There are a lot of people involved in the day-to-day process of aiding patients, each with their own role to fulfill. From the doctor, to the nurse, to the surgeon, and to many more. One such person who holds an important job in the process is the pharmacy technician. But what, exactly is their role in the healthcare process, and how do they fulfill it?
Basically, the purpose of a pharmacy technician job is to ensure that patients working with this pharmacy are able to get the proper medication. They are responsible for locating, dispensing, and packing the prescriptions in their bottles, before preparing them to be picked up by their soon-to-be recipient. In addition to this, pharmacy technicians help ensure that prescriptions are properly stocked. Despite the fact that this is not the most glamorous role in the process, their role is extremely important to getting you the prescriptions you require.
Not all jobs are created equal, and especially as far as healthcare is concerned, any mistakes made by a healthcare worker can be potentially devastating. When it comes to pharmacy tech, however, even the tiniest of mistakes can create a huge issue for patients (and, in turn, the doctors and nurses who have to deescalate the situation if it ever does escalate. For example, a typo could see your prescription misunderstood, or if you get it in the mail, a typo in the address would be a serious issue. And even if it's resolved relatively quickly, a lot of people are not able to wait longer to get necessary medication.
While pharmacy techs are not the most stressful or stringent job in this industry, that does not mean that making sure every pharmacy tech is well-trained does not matter. If they don't receive adequate training, this can create a serious ripple effect as a result, hurting others around them. In order to actually be a pharmacy tech, you would first have to have a high school diploma (or equivalent, such as a G.E.D. diploma). Having fulfilled that condition, you would next have to graduate from a pharmacy tech training school, which typically takes one year to accomplish. Following this, you will be qualified to take the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (CPhT), which is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Once finished, you should be eligible to receive a certification from the American Society of Health-Care System Pharmacists (ASHP). Mind you, not every state has the same process; this is just one example.
While mistakes by a pharmacy tech are by no means common, it is not as though they never happen either. If a mistake was made with your medical information, or to do with contact info, or even the dosage and/or the strength of the medication you are being prescribed, the best thing to do is to get in contact with your doctor and pharmacy as soon as possible. You may even receive the wrong kind of prescription altogether, a much more dangerous outcome. If there is any reason to believe that the medicine is of a different strength, be sure to not take it. Taking too much of a medicine could have adverse side effects not present when using only the appropriate amount.
When you get a hold of your doctor and/or pharmacist, be sure to explain the issue in a calm and understanding manner. No matter how upset you may be, not only is it not helpful to blow your top over the mistake, it can actually make it more difficult to resolve the situation. Customer service employees tend to have low patience for abusive customers, and while they do not have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to defying said abusive customers, that doesn't mean that they will go above and beyond to help you out. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as they say. They may also be suffering from burnout from the pandemic that is affecting performance.
Even if the mistake was minor, it is important that there exists a paper trail of the mistake, as well as the reporting of the mistake to the pharmacy. We all make mistakes, but if the person who made the mistake had a history of such mistakes, it would be important to have the pharmacy address them sooner rather than later. Otherwise, the small, trivial mistake that affected you may be repeated for someone else, who will find it much less small and trivial. Also, by contacting the doctor about the issue with the pharma tech's mistake, you make sure that the doctor is kept in the loop, as well as ensure that they know there is a problem, however minor, going on at the pharmacy. If they have had other reports of issues, they would surely want to know if you did too. The pharmacy tech may also work in the hospital itself, meaning they answer to them.
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