What Makes a Great Pharmacy Technician? These 5 Traits

Zach Schladetzky | March 5, 2017

As any pharmacist knows, pharmacy technicians have important roles and responsibilities in the pharmacy.

This poses the question: what makes a great pharmacy technician? We looked to Nicole Bernabe to answer this inquiry. Nicole is a Certified Pharmacy Technician and a Customer Success Specialist at TelePharm. She was also a finalist for 2016 PTCB Pharmacy Technician of the Year.

In her role at TelePharm, Nicole coaches and acts a subject-matter expert to over 150 PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technicians through continuous development and implementation of telepharmacy best practices. Upwards of 90 percent of new retail telepharmacies opened in America use her training material.

In short, Nicole knows what makes a great pharmacy technician. Here are the top five traits she looks for in a super pharmacy technician.

 

what makes a great pharmacy technician 

1. Problem Solver

“Most technicians develop some savvy when it comes to solving problems in the pharmacy. Maybe it’s as easy as calling an insurance company for a patient when the claim won’t go through, or discovering how to finagle your printer just right to get the labels to print.”

“A super pharmacy technician, or SuperTech, as I like to say, will use every roadblock that presents itself as a chance to figure out how to move it. Technicians who address problems with fervor and critical thinking on-board are better at dealing with difficult situations on the fly, whether that be a busy short-staffed pharmacy, or a very angry patient. Pharmacists will appreciate this tenacity as well, as they can focus more of their time using their clinical expertise to counsel patients.”

Interested in pharmacy workflow tips? Read Nicole’s first article: 3 Tips to Improve Your Retail Pharmacy Workflow

 retail pharmacy workflow

 

2. Proactive

“We all know it’s inevitable that problems will happen in the pharmacy, and sometimes we can’t solve them as quickly as we’d like, no matter how much we enjoy trying. The SuperTech understands that being honest and upfront with patients, providers and colleagues about an issue is the best way to provide clear expectations and a positive outcome. This makes the difference on the front end rather than reactively cleaning it up on the back end.”

 

3. Empathetic

“When you’ve worked in a pharmacy awhile you tend get to know your patients (by choice or not). Although it’s mentioned often, “relationship building” isn’t always listed at the top of the priority list in healthcare. It should be, though, especially in the pharmacy. Trust can be more important to a patient than the cost of their prescription. Pharmacy technicians who make the effort to understand where their patients are coming from know how much of a difference this makes when one of those aforementioned problems pops up. Patients who trust you and know you care about them and their family will return that empathy in-kind on that day your entire computer system goes down.” *sigh*

 

4. Quality of work

“If I were to list technician resume buzz phrases I hear all the time, “attention to detail” would be at the top of the list. When a phrase becomes ubiquitous, it no longer retains it’s original impact. We know details are important. But more important is your intention when dealing with those details. Technicians who take pride in their job, and exhibit a strong sense of ownership over their work are precise, diligent, and responsive. Not because you asked, but because they don’t ever want you to have to.”

 

community pharmacist

 

5. Eagerness to learn

“Everyone has worked with someone who insists it’s “not my job” to do this or that when asked to help with something. No one likes taking out the trash in the pharmacy, but it needs to be done. Some tasks require delegation to a pharmacy technician when a pharmacist’s (or colleague's) time is needed elsewhere. The best supertechs are eager to receive this delegation. They understand that each opportunity to acquire a new skill is an exciting opportunity to increase their expertise and bolster their position as an important asset in their field.”

 

Thanks for reading our thoughts on what makes a great pharmacy technician. Take these tips into consideration when hiring your next supertech. Ask questions based around these characteristics to decipher whether or not your applicants have what it takes to be your next great pharmacy technician.

Also, make sure you check out Nicole’s session on advancing the career of pharmacy technicians at APhA 2017.

 

 

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