Pharmacy Technicians: Key members in the healthcare band

By Vanessa Elliott posted 12-02-2019 13:09


Great bands may have a lead singer, but it takes the whole band to really shine and bring things together.  In the world of healthcare, it’s easy to imagine doctors and pharmacists as the “lead singers”.  But today more than ever we can see how crucial it is to have a whole “band/crew” working together to ensure patients receive optimal care.  Pharmacy technicians are a key part of the healthcare band.  Okay, that may be a bit out there, but it does illustrate the importance of working as a team and that pharmacy technicians are key in ensuring patients receive star quality care in their healthcare journey.

Historically pharmacy technicians have been kept behind the scenes and the role was often considered more of a job than a true career.  Today’s pharmacy technician needs to step into the spotlight – it is much more than just a job.  It’s a viable career path with many opportunities.  Traditional pharmacy technician roles will always be a key part of pharmacy day to day operations, but as practice and technology changes, the duties being performed are also evolving and expanding.  Pharmacy leaders are also creating advanced technician positions to provide specialized pharmacy services that do not require direct pharmacist oversight.

Some practice advancements focus on allowing technicians greater success within those traditional environments.  Along with this we have also seen a variety of new specialized roles emerge in several facets of healthcare, including:

  • Leadership
  • Medication Assistance
  • 340B Compliance
  • Quality and Process Improvement
  • Home Medication Reconciliation
  • Sterile Compounding
  • Purchasing
  • Pharmacy IT
  • …and the list continues to grow.

Pharmacy technicians should recognize and be recognized for the important parts they play in the complex ballad of patient care.  Like great musicians and singers, their skills and dedication enhance the performance of the entire healthcare band.  It’s refreshing to see an increasing number of opportunities for pharmacy technicians to step into the spotlight with their own outstanding solo performances.   

So, what are the next steps to really bring pharmacy technicians to the center stage?  Well, the spotlight tends to rest on those who both ask for it, and whose performance merits it.  Each technician must establish their own reputation, but beyond that they should maintain and advocate for high standards of education, certification and practice.  You can step out from the background by advocating for sensible ways to sustain the current workforce and improve the quality standards of technician practice through appropriate licensure criteria.  That is how we work together to earn a spot at the center microphone.

Rock on fellow technicians!