With a growing shortage in licensed and qualified pharmacists, the job creation for pharmacy technicians has been steadily on the rise in the past decade. To bridge this gap, a new career form was created. The pharmacy technician does not necessarily be able to give any advice on your medication or what you could take or what ointment could be best for a certain condition, but you will be a great help to the in-house pharmacist who will probably feel very short handed without you. The technician fills in for the pharmacist in the more administrative and intermediary services for which the pharmacist may not have any time for.
When you are a pharmacy technician then your job consists mainly of measuring out and dispensing medication under the supervision of a pharmacist, which means that you work directly with the medication that your patient will be ingesting. A large part of your job will be mainly administrative with the stock keeping and keeping track of medication as well as printing labels for the medication. You will be doing all of the jobs that can give the pharmacists time to give advice and gather information from their patients which can take quite some time which might annoy the other patients if they are standing in queue waiting for assistance for something that they do not need advice on.
Because you are working with something that you are going to give to someone to take mostly by mouth, you need to make sure that your pharmacy technician uniforms are immaculately clean and hygienic. The fabric used for the uniforms are mainly conducive to these needs. When you are working in a hospital pharmacy, you will undoubtedly have a different kind of uniform than when you are working in a private pharmacy.
The Difference Between A Pharmacist And A Pharmacy Technician
It may seem a bit over the top to distinguish between a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician, but although they may seem to fulfill similar roles, it takes a lot more skill for a pharmacist to do what he does than it does for a pharmacy technician.
A pharmacist can dispense medication that has been prescribed by a doctor and advise the patient on this medication as well. If there is a generic on the market that does the same as the original that was prescribed, then the pharmacist has the skill and knowledge to give the patient this advice and give them the option to choose between the brand name and the generic option that may be cheaper. The pharmacist can also prescribe medication to someone who has not been to a doctor but who may have a mild case of something that could be cured by an over the counter medication or ointment. A pharmacist will need to use their judgement, knowledge and skills to perform their duties on a daily basis and will also be in charge of and supervise the pharmacy technicians and other staff in the pharmacy whether it is a state facility, a hospital pharmacy or a private pharmacy.
A pharmacy technician, on the other hand, helps to measure out and mix up batches of medication according to specifics already lain out. They can also dispense medication that has been prescribed by doctors but cannot change the prescription in any way or advise the patient in any way. They will be able to tell the patient how to take the medication according to the dosages indicated on the packaging and they will also print out the labels for this medication. Every task that the pharmacy technician does is under the supervision of the pharmacist to ensure that the medication dispensed is 100% correct and safe.
Regulations About The Uniform
Although there are not many regulations that state what a pharmacy technician should wear, it is clearly stated that a pharmacy technician has to wear something that identifies them as a pharmacy technician so that they cannot be confused with a pharmacist. They also have to identify themselves as a pharmacy technician in any telephone conversation so that the consumer is not misled.
Your uniform will mostly depend on where you work:
- Hospital – a uniform from the hospital identifying you as a pharmacy technician
- Private pharmacy – a uniform from the pharmacy or a light jacket.
Whatever it is that they prescribe you wear, the standard across the board would be to wear the following as well:
- Really comfortable shoes because you will be on your feet all day long.
- Shoes that are closed in front to protect your toes from any hazard that may fall on your feet.
- Slacks that are either black, tan or whatever color your employer wants you to wear.
- A neat and ironed white blouse or shirt.
- Neat and tidy hair that is and looks clean.
Your main focus when you dress yourself should be on health and safety. Are your clean enough to work in a sterile environment? Your uniform and other clothing or accessories should be comfortable but they should also be professional at the same time. You are going to work, not to impress anyone so the use of too much hair products, perfume, cologne or makeup may just put your consumers off.
You may also want to look at acquiring clothing that is breathable, especially for summer, so that you are well ventilated and that you feel and smell fresh all day long. There are special microfiber materials available that are designed to draw moisture away from your body.
Where To Get The Uniform
There is quite a lot about being a pharmacy technician that is regulated by the health and safety laws in each state of the USA, but what to wear as pharmacy technician uniforms is not one of them. The choice of what you will wear is up to your employer. You need to look professional at all times and make sure that your uniform that you do have is crisp and clean, and that means it should be well ironed with no stains on it.
You should always have a name badge with your designation on it so that you will not be confused for a pharmacist.
The standard dress code for pharmacy technicians would be a clean white dress shirt with either black or tan slacks and clean closed shoes. You should not wear sandals or open toed shoes for hygiene reasons. Just remember that what you are working with will probably end up in someone’s mouth and germs and bacteria can be spread very quickly and very easily.
Your hair should be out of sight and neat and your nails should be trimmed, neat and clean as well, even if you will be working with latex gloves on all day.
Making Your Uniform Last Longer
When you are working in a hospital or a private pharmacy, the object of pharmacy technician uniforms are that they make you look professional and they identify you as someone working at the pharmacy. Wearing a uniform makes you easily identifiable and when you have a name badge that states you are certified as a pharmacy technician, then all the better.
How do you keep looking professional when you can only afford so many sets of this uniform? This is especially important when you are working in a hospital and your entire uniform is supplied from top to toe.
The following pointers will help to keep your uniform looking better for longer:
- Never use bleach on your clothing even when the label does not display the do not bleach icon.
- Do not scrub the garment too vigorously by hand.
- Stick to natural fabrics if you do have the option to buy your own clothing because it is easier to maintain and will save you money on dry-cleaning.
- Do not hang clothing that should be folded and do not fold clothes that should be hung as this will save you time and save your clothes from the damage that ironing them every day will cause.
- Wash your clothes in cold water because warm and hot water often damages the fibres and will make your clothes wear through a lot quicker.
- Wash your whites separately from the colored clothing because this will help you keep that crisp white color for longer.
- Watch how you hang your clothing on the line. You could be damaging your shirt by hanging it incorrectly and the last thing you want is to have a line across your chest from when you threw the shirt over the line.
- Make sure your washing line is clean before hanging white clothing. It may seem like a simple and small thing, but you will notice if there is a dirt line across your garments.
- Get magic stain removers. There are numerous products on the market that works like a bomb on stains that you may pick up during your busy day and these will help you to get the use of your clothing back after a nasty spill.