The following guest post was written by Joanne Adam, a certified pharmacy technician. We are grateful to Joanne for sharing her story and helping others to understand how important the role of pharmacy technician has become, especially in our nation’s hospitals.
The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
When I first started out as a pharmacy technician, people would ask me, “What do you do for a living?” and I would often answer, “I am just a pharmacy technician.” When I think of the many changes that have happened over the 30+ years I have been working in as a tech, I certainly need to re-think my original answer!
Over time, I have seen the role of a pharmacy technician, in the hospital setting, evolve from clerk and typist into critical and important member of the pharmacy team. As my role changed, my attitude about my work also changed. I realized that what I did was important and had a direct impact on the safety and welfare on the patients I was helping to care for.
Opportunities to Grow
There are many opportunities for technicians to expand their skill sets, especially in a hospital environment: from stocking automated dispensing machines to repackaging and relabeling medications, from learning to make intravenous infusions to mixing chemotherapy drugs, from shooting IVs by hand to the latest in robotic technology – the possibilities are vast!
While many states don’t require it, getting your certification as a pharmacy technician is a great first step to begin a career in health care. Once you are placed in a job, continuing education builds on that training along with the experience you gain working with other technicians and pharmacists. I’ve taken away many new techniques and procedures from the people that I have worked with along the way.
If I could give some words of advice to someone thinking about becoming a pharmacy technician, I would say, “Learn as much as you can!” There is never a job too small to learn. Also, “Ask questions!” To ask is to better understand how and why something works. Lastly, “Can you show me how it’s done?” If you are shown how a task is done, you have an opportunity to learn a new skill and then you can take that skill with you.
It can be a stressful job and it’s essential to stay focused and get it correct. With a dedication to learn and the guidance of a good pharmacy team, the hard work can be very rewarding.
I take great pride in my job because I want to do the right thing for the patient and for myself. There is great satisfaction in knowing that by delivering a stat medication to a nurse or preparing an IV needed for a critical NICU baby, that I was truly able to help someone in need.
As I think back about my career in pharmacy, I realize I am so much more than “just a pharmacy technician!” I am a certified pharmacy technician and a truly valuable member of the healthcare team.