understand law and guidelines on medicines
  • able to read and carry out instructions
  • interested in people’s health
  • willing to work with all types of people
  • able to explain clearly to members of the public
  • communication skills including listening
  • good customer skills
  • science skills
  • good manual (hand) skills
  • IT skills
  • organisation skills

 

Under pharmacist supervision, pharmacy technicians:

  • supply medicines to patients, whether on prescription or over the counter
  • assemble medicines for prescriptions
  • provide information to patients and other healthcare professionals.

 

Pharmacy technicians also:

  • manage areas of medicines supply such as dispensaries
  • supervise other pharmacy staff
  • produce medicines in hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry.

 

Where do pharmacy technicians work?

 

Pharmacy technicians work in many different work environments. These include:

  • Community pharmacies (sometimes called retail or high street pharmacy) and hospitals. Most pharmacy technicians work in community and hospital pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical production or sales in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Prisons, primary care organisations, education and training, the military, veterinary pharmacy and pharmacy organisations.

 

In general terms the division of responsibilities can be defined as:

  • TECHNICIANS are accountable and responsible for the technical aspects of both new and refill prescriptions, (i.e. the correct patient, drug dosage form/route, dose, doctor) and;
  • PHARMACISTS remain accountable and responsible for the therapeutic/clinical appropriateness of all new and refill prescriptions and all therapeutic consultation.

Defining Each Role
A pharmacy technician can ensure that this bottle contains 100 tablets of drug ‘x’, and that the information on the label including: name of patient, prescriber, drug and directions are correct, as per the prescription.

The pharmacist must have assessed the patient and authorized that drug ‘x’ is the appropriate medication to take, and counselled the patient on how to take it.

 

 

Clearly understanding technician’s scope of practice and standards of practice is a key step in identifying the best way to integrate these valuable members of the health care team into your pharmacy practice.