Pharmacy technicians are an indispensable part of the pharmacy team. Without them, pharmacists would be overwhelmed and business would slow to a crawl. An overworked pharmacist is not only more likely to get burned out, but also to commit medication errors that can put patients at serious risk.
Pharmacy technicians can help reduce the workload in a number of ways, including getting trained in different specialties and advanced skills. But even advanced training won’t have as much of an impact if the pharmacist still has to direct everything the technicians are doing; by the same token, technicians can make a huge difference in pharmacist workloads — and patient safety.
Pharmacy technicians need to be able to anticipate the pharmacist’s and patients’ needs and handle tasks without being asked. To do that, they need self-management skills. Let’s explore the different areas of self-management and why these skills are so vital for pharmacy technicians.
“There aren’t enough hours in the day.”
Odds are, we’ve heard someone say this before, or we’ve said it ourselves. But it isn’t entirely accurate, because there are enough hours in the day — as long as you know how to use them.
Time management is an essential skill in any profession, but it’s especially important for pharmacy technicians. The average pharmacy technician’s duties include:
- Verifying prescriptions
- Preparing medications for patients
- Pricing & filling prescriptions
- Completing patient paperwork
- Inventory management
Those are just the basics. On any given day, a technician might be asked to do all these things, plus assist the pharmacist with an insurance claim, work with patients, and any other tasks that arise. Studies have shown that the more you try to handle at once, the less productive you are overall. Time management skills help technicians organize and prioritize their workload to help the pharmacy run as efficiently as possible.
Pharmacy technicians can also draw on those skills when the pharmacy gets busy so they’re less stressed and, most importantly, less prone to making errors. Speaking of stress…
We’ve all had stressful days at work. When we’re overwhelmed, we struggle to focus on the task at hand. For pharmacy technicians, stress can have catastrophic effects, which is why stress management skills are so important. Unfortunately, technicians rarely have the opportunity to develop those skills, and it shows: a 2018 survey found that more than half of pharmacy technicians have considered quitting the profession due to stress.
A little stress can actually be a good thing. Moderate stress can improve focus and make us mentally tougher and better-equipped to deal with similarly stressful situations in the future. But stress has diminishing returns: a little can make you more productive, but too much (or too little) often leads to mistakes and poor performance.
Pharmacy technicians aren’t immune to the stress that comes with working in a demanding pharmacy environment, but with proper training, they can make that stress work for them, not against them.
“Self-starter” and “go-getter” aren’t just buzzwords we use to describe ourselves in job interviews, they’re qualities that we can develop and improve upon.
A motivated pharmacy technician is valuable to a pharmacy team, but a self-motivated technician is even more valuable. A motivated technician will handle any task assigned to them, and odds are they’ll do it well, but they still need to be asked — their motivation comes from external factors. So what happens when the pharmacist is busy working through a backlog of compound prescriptions and forgets to ask the (motivated) pharmacy technician to organize the inventory? It doesn’t get done.
A self-motivated pharmacy technician doesn’t need to be asked, because they’re primarily driven by their own desire to do a good job. They’ll see that the pharmacist is swamped and take care of the inventory themselves, plus send over the additional documentation that an insurer requested for a recently-filed claim.
PharmaSeer™ and Emotional Awareness
Emotional awareness — how perceptive an individual is to other people’s emotions as well as their own — is perhaps the most important skill of all, the engine driving the development of the other skills.
In order to hone their stress management skills, pharmacy technicians need to be able to identify what emotions they feel when they’re stressed. That makes it easier for them to recognize when they’re feeling stressed in the future, which helps them pinpoint the cause of their stress and find ways to avoid or minimize that stressor. In most cases, the cause is likely to be work pressure or poor organization, both of which can be addressed with time management skills. And in order to stay organized, self-motivation skills are essential.
PharmaSeer™ is designed to teach pharmacy techs these skills (and many others). The module focusing on self-management skills will maximize pharmacy technicians’ productivity. From there, pharmacy technicians learn how to take a team-oriented approach to their work with problem-solving and decision-making skills training.
Pharmacy technicians can make or break a pharmacy’s operations. With PharmaSeer™, they get all the tools they need to make a positive contribution to the team.