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Pharmacy technicians provide right-hand support to pharmacists as they fill prescriptions and help patients find the medications they need to begin to heal. Pharmacy technicians interact with patients, doctors, and insurance companies to ensure prescriptions are filled properly and quickly.
Becoming a pharmacy technician is a great career option for anyone who enjoys multitasking, has great attention to detail, and enjoys helping people.
While pharmacy technicians provide an important service in their role, there are some tasks they are not trained to handle. One of those is counseling patients.
If you're interested in becoming a Pharmacy Technician, consider enrolling in Florida Career College's Pharmacy Technician Program.
Can Pharmacy Technicians Counsel Patients?
Pharmacy technicians are not permitted to counsel patients, nor are they able to provide medical advice to patients.
Although pharmacy technicians undergo specialized training to learn the basics of the medications they are dealing with and how to play a supportive role in a pharmacy setting, they do not go through medical training that would allow them to counsel patients about the possible effects or dosages of the medications they are prescribed. For this reason, pharmacy technicians are not permitted to counsel patients.
However, pharmacy technicians can assist patients by reading the directions on the label. These directions give clear instructions for the dosage and how to take the medication and these instructions come directly from the manufacturer.
Pharmacy technicians should not hesitate to ask a pharmacist to answer a question from a patient. This is a protection for the patient and for the pharmacy technician. Not all pharmacy technicians receive the same level of training, and some may even begin the job with no experience. It would not be wise for a pharmacy technician to answer a question they do not have training to understand.
The pharmacist, on the other hand, has gone through years of training and schooling and has specialized training to be able to answer questions. Every precaution should be taken to ensure patients are receiving correct information. Pharmacy technicians are actually prohibited from answering a question that is beyond what is written on the medication’s label as this would be beyond their scope of practice. This includes questions about over-the-counter drugs and products.
Who is Permitted to Counsel Patients & Why?
Only licensed physicians and pharmacists are permitted to counsel patients on their medications. Both of these people have gone through years of training to be able to offer this service.
Pharmacists have years of training to understand medications and their effects on the human body, so they are able to give advice on certain medications. This advice may be limited to the way the medication should be taken for maximum results and advice on possible side effects of the medication. Pharmacists will know answers to questions like “Should this be taken with food” or “How should I take this medication?”
A pharmacist may not be qualified to answer all patient questions. A doctor or healthcare provider may have special instructions for their patient, and in those cases, the patient would need to speak directly to their doctor. The physician is the one who has spent time with the patient, completed an exam, and is qualified to answer their unique questions.
Each of these trained professionals plays a unique role in the medical field. Healthcare providers examine the patients and use their knowledge and training to determine what medications would be most appropriate for their treatment. Pharmacists review those decisions and use their training to identify any possible risks associated with the treatment. Pharmacy technicians support the pharmacist by filling prescriptions, collecting payment information, and ensuring insurance coverage. All of them work together to help patients manage their health issues and begin to feel better.
What can Pharmacy Technicians Do?
There are some questions a pharmacy technician is qualified to answer. If a patient has a question about a term or word on their medication label, the pharmacy technician can help explain it in simpler terms. A pharmacy technician may also be able to assist customers with finding over-the-counter medication on the shelves of the pharmacy. Questions about the dose, brand, or side effects should be left to a pharmacist.
Beyond assisting patients and customers, a pharmacy technician fulfills several tasks around the pharmacy to keep it running efficiently. They accept new prescription orders over the phone or a computer system and begin preparing those orders. Some orders may require some pharmaceutical math calculations. They then print prescription labels and send the order to a pharmacist to double-check for accuracy. The pharmacy technician may also communicate with the doctor’s office if the pharmacist has any questions.
Pharmacy technicians also interact directly with a patient’s insurance company to ensure coverage and payment.
In addition to these customer service tasks, the pharmacy technician may be responsible for ordering supplies and managing inventory around the pharmacy.
The exact duties of a pharmacy technician will vary from one pharmacy to the next and may also depend on the type of pharmacy they work in, whether it is a retail pharmacy or a hospital pharmacy.
How To Become a Pharmacy Technician?
As mentioned above, some states do not require formal training to become a pharmacy technician but gaining that training can improve your chances of finding a position. The training to become a pharmacy technician takes less than 10 months to complete through Florida Career College and provides students with all the training and knowledge necessary to prepare for an entry-level position as a Pharmacy Technician.
Become a Pharmacy Technician with FCC
If you take great pride in your organizational skills and have the desire to enter the medical field to help people begin feeling their best, you should consider becoming a pharmacy technician. Pharmacy technicians provide a valuable service within a pharmacy, helping the pharmacist to fill orders and get them into the right hands. The fast-paced environment of a pharmacy makes the job challenging and rewarding.
Our courses are designed to train you for a new career in less than a year, and we provide resources and support to help students find a job after graduation as well. With hands-on lab experiences and a flexible class schedule, there is no reason to delay starting your education today.
Begin training for a new career as a pharmacy technician via Florida Career College's Pharmacy Technician Program!