Being “book smart” isn’t the main quality a pharmacist is looking for in a great technician. Don’t get me wrong—it’s important, but it is minuet compared to other qualities necessary to become a successful pharmacy technician. Something I have learned over my 11 years as a pharmacy technician is that it is harder to teach positive personality traits than to teach someone how to do the job. Knowing these key traits can help you have great success throughout your pharmacy technician career path.
Pharmacy technicians serve hundreds of people every day and encounter a lot of customers, both happy ones and those on the ornery side. Going into this career you need to expect this; however, there are behaviors you can portray that will help you stay positive and help the customers have good experiences with you. The number one thing you need to always have is a smile on your face. If you keep this in mind, you will have a better day and you just might make the customer have a better day too.
I actually prefer the “not-so-nice” customers. I know, sounds crazy. For me though it’s a really great challenge. If I can help turn the person’s frustration and anger around, then I feel like I’ve accomplished something and made a difference in their life. Nine out of ten times you will have that customer leave happy. People who smile under pressure will always be remembered by others. I’ve seen technicians who take the customer’s rudeness personally too often. You usually don’t know what is going on in this person’s life. Maybe someone close to them just passed away. Perhaps they just found out they have cancer. A lot of times they have been in the ER all night and just want to go home. Having appropriate empathetic responses is important when working in a medical field. Regardless of their situation, being rude back or not showing empathy is really going to backfire. Take the initiative; take that person under your wing and make sure they are well taken care of.
Challenges will arise every day in the pharmacy. What should you do if you are extremely busy and have to tell customers dropping off their prescriptions that there is an hour’s wait? A lot of customers will be okay with this, as long as they receive an accurate time. There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than being told the wait is fifteen minutes when in reality it’s three times that. You will have customers dropping off who are really sick or they have a child with them who is really sick. If they tell you this, please don’t put them behind everyone else. I have seen this too often. It’s one of the most insensitive things you can do. This isn’t a first come, first serve situation; you need to know how to prioritize these customers. Follow every step of the prescription filling process until you know they’ve been taken care of. It’s all about multitasking and managing your time for this to happen efficiently.
It’s inevitable that you are going to work with some people who don’t pull their own weight. Don’t be one of them. Look around and see what needs to be done and do it. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do, and if you don’t know how to do something, ask. Have you ever walked into a pharmacy that has more than one cash register, and there’s a mile long line of customer’s waiting to pickup? You look in the pharmacy and you can see people standing around, technicians talking to each other, while the cashier is rushing around. Go above and beyond your normal duties, even when running the cash register. It really shows you care a lot, not just to your coworkers, but to the customers as well. Great pharmacy technicians do not wait for someone to tell them what to do, they simply do it.
All in all, if you have a good work ethic, want to help people, and you’re a team player, you should have no problem becoming a great pharmacy technician. “Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last”-Hamilton Holt
If you have a great work ethic and think a career in pharmacy could be the right fit for you, Career Step’s Pharmacy Technician program can help you build a strong foundation for a rewarding career.