What is a Pharmacy Technician?
Most pharmacists employ pharmacy technicians to assist them with the dispensing of prescription medicines. Pharmacy technicians always work under the supervision of a pharmacist. A pharmacy technician includes people who hold a recognised certificate as a pharmacy technician or are enrolled in a training programme leading to this certificate. By law only pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can dispense prescription medicines in a pharmacy.
Pharmacy technicians work in community pharmacies and pharmacy departments in hospitals. They are also employed in other pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical wholesalers. Pharmacy technicians need to be honest, motivated and well organised, able to pay attention to detail, enjoy working as part of a team and be interested in people.
What does a Pharmacy Technician do?
Pharmacy technicians assist the pharmacist in the preparation of prescriptions. This includes entering prescription details in the computer, preparing labels and dispensing the medicine. They are involved in the processing of prescriptions and patient records, including preparing prescription batches for payment. Pharmacy technicians may be responsible for maintaining the dispensary, including fixtures and fittings, packaging and dispensing equipment. They are also responsible for checking stock levels of medicines and preparing and placing orders for new stock.
Pharmacy technicians help in the general running of the pharmacy by preparing invoices, receipts, letters, memos and general filing, answering the pharmacy phone and receiving and sending electronic communications.
In community pharmacies, pharmacy technicians may also work in the shop; advising customers on non-prescription medicines and on photographic and cosmetic supplies.
In hospital pharmacy departments, pharmacy technicians are involved in dispensing out-patients' and in-patients' medicines, supplying wards with medicines, monitoring ward stock cupboards and emergency supplies and manufacturing medicines for patient's particular needs. Senior pharmacy technicians are responsible for other technicians and pharmacy assistants.
What qualifications are needed to be a Pharmacy Technician?
Pharmacy technicians must hold a recognised qualification to work in the dispensary.
What training options are available?
Pharmacy Technician training programmes are available from a range of education providers.
What career prospects are open to Pharmacy Technicians?
With the changes in the health system in New Zealand pharmacists are spending more time counselling patients on their medicines and many pharmacists are delegating more responsibility for preparing the prescriptions to the pharmacy technician. As well as working in community and hospital pharmacies in New Zealand pharmacy technicians are involved in other areas related to pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians work as sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies or in wholesaling and manufacturing companies. .