Common Misconceptions of Pharm Techs

pharmacy technician

According to some, misconceptions of the pharmacy technician range as far and wide as the career responsibilities themselves.

“I would say that the pendulum swings wide when it comes to misconceptions of pharmacy staff,” said Bridget Smaczniak, Pharmacy Technician Program Director at Concorde’s campus in Kansas City, Mo. “Patients either assume that everyone (in a pharmacy) is a pharmacist, or they assume that the Pharmacy Technician is little more than a cashier.

“The simple truth is that most of the time, patients in and out of a pharmacy before they can actually observe the day-to-day workload, or they are not in any sort of condition to care to pay attention to what’s going on around them due to illness.”

Smaczniak said the most common misconception she hears is, “All you do is put pills in a bottle,” and “Can’t you just slap a label on it?”

Much more going on with the Pharmacy Technician than meets the eye

While it might seem to the untrained eye that counting pills, labeling containers and filling prescriptions is all that is going on in a pharmacy, there is much more happening behind the scenes, Smaczniak said. There are many unseen steps to improve accuracy during the prescription filling process and protect the patient from receiving an incorrect or potentially harmful product.

“The roles in the pharmacy can blur a little depending on how hands-on the pharmacist on duty is but for the most part, pharmacists are responsible for making sure things are correct and safe before the patient receives the item,” Smaczniak said. “The Pharmacy Technician is responsible for all the work that makes it possible to fill the prescription. This means the Pharmacy Technician is involved in virtually every aspect of prescription preparation, including compounding, except for the final verification check.”

The Pharmacy Technician rules!

Though it’s oftentimes less visible, the Pharm Tech actually often has a more active role in the entire pharmaceutical process than the pharmacist. That’s why Concorde’s Pharmacy Technician training program is comprehensive in its combination of theoretical learning and hands-on training.

“The truth is,” Smaczniak said, “your local Pharm Tech spends more time translating, inputting, processing, preparing and handling your prescription than the pharmacist.”

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