October 19 is 2021 National Pharmacy Technician Day – the ideal time to demonstrate the value these technicians bring to patients and patient care outcomes.
Pharmacy technicians play a significant role in pharmacy operations. Their contributions are numerous and allow pharmacists to stay focused on performing to their highest level possible. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that pharmacy technicians are in many ways the backbone of pharmacy operations.
The Pharmacy Tech’s Role
Pharmacy technicians can be found in many healthcare environments – retail and hospital pharmacies, practice-based pharmacies, even insurance companies and pharmacy benefits organizations – and their roles and responsibilities vary by setting.
For example, a pharmacy technician who works in the neighborhood retail pharmacy under a pharmacist’s direction will typically be dispensing medication, compounding topicals and ointments, and handling billing insurance for services. In hospital settings, technicians handle medication reconciliation, prepare and compound IV solutions, maintain and restock automated machines, dispense medicines, and conduct inventory control.
In specialty clinics like the community-based oncology practices that are part of American Oncology Network (AON), pharmacy technicians provide vital support to the clinical staff. The oncology setting is a complex ambulatory care environment where pharmacy technicians must possess the highest levels of professionalism, knowledge, and efficiency. In addition to standard pharmacy responsibilities, technicians also serve as liaison between nurses, physicians, financial counselors, and management to address drug order needs.
In addition to the tasks described above, pharmacy technicians are responsible for reviewing and performing pharmaceutical calculations for medication orders, drug admixture, inventory control, asset services, operations, education and training, informatics, quality improvement initiates, procurement, and thorough project management depending upon the setting.
AON pharmacy technicians have access to Board-certified clinical pharmacists and resources that are essential to the medication preparation process, as well as support from pharmacy administrators who help guide clinic pharmacy technicians on industry best practices.
Opportunities for professional development are numerous for AON’s pharmacy technicians. For example, AON will reimburse full- and regular part-time pharmacy technicians who successfully pass the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Exam for the cost of the exam and recertification renewal fees.
AON also encourages its certified pharmacy technicians to pursue additional credentials through the National Pharmacy Technician Board. As the profession grows, other credentialing programs are being created, including CSPT (Certified Compounding Sterile Preparation Technician) and CPhT-Adv (Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician).
Additionally, there are certificate programs they can pursue, such as Hazardous Drug Management, Immunization Administration, Billing and Reimbursement, and Management of Controlled Substances.
At AON, we believe training is the key to success, and success is obtainable on all levels, and our programs are second-to-none.
Partners in Care
Above all else, pharmacy technicians are partners in patient care. They take pride in the role they play in achieving the best possible outcomes and approach each interaction as if it were with their own family member. AON, in turn, provides our pharmacy technicians with the support they need to practice at the highest level. This includes providing opportunities they may not have with other organizations.
Pharmacy technicians are valuable members of the care team and pharmacy operations as a whole. Which is why AON is proud to celebrate National Pharmacy Technician Day and recognize their unwavering commitment to excellence.