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Pharmacy technicians are considered by many as an important part of any successful pharmacy service when it comes to ensuring efficient medication therapy and safety of patients. When it comes the service we provide, it can vary from setting to setting, whether it be hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy, mail-order, etc. This “Health career plan” essay fully reveals the topic and personal future plans for this career.
Typically, the responsibilities we, as pharmacy technicians have, are as follows: Collecting information that is necessary to fill a prescription from patients or health professionals, measure amounts of medication for prescription, package and label prescription, organize inventory and alert the lead pharmacist in the case there is any shortage of medications or supplies, accept payments for prescription and process insurance claims, enter patient information, including any prescription taken, into a computer system, answer phone calls from customers, and arrange for patients to speak with pharmacist if patient has any questions about medications or health matters. We work under the supervision of pharmacists, who review the prescriptions before they are given to the patients. In most states, technicians are allowed to compound and make some medications and call the physician for prescription refill authorization. We may also be able to operate automated dispensing equipment when filling orders. In a hospital setting and other medical facilities pharmacy technicians prepare a bigger variety of medication, such as IVs. They do rounds within the hospital, giving medications to patients.
In terms of scope of practice for pharmacy technicians, it can depend on the setting. So, for examples lets look at the scope of practice within the hospital setting and community pharmacy setting. Now, in a hospital setting, the scope of practice expands a bit. Hospital pharmacy technicians still have the same duties and responsibilities as a community pharmacy technician as well as additional duties and responsibilities. Within the hospital, we’re expected to be more familiar with medications, medical terminology, and healthcare processes than a community pharmacy technician. Patients often times are going to have questions they’d like to ask in regard to their medications, doses, and best way that they can administer it. While we can consider it important to stick within the standard scope of practice in this career, we do have opportunities to be allowed or encouraged by our supervising pharmacist to assist patients on a deeper level regarding their medications. In addition to the whole being encouraged or allowed to go deeper in assisting our patients with their medications, pharmacy technicians in a hospital may work closer with healthcare staff and physician to confirm medical information, assessing the risks to certain medication combinations and much more. With community pharmacy technicians they can be found working in local pharmacy chains or drugstores, like CVS or Walmart’s pharmacy center. This is perhaps the most popular due to high availability in jobs and standard environment, being either face-to-face or on the phone. Given the duty to answer questions regarding their insurance, recommended doses, prescribed medications or OTC medication, and more – although expected to refer to the patients to licensed pharmacist when it comes to questions that go beyond the scope of practice. Pharmacy technicians could be required to chat with insurance providers and healthcare providers as well to verify coverage, confirm information of the patients, and more. Being also given the duty of day-to-day tasks, such as filling prescriptions, double-checking medications, receiving and stocking inventory, managing storage, maintaining the equipment, etc.
When it comes to the code of ethics, we have a lot that apply to us in any and all settings, based on application and support of moral obligations, which help in guiding the pharmacy profession in the relationships with patients, healthcare professionals, and society. First and foremost, we must take first consideration in ensuring the health and safety of patients, using our knowledge and skill to the best of our ability in serving others, supporting and promoting honesty and integrity in the profession, including a duty in observing the law, maintaining the highest moral standards and ethical conduct at all times and uphold the ethical principles of the pharmacy technician profession, assist and support our pharmacist in the safe, productive and cost effective distribution of health services and healthcare resources, respecting and valuing the abilities of the pharmacists, colleagues and other healthcare professionals, maintaining competency in our practice and continually enhancing our professional knowledge and expertise, and the list of what we are expected in our principles continues further in as we play a critical role in helping provide the best possible care for patients in any and all settings.
To become a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) or simply a pharmacy technician, all must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent with on-the-job training, but many choose to complete a postsecondary education program such as a certificate program or do an associate degree. Miami Dade College (Medical Campus) offers a career technical certificate that can be completed in 1 year with an approximate cost of the tuition being $3,187.80. Another institution that offers the program is Barry University, assuming the same amount of time as MDC medical campus to complete the program, the approximate cost of tuition (not counting textbook or exam fees) is $1,575.00. When it comes to this field the highest certification or degree you can earn is advanced certified pharmacy technician (CPhT-Adv). In terms of professional certification or registration required in this field, we in the state of Florida must be registered with the Florida Board of Pharmacy in order to work as one. You don’t have to be certified in the state of Florida, but most places like for example hospital settings want that and as time does pass more places are looking into asking you to become certified. It may be a lot, but when you come to think on the benefits financially and all that being certified has to offer, you can see it can help you a lot in opportunities in the pharmacy technician field.
When it comes to availability of pharmacy technician employment, there is about 31,700 openings projected each year, on average, over the decade. Employment in the career is project to grow an estimated 4% from 2020 to 2030, which is slower than the average for all occupations. I couldn’t pinpoint the number of jobs advertised exactly but I can say from what you can find on google search when typing up “job advertisement for pharmacy technicians” you’d see a little section there of job openings from various places. In CVS for example there are 3 job sites looking for a pharmacy technician within 25 miles from where I live in Miami, FL. Now in terms of experience required for the job all say the same thing: must be at least 16 years of age, licensure requirements vary on state and to look into that with the hiring manager or state board of pharmacy website, with preferred qualifications being to have prior experience working in a pharmacy, retail, medical, or customer service setting, prior experience as a pharmacy technician, and national certification from an accredited pharmacy technician certification program approved by specific state regulations (e.g. PTCB, ExCPT, etc.), and the obvious high school diploma or equivalent preference that most pharmacy technician jobs require of you before you begin to work or get certified. In terms of salary a pharmacy technician makes entry level is $16.52 (per hour), $172 (per day), $699 (per week), $2,703 (per month) and $38,177 (per year). With experience or in better terms, certified, it can augment the amount that you get paid entry level wise. Per hour its $16.77, per day $174, per week $787, per month $3,045, and per year $43,002. Having experience or certification adds a few cents or dollars more to what we already make entry level simply. Now advancement opportunities with the job we can specialize in things like medication history, technician product verification, hazardous drug management, billing and reimbursement, controlled substance diversion prevention, immunization administration, and point-of-care testing, with medication therapy management being a new one being a work in progress to be released eventually for technicians to be able to earn for advancement opportunities.
Now for local, state, or national organization for Pharmacy technicians its not simple to look for, the only one I was able to look at was the National Pharmacy Technician association and cost for student members is pertaining to what I believe is pharmacy students and that costs $20 to join the national association. For the pharmacy technician profession, we’re required during every of the two-year recertification cycle to do 20 hours of CEUs containing subject matters mentioned in the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) content outline. Additionally, I’d like to note that 1 hour out of the 20 must be in subject with pharmacy law, and one hour must be about patient safety. Ways that we can earn those 20 hours of CEUs are by doing seminars, workshops, conferences andor other educational programs that consist of the subject matters that are contained within the PTCB certification exam content outline. This could consist of a live, web-based, or recorded presentation, teleconference, virtual meeting, panel discussion, or workshop. Another great place to look into is PowerPak. They offer a lot of options for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and there is a variety of forms like articles, case-based articles, live webinars, on demand webinars, panel discussions, etc. it offers a variety of times up to greater than 2 hours which those tend to be bundles from what I’ve looked up on. And the site categorizes it by topic and there is a free option and premium, premium offering a lot of options for you in comparison to the free options that PowerPak has to offer pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
For the interview, I had the lucky opportunity to interview a fellow classmate of the HSC 0003 Course, Joi Baptiste, who is a registered pharmacy technician in the state of Florida. She’s worked in a variety of settings such as retail, specialty, mail order, and clinical pharmacy. When asking her about how they’d describe a typical day at work, Joi had responded with: “A typical day as a technician would be inventory. We would receive the inventory, label, and shelf the drugs. Depending on if you’re in retail, you would leave out the IVR queue. This is how patients would call in their refills or doctors call in e-scripts. Fill all scripts that come out of the queue. If we don’t have a drug in stock or enough to complete the order, we would make courtesy calls and provide that information to them. Then, of course as you go through the day, you want to add to your inventory list so there isn’t so much at the end of the day. Meanwhile, in between your receiving incoming calls, taking refills, filling, facing receiving fax requests, we also had to keep up with chores, cleaning and the last thing was submitting the order.” Second question I had asked Joi was: “What advice would you give me as I enter the profession?” and Joi had kindly responded with: “Advice would be if you start in retail, stay only for a little while so you gain experience. Then move on to the hospital or maybe a clinical setting. That’s where you’ll achieve the most success.” All this information was interesting to take in from someone who has had the experience as I learn about the career through the pharmacy technician program and prepare for next term where I’ll be doing my clinical rotationexternship in the hospital setting.
In conclusion, I see myself more than likely fitting in with this profession. I haven’t always wanted to be a pharmacy technician, having originally majored in Veterinary Technology before I switched majors before I graduated high school due to just fear of not fitting in that profession and due to mental health purposes. Since I made the switch in early august at 18 years old, I figured I wanted to work in a profession in the medical field, just to see how I liked things and knew I liked working to help others in my community especially during my time with working with animal adoptions and trying to make people’s day and teach them the importance to adoptions and all that we did at the time. At some point in time during the switch, I did doubt myself a bit on whether I’d be seen as a good fit in this field or not, which almost lead me to not make the switch, but in the end of my choice making, I decided to stick through with my first alternative plan in terms of professions I could go into if I had ever switched from veterinary. Miami Dade College has given me the option to get my technical career certificate. After this I am going to register as a pharmacy technician in the state of Florida through the Florida Board of Pharmacy, and plan to study for certification while I work on my externship at Kendall Regional Medical Center in January. Although I had originally planned in my head to get some experience first with a retail setting externship, we had only the options of hospital, I still found myself fitting in very well. I’ve been told by teachers before that I was very detail orientated, had great organizational skills, multi-tasking skills, and was good with working with people when it came to being as helpful and polite as I could even during the most stressful of times. After hearing this from teachers I had in high school which I still am in touch with, I didn’t feel as doubtful anymore. I figured that pursing a career as a pharmacy technician was the profession I wanted to try out and that the medical field is where I belong. To enter the field, I’m planning on first completing the program for pharmacy technician here at Miami Dade College Medical Campus, register with the Florida board of Pharmacy as pharmacy technician, work on becoming certified as a pharmacy technician, look for a job in the retail setting where I plan to work in for a while, then look into transitioning to either a clinical setting or hospital setting where I am sure I may have more success and room for growth in my career as a pharmacy technician. I’ll still be continuing to work on learning about the field while working as a pharmacy technician, and l start taking into consideration if I want to move up and become a pharmacist or try to look at working my way back to Miami Dade College and getting an A.S. in veterinary technology if I still have my desires to complete the course in the future while I work as a pharmacy technician.
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