So out of a random google search, pharmacy technician salary popped up and who would be leading that trend, none other than my own CVS. At the time they had a program which would allow you to come on board, have them train you while you´re an employee and within a couple months have you prepared for the Florida License test. I wasn´t sure how it would correlate necesarily with my physician goals but I figured having a grasp on another side of healthcare would be helpful so I did it.
To tell you the truth, the training and the first few months were absolute hell. It´s one of those professions that are so fast paced at first, that if you don´t have a staff and supervisors listening in and being watchful of you and your actions you can run into some trouble. Working in a pharmacy is much more urgent because of what is required of you and how detrimental your every move is. If you mess up at a restaurant and forget to supply a customer with extra pickles, well your stuck with an unhappy customer and maybe even a bad tip. If you grab clonazepam instead of clonidine and dispense them incorrectly than you face way more than just a angry customer.
But I didn´t give up. I knew that if i kept at it, kept asking questions, learning new information, paying attention to drug names, generics, plan overrides, clinical discussions, and other things I would get the hang of things. The following year, I had a quick pep talk with myself and went out on a limb helping out at other stores. Luckily I found one store whose pharmacist finally saw something in me I had though I lost on my way. She saw potential. She had faith in my abilities and knew that I wanted to be better. I wanted to improve. She took me under her wing and through clear communication and constant conversational feedback I started to excel. I don´t think she´ll ever truly understand how much taking that chance on me made all the difference. Now six years later, I´m a Lead Pharmacy Technician. Crazy man. So overall these few years I´ve learned a couple things so here´s my tips if you’re thinking of diving into this life.
- Understanding a crucial side of healthcare
- Being paid decently well (Salary is $13-$18 depending on the state)
- Using your brain for deductive reasoning always
- You learn to type crazy fast
- You become very acquainted with insurance – this allows you to make better decisions as a consumer for your own insurance and copays
- You get a full understanding of the pharmacy behind the scenes- giving you newfound appreciation for medications and dispensing protocols
- You´ll multitask like a champ- No i mean really. You´ll be able talk on the phone, do your homework, and your makeup all at the same time.
- You learn to speak and interact with healthcare professionals via phone
- You become an integral part of patient care
- You have to math most of the time
- You´ll need to memorize tons of medications, corresponding generics, rules, and regulations and a ton of miscellaneous material to excel
- You´ll be expected to always think on your feet but also know your place when it comes to recommendations and clinical questions as those need to be addressed by the pharmacist.
- You´re expected to do multiple things at once.
- You´ll have to get used to repeating yourself and reiterating a lot when it comes to discussing care with patients
- The amount of pay doesn´t cover the actual hours of labor (especially if you work in retail)
- You´ll have to make hard decisions on prioritizing patient medications so that the pharmacy tasks don´t fall behind
- You´ll become comfortable with being around sometimes fussy patients and addressing uncomfortable conversations
- You may sacrifice your bladder and hunger for the sake of your patients at times
So there you have it. Of course this is not to say that every pharmacy is like this or every pharmacy technician will have this same experiences. I hope any bit of this helps anyone concerned with this career and some of the things it entails.
Until next time!