15 Key Competencies that Every Pharmacy Technician Should Have
A Pharmacist is a regulated profession. You can only access and practice it if you have professional qualifications from certified and competent authorities. Such regulation helps improve quality and maintain pharmacy standards in healthcare delivery.
Hence, all pharmacy subfields, including technicians, must possess relevant qualifications and skills. You’ll need to be well-rounded with skills ranging from task-related to personality-related ones.
Here are some of the relevant competencies that every pharmacy technician should possess.
1. Pass the PTCB Practice Test
You must first pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) practice test to become a pharmacy technician.
But, most first-time candidates hardly pass the final PTCB exam because of poor preparations. However, you can pass the PTCB practice test the first time by using reliable online resources. These resources have comprehensive study guides and exam simulations that effectively prepare and help you pass your first-time pharmacy certification practice test.
Passing your PTCB practice is just one way of showing your professional competency. We recommend being a member of pharmacy associations in your state to further access seminars and training while in practice.
2. Legal Compliance
You are bound by federal, state, and local laws while discharging your duties as a pharmacy technician. Hence, you should be knowledgeable and comply with various legal codes that guide your profession.
For example, you should fully understand the code of ethics of pharmacy technicians.
3. Inventory Management
You should possess effective inventory management skills. You must be aware of the right storage conditions for pharmaceutical products.
Besides, you should be able to recommend other supply sources while also knowing the best ways of returning expired or damaged medications.
4. Computer Proficiency
You’ll need specific computer programs for:
- Tracking patient history;
- Monitoring patient’s current prescription;
- Detailing composition of medications;
- Filing online insurance claims;
- Billing and payment management;
- Printing labels, etc.
Therefore, you need to be proficient in specific computer programs including MS Office and other data processing applications.
5. Insurance Claims Processing
It can take some time to process insurance claims. You must actively follow up with the insurance company while also keeping the patient informed.
Personality Related Skills
Even the slightest mistake in prescription can severely affect your patient’s health. You’ll, therefore, need to be highly accurate with your prescription.
Additionally, you need to have incredible attention to detail to avoid missing any drug intolerances and allergies that may be detrimental to a patient’s health.
You must be dependable. A strong foundation of trust and credibility is critical in assuring your reliability.
Hence, you’ll need to be ethical and confidential with your patient’s information while being aware of your professional liability. Pharmacy technicians’ legal handbook and code of ethics should help you better grasp the protocols.
8. Good Communication
As a pharmacy technician, you’ll work with various stakeholders and partners, including your patients and pharmacists. It demands being an empathetic listener. Besides, you’ll need to be tactful and diplomatic with your communication as you interact with the rest of the healthcare team.
For patient interactions, you must be nice to understand and help them correctly. Besides, you must switch between technical language when with your colleagues and layman language when communicating the same information to your patients.
Overall, you’ll need strong written and verbal communication skills to ensure you offer excellent customer service and establish great work relations with other stakeholders.
9. Stress Management
Just like many sections of healthcare delivery, working at a pharmacy can be stressful. It can lead to burn-outs due to:
- Long hours of standing
- Pressure to execute duties with absolute accuracy
Thus, you’ll need to find ways to manage workplace tensions. Also, you’ll have to maintain a positive attitude despite how stressful the environment can get.
Adaptability should be a vital part of your stress management routine. You must adjust your hospital or pharmacy settings accordingly. The best way of being adaptable is by being diligent and showing initiative. Also, you create exercise and time management plans to handle your workplace stress better.
10. Problem Solving
You should also be good at conflict management and resolution between co-workers, patients, insurance companies, and other stakeholders. To do so, you’ll need
- Swift identification of underlying problems,
- Effective implementation of solutions, and
- Emotional maturity to handle conflicts.
Problem-solving is a soft skill best learned by understanding common issues in the pharmacy industry, or by interacting with experienced senior employees.
Healthcare delivery is a team effort. You must work as part of a healthcare team and collaborate with other members.
You should follow instructions, take on extra responsibilities, and adapt to the needs of pharmacists and coworkers.
12. Eagerness to Learn
One’s willingness to learn is critical for your professional development. We live in a fast-paced world with digital transformation and advanced healthcare research. You must strive to be updated on the latest pharmacy trends constantly. Some the trends include:
- New drugs, e.g., mRNA therapeutics
- New technologies, e.g., telepharmacy
- New procedures
13. Conversant with TCG Packaging Machine
An automated packaging technology makes your provision and filling of patient prescriptions effortless and effective. You’ll learn to operate it for a quicker turn-around time.
14. Proficiency in OP Robotic & Barcode Station
Robotic prescription dispensing systems are common features especially in large pharmacies with a lot of work. You must be able to efficiently utilize this technology. Bar-Code Station aids in the prevention of potentially disastrous administrative errors.
Also, supply-chain management software is integrated into pharmacy operations to enable returns, restocking, and item removal. Additionally, the software scans barcodes to verify the identity of medication or supply operation aspects. Hence, it is a vital software that you must learn how to use.
15. Pharmacy Equipment Maintenance
The increasing adoption of automated medication dispensing machines also means possible breakdowns and downtimes.
You’ll need to offer basic maintenance besides resolving minor breakdowns. Additionally, you must understand the software running these machines for basic troubleshooting during downtimes.
You must first pass your pharmacy tech certification practice test to be a certified pharmacy technician. Additionally, you must possess task-related, technical, and personality skills for optimum performance in the role.
But, passing the PTCB practice test the first time can be challenging due to limited time and poor preparations. Now you can pass it confidently after leveraging reliable and trustworthy online preparation resources.