It was the last straw when my buddy at work quit, and I was left alone to pull orders with the new weird guy who was hired. He sang “Your Body Is A Wonderland” by John Mayer over and over to no one, (Enter gag reflex here), the parts ordering clerk would always wait until the last few of hours to send out orders to be filled, and every night my body was drained and sore. So I quit. There’s a kind of elation that follows quitting a job that few things can match, it’s like getting all of your power back in one fell swoop. Then the reality set in. No more income meant no rent paid, so I made the mad dash to find another job, which never materialized
My sister made the generous offer of letting me move in with her, and I accepted. No jobs were looming on the horizon, but I taught martial arts lessons to keep my head above water. Then one day another sister offered to pay for my tuition to become a pharmacy technician. I was hesitant because I had tried to go to college, but being forced to take courses I didn’t want, and the boredom of sitting through hours listening to a professor drone on completely fried my desire for higher education. My sister assured me that it was a three-month course one night a week, and in between, I would work getting my hours and receive a certificate.
I was relieved to get into a profession that was a higher pay scale, greater prestige, and engaged my mind instead of my body. The course was straight to the point and quick. My teacher made his lessons fun by using object lessons, he even brought in doughnuts to illustrate the cause drugs have on a body. In the hands-on pharmacy portion, I learned how to identify Credit: deposit photopills, read sig codes, and how to properly dispense drugs. At the end of the course, I passed the test with a score of ninety-eight percent, and I was offered a permanent position at the pharmacy.
Now I have eleven years of experience in the pharmacy field which includes retail, Long-term-care, and DME/HME (Durable medical equipment/Home medical equipment). I love having knowledge about how drugs and equipment can improve the lives of the clients I work with. It’s a great feeling when I’m presented with a problem, whether it be insurance-related, a refill that’s too soon, or a client who needs specialized equipment to function, and to solve that problem with a phone call or a few key strokes on my keyboard. I get a tiny thrill knowing that every day, there is a list of orders to be completed and I have the skills to finish them with an intense focus on speed and accuracy.
In the pharmacy, there are several tasks I have to focus on, getting refills, answering phones, in person client interactions. It’s a world full of multi-tasking and making a decision every few minutes about what needs to be completed first and what can wait. It can be hard when it appears everything happens at once, but it’s exciting at the same time.
Credit: deposit photoOne challenge I have faced a few times is burn out, the constant pressure, while stimulating can also be draining. The steady flow of work can make it easy to start skipping breaks and shortening meal times. Another obstacle I created for myself was to be the only hero, meaning that I would start fixing problems for my coworkers instead of letting them figure it out. That practice truly worked against me when I accepted a supervisor position, and it bogged me down until I moved on to another pharmacy.
All of my experiences really helped me to hone in on what makes a successful pharmacy team. It’s important to have a leader who is passionate and excited about their work, they are involved with their team, but they don’t micro manage their workers. The team should be made up of people who are independently driven, but work well with a group. Each member has their strengths, but is able to pitch in when they notice the line going slack.
The role of a pharmacy technician has gone through some changes, it used to be that as long as a pharmacist monitored your work it was satisfactory, but now to ensure quality work most pharmacies require a technician to be certified in their home state and nationally. I think the change in requirements has made me a better pharmacy technician because every year, I must complete continuing education courses to keep my license active.
Credit: deposit photoThe pharmacy field has been a great fit for me because it was easy to complete the course, and it was very cost effective, I paid $400, so I have no education debt. The pharmacy world allows me to use my sharp skills for problem solving, clear communication, and making a serious task-oriented environment fun. I thrive in an environment where I know I have customers and coworkers relying on me to be excellent at my job.
To keep myself moving along the course I want to take I have perfected a few processes to make my day go smoothly:
•Greet my coworkers- This lets them know that I am here and ready to work, it also builds camaraderie and trust.
•Check my email- This lets me know what special projects need attention, any meetings to attend, and what my clients need.
•Check the workflow- By knowing what needs attention first I can mentally plan what task to complete.
It’s been a great ride so far as a pharmacy technician, and I expect it to keep getting better. How did you get started in your industry? If you could go back would you take the same path? Let me know in a comment and give this article a thumbs up.