Chuck DiTrapano, RPh, recognizes the integral role pharmacy technicians have, and their contributions toward managing a successful practice. Joanne Adam, CPhT, offers insight about the potential advancements pharmacy technicians can make in the field.
There is a common misconception that the pharmacy industry is purely product-driven. As a practicing pharmacist, I can attest that this perception is only partially correct. Pharmacy is, and always has been, an information-driven profession. As the profession has evolved over the last several decades, the role of the pharmacist has moved more toward the information side and away from the product side.
Pharmacists in virtually any practice setting are challenged to determine the correct drug to use, the correct dose, and the implications for a patient with underlying chronic illnesses. These changes in pharmacy practice have created challenges and opportunities for support of the practicing pharmacist.
Other professions who have also undertaken these challenges have developed “extenders,” or support personnel to assist them in managing their practice. The pharmacy technician is that extender for pharmacists.
Years ago, anyone with a job in a drug store could call themselves a pharmacy technician. To meet the demand for skilled, knowledgeable technicians, the Pharmacy Technicians Certification Board was established. This group sets practice and competency standards for pharmacy technicians.
In my practice as a hospital pharmacist, I realized that to create efficiency and ensure medication safety, it takes a team. Pharmacy technicians are an integral part of this team. Virtually every medication that I approved for dispensing was prepared by a pharmacy technician. As we worked as a team with very defined roles, it was apparent that I could not and would not want to perform my job without them.