Pharmacy Technicians taking their careers to new heights

Media release: 18 October 2021

Nicola Rowlands
Pharmacy Technician (Clinical Trials), Tauranga Hospital

Sarah Marshall
Pharmacy Accuracy Checking Technician, Olsen's Pharmacy, Greymouth

Sonya Scrimshaw
Pharmacy Technician, Life Pharmacy North City, Porirua

Tania Lorenzen
Pharmacy Accuracy Checking Technician, Waitakere Hospital

Pharmacy technicians play an essential role in the safe delivery of medications to patients in community pharmacies and in hospitals throughout New Zealand.

Tuesday 19 October is Pharmacy Technician Day. This year the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand is promoting the career opportunities that pharmacy technicians enjoy as part of the wider pharmacy team.

A new accreditation programme developed by the Pharmaceutical Society for the Ministry of Health and Health Workforce New Zealand in recent years means that pharmacy technicians can now complete extra training and move into Pharmacy Accuracy Checking Technician (PACT) roles.

Being a PACT, means a technician can do the final check of medications being dispensed. The role provides technicians with more challenge and responsibility and allows pharmacists to spend more time with patients.

Tania Lorenzen, PACT at Waitakere Hospital explains why being a PACT is so enjoyable. “I’m never bored. Every day is different. I find it challenging and rewarding.”

“It’s rewarding because every day I can see that I’m helping people. My PACT role frees up time for the pharmacists, enabling them to do more clinical work with the patients and doctors on the wards. So, I feel like an important part of the team.”

According to Sarah Marshall, PACT at Olsen’s Pharmacy in Greymouth, “The biggest expansion in my role is working as a PACT. I love it and I know the pharmacists love it as well.”

Sonya Scrimshaw, Pharmacy Technician at Life Pharmacy North City in Porirua says her role has changed a lot since she first started as a technician. “I’m doing a lot bigger variety of things and spending more time with customers.”

Ms Scrimshaw who was the winner of the Community Pharmacy Technician of the Year at the New Zealand Primary Healthcare Awards 2021, says “I’m officially second in charge now, so I have more say on how things are run.”

A career as a pharmacy technician can take you in many different directions. 

As Nicola Rowlands, Pharmacy Technician (Clinical Trials) at Tauranga Hospital explains, “I started working as a technician in the hospital, restocking drug rooms and working in the dispensary.”

“I then moved to the pharmacy aseptic production unit (compounding chemotherapy drugs). Since then, I’ve moved to working on clinical trials for oncology and haematology patients.”

Recently, Ms Rowlands has been offered a job at a private cancer care unit. She will be the first pharmacy technician ever hired by the private company.

Editor's note: Click on the names above for a profile of each technician.