Pharmacy technicians scope of practice will differ depending on where they work, and there are a number of settings where the pharmacy tech is needed and where they have a number of responsibilities. Regulated pharmacy technicians will be accountable for a scope of technical functions related to prescription preparation and processing. At the moment there are no hard and fast rules regarding the regulation around the pharmacy technician scope of practice. Things are changing slowly however, and it is going to become a necessity that pharmacy tech’s seek regulation and successfully complete a Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CAPP) for a pharmacy technician through an accredited public or private college. Also known as the Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Practice (CAPP) according to the state you are in, they advance the practice of pharmacy around the world. Pharmacy technicians serve on this CAPP Advisory Board in order to continually be improving the pharmacy industry.
Today you find pharmacy technicians in hospitals, clinics and the retail industry. One of the tasks they have is the receipt of prescriptions, and they always have to verify that the information on the prescription is accurate. To prepare the medications, the pharmacy technician has to count, pour, weigh, measure and mix medications, and be extremely accurate in doing so. Apart from this very responsible task they will also package and label medications. Pharmacy Technicians scope of practice includes working under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist in preparing medications. Because of this, they will need to learn medication names and what they are used for.
Pharmacy Technicians Have Plenty Of Responsibilities
They will need to know about medical and pharmaceutical terminology; data entry and record keeping as well as law and ethics. A pharmacy tech cannot afford to be careless as they handle medicines because a simple mistake can put the lives of patients at risk. Taking four tablets instead of two can jeopardize the health of a patient. Computer knowledge is also very important as the pharmacy technicians scope of practice will include plenty of computer work, calling up patient’s profiles and adding in important medical information. With this kind of responsibility you would think that it is imperative for the pharmacy technician to have extensive training, but the fact is that they don’t. Most pharmacy techs decide on their own to to various courses, diplomas and degrees to become a certified pharmacy technician. Getting certification opens doors of employment.
To become certified, a student must attend an accredited institution and then sit the PTCB exam. They are the only organization offering the certification exam for pharmacy technicians and they have accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The certification exam consists of three sections: assisting the pharmacist in serving patients, maintaining medication and inventory control systems as well as participating in the administration and management of pharmacy practice.
Different Types Of Training To Cope With Scope Of Practice
Formal pharmacy technician education programs require that the student complete both classroom and laboratory work. Certificate programs provide the skills needed for the job and they take about a year to complete. The requirement for this is a high school diploma. Diploma programs are longer and also prepare the graduates for certification exams. A pharmacy technician’s associate degree program takes around two years to complete. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board administers the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination. More states as well as employers are requiring certification as reliance on pharmacy technicians grows. Students who pass the exam earn the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). Certified technicians must be re-certified every 2 years.
There is no requirement for pharmacy techs to be certified, and many people feel unhappy about this because they feel there has to be a benchmark of establishing one’s qualification for such an important job where you are working ultimately with people’s lives. It is highly recommended to become certified because many pharmacies prefer techs who have been certified and therefore have a certain level of training. If you are able to get a job in a pharmacy and you are able to study for your certificate at the same time, online pharmacy technician courses are very helpful for working and studying at the same time.
Licensing Not Always A Requirement
Pharmacy technicians scope of practice differs from state to state and some states require pharmacy technicians to be registered or licensed while others do not. Some states will also check for a criminal record. If you want to know what is expected of you in your state, the state board of pharmacy will provide answers to your questions.
The Pharmacy Technician Must Wear A ‘Pharm Tech’ Badge
Pharmacy Technicians have to conform to certain standards of practice. In fact it is the responsibility of the pharmacist in charge to ensure that their pharmacy technicians are registered with the board as pharmacy technicians. While on duty the tech must also wear a name tag which says ‘Pharmacy Technician’. The scope of practice is not set and it it the pharmacist who will determine the duties of the pharmacy based on the way the pharmacy is run. Pharmacy technicians will perform tasks in the preparation of legend drugs as well as providing technical support services. The pharmacist will need to verify and confirm the accuracy of tasks undertaken by the pharmacy technician.
Pharmacy technicians are assistants to pharmacists, and they help the licensed pharmacists in their work, whether it is administrative or working with medicines. Although there are no particular educational requirements to become a pharmacy tech, they will certainly need to have a basic knowledge of the different pharmaceutical tasks. They are under the direct supervision of a pharmacist, and are becoming more and more in demand. The pharmacist could not cope with all their chores without the help of a pharmacy technician. You do not have to study at a university to be a pharmacy tech but many do study in order to get a better job and a better salary.
Many Pharmacy Tech Programs Offered
If you want to enroll in a pharmacy technician school, there are many schools which offer pharmacy tech programs. Once you have decided on the specific course you are going to take you can enroll in a two year associate degree course or a 4-year bachelor’s degree course. The important thing is to make sure that the college you intend studying at is properly accredited. Selecting an unknown college which is not accredited will simply not be recognized by future employers.
The Scope of Practice for Pharmacy Technician’s Duties
- assist pharmacist in labeling and filling prescriptions
- participate in the research and development quality assurance and risk management policies
- create and maintain patient profiles
- purchasing and billing
- destroying drugs or hazardous supplies or substances,
- communicating with insurance providers
- instruct patients about the use of health aids and devices, and
- entering prescriptions into the computer
- verify that customers receive correct prescription
- ordering of medicines
- pre-packing bulk medications
- compound ointments, oral solutions and intravenous injections
- prepare chemotherapeutic agents
Some of the things a pharmacy technician cannot do:
- override warnings on the computer
- counsel patients
- take new prescriptions over the phone
- advise on health and drug-related queries
- certify dispensing
- perform extemporaneous compounding
- remove medications until checked by a pharmacist
- assess drug therapy or discuss therapy with patients
The duties of a Pharmacy Technician are regulated by the state but a pharmacy tech can basically perform most of the duties that a pharmacist performs so long as a pharmacist is close by and the pharmacist is confident with the knowledge that the technician has. The role that technicians play in pharmacy and scope of practice has been debated for years and the Society for the Education of Pharmacy Technicians was created by technicians who have practiced for decades and teach accredited training programs.
Scope of Practice for Hospital Pharmacy Technicians
Hospital pharmacy technicians are involved in the dispensing and safe administration of medicines. They need to know all hospital regulations in regard to the dispensing and handling of medications and also keep accurate records for billing purposes The manufacturer supplies medicines that are ready for use by the patient. The correct product needs to be selected, measured and the product labeled with instructions.
Because some medicines are not available from commercial sources, pharmacy technicians are trained to make medicinal products from raw ingredients. Some medicines are custom made for certain patients, for example injections used to treat cancer patients. They also help patients with understanding how to take their medicines when they get home. The pharmacy technicians the medicines in rooms known as isolators and they are then sent to the wards where they are administered. The pharmacy tech needs to be accurate and ultra hygienic as the slightest inaccuracy or contamination can be fatal to the patient. The technicians are also involved in the labeling of dispensed items, after which they also perform the accuracy check on dispensed medicines.
Pharmacy technicians also monitor stocks of medicines and ensure that they are re-ordered timeously. They consult with nurses on the correct storage of medicines as well as keeping up to date with medicines that have expired. , and helping patients to understand how to use their medicines safely on the wards, and when they return home.
Scope Of Practice For Community Pharmacy Technician
Community pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies and they also fall under the supervision of pharmacists. Their range of tasks is much the same as other pharmacy technicians; dispensing proscribed medicines. In many states a retail pharmacist technician is qualified to sell and advise on over-the-counter products like toiletries, ointments and creams and can advise on minor ailments like itchy skin, colds and coughs. The retail pharmacy’s scope of practice will extend to supplying items like oxygen or walkers to nursing homes and clinics for patients with disability problems as well as breathing problems. As with other pharmacy technicians, the retail pharmacy tech’s scope of practice and rules and regulations will be determined by the place of employment they find themselves in as well as by the state they are employed in. Some of the community pharmacy technician’s tasks will include administrative work as well. Generally their scope of practice includes:
- restocking shelves and ordering medicines
- receive verbal prescriptions from practitioners
- ensure the accuracy of a prepared prescription,
- answering the phone
- filling prescriptions as well as entering information on the computer
- collection patient information with regards to medical aid as well as personal medical information and ensure the accuracy of drug and personal health information
- working with insurance companies
Military And Emergency Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians in the military and emergency section have to work in demanding conditions because they work with relief and humanitarian aid organizations. Their scope of practice will include tasks that are similar and standard across all pharmacy technician fields such as preparation of prescription medicines, mixing of ingredients, printing labels as well as organizing shipments of medications and dispensing medications to patients. Military pharmacy technicians have more job responsibilities than community or civilian pharmacy techs but they do not have the scope of practice to do the job of civilian pharmacy technicians.
There is no doubt that pharmacy technicians play an important role in alleviating the workload of pharmacists, and these days they are being required to extend their reach even further by offering excellent medical assistance to patients. There are a range of excellent job possibilities for pharmacy technicians and placement will depend on the technicians level of experience by they all ensure a constant supply of medications according to their particular state’s laws and regulations.
According to a number of studies, the future for pharmacy technician jobs looks brighter than ever and this is because there are always new developments in medical technology and newer and better medicines coming out. The fact that the human population is bursting at its seams means that living conditions are not going to be improving and stress and substance abuse is on the increase. Pharmacy Technicians scope of practice is going to become more involved and technical in the future and they will need to be well trained to cope. The need for all kinds of medicines is on the increase and pharmacy technicians have a huge role to play in the preparation and dispensing of medications for the burgeoning population of the future.