Career success is a lot more than being good at what you were hired for; interpersonal skills, organization, and attitude all affect your job excellence despite being absent from the pharmacy technician job description. As you start your first job, develop these 3 crucial on-the-job habits and you’ll find yourself excelling as a pharmacy tech.
1. Effectively switch tasks
Let’s face it; there is no such thing as multitasking. Psychology Today even states that multitasking can cut down your productivity by 40%!
As a pharmacy technician, you assist the pharmacist with much more than just filling and handing out prescriptions. You take customer information, measure, pack, and label prescriptions, take inventory, deal with insurance claims, and more. This sure sounds like multitasking, but you can maximize your effectiveness by “task switching” instead of multitasking with the following strategies:
• Keep a to-do list.
• As often as possible, finish a task before moving on to the next.
• Every shift, ask your pharmacist or supervisor if there are any specific priorities for the day.
• Always do what is most important first; being busy does not mean being effective.
• Do all similar tasks at the same time. For example, if you are labeling many different things, finish all labels before moving on to your next task.
To be of the most help to the pharmacist and customers, you may find yourself needing to ineffectively switch from task to task. Don’t get frustrated; start practicing your juggling skills!
2. Constantly learn
Learning shouldn’t end when you graduate from pharmacy technician training. In fact, most college grads say they learned more skills in their first job than during their formal education! Take every opportunity to expand your skills and learn something new. As a pharmacy tech, you can do this by:
• Staying up-to-date on new medications and treatments.
• Being familiar with insurers and health plans.
• Knowing industry regulations.
• Processing claims and billing.
Odds are you will also need a basic knowledge of computers and software used within your pharmacy as well as customer service skills. Be teachable and become an expert at every aspect of your job. Remember: the more you know the more valuable you are in the workplace and to your employer.
3. Be accurate
You need to be extremely accurate while selecting drugs and filling out prescriptions. A small mistake or minor oversight when dealing with medications could have serious consequences. Take time to understand and master each step of the process. Remember the following to keep from making mistakes:
• Always keep the prescription and the label together during the fill process.
• Know the common look-alike and sound-alike drugs, and keep them stored in different areas.
• Always investigate illegible handwriting.
• Keep the work area clean and uncluttered.
For more ideas on how to be accurate and avoid pharmacy technician errors, check out our blog post on Medication Errors.
As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Add these habits to your work skills to find yourself excelling as a pharmacy technician.