Would any pharmacy techs out there mind explaining to me what you guys do on day to day basis on the job?
Come in half hour or hour before opening, load money in cash registers, file prescriptions from previous day, check temperature of fridge and freezer where drugs are kept, start up computers and process the 50+ prescriptions that were sent after closing last night, check phone for any verbal prescriptions left by doctors after closing last night or before opening the same morning, open pharmacy, check in drug orders delivered before noon, spend the day getting accosted by various confused idiots at the pick up window/drop off window/on the phone, order drugs for next day before cut off times, take lunch/brake (if allowed), return to be accosted more, the night winds down, deal with last minute customers between 8pm and 9pm, tell them you can’t complete their medication because of the time of night, turn away customer that tries to do of Adderall prescription from the next town over at 8:59pm, close pharmacy, turn in cash registers, go home and turn off brain.
Alphabetizing by brand name is a holdover from the very old days. It was outdated when I started working in pharmacy as a tech in the mid-1980s. By then we were alphabetizing by generic name and putting the brand names where the generics went.
If you are even half awake at work it will all get in there on its own. Dont worry. That being said theres thousands of ways of cheating until it happens. Most labels or rx software have that info somewhere. Or you can do what i did and get epocrates or something like it on your phone.
Never been asked about that stuff in an interview. Mostly they just want to know that they got someone who is ready to get stuff done. Pharmacy is an industry that is generally super busy and short staffed. Lazy or sloppy people can make your day hell. Emphasize work ethic and attention to detail. Mske sure you can do the calculations. Ive had a few math tests on interviews. Drug names can always be referenced. Every pharmacy i worked at had a brand generic book so its really low priority to start. Also the ending of the generic name sometimes tells you what the drug does.
Most pharmacies nowadays are alphabetized. And since you will be dispensing generic medications the majority of the time, you may not encounter the brand name for most medications. However, my pharmacy (until recently) was alphabetized by brand name. In this case, you must know the brand name for a drug in order to find its generic equivalent on the shelf. It will only benefit you to learn both the brand and generic names for medication.
At my store we come in right at 9. The pharmacist usually comes at 8:30-8:45 and gets started on what we call the “cycle counts” which is where we audit 20 bottles for a real inventory count and update our system to reflect the actual on-hand amount of those medications. The technicians will type incoming prescriptions and fill them as well (unless there are 2 techs, then one will fill while the other types). The techs break down and put away the order, call people whose meds did or didn’t come in, handle the front by selling prepared prescriptions and taking new drop off prescriptions. Techs answer the phone for refills and anything else except new prescriptions which we forward to the pharmacist. That’s basically it. We do everything in our power to assist the pharmacist to the point where they can just verify because honestly they work 12 hours with a single break but if they make a single mistake or God forbid fail to catch one of ours they could lose their license. At my store our pharmacists are wonderful and interfere when a patient is verbally abusive or a real dick or whatever so we do everything we can to make their lives easier. We usually even get them a decent meal break or two if we aren’t swamped with prescriptions.
I emotionally prepare myself before I walk through the door, then an hour later, I go to the bathroom for gentle sobbing.
But, really, I (as well as my coworkers) do everything. We ring at the registers, deal with people coming straight from doctors’ offices, pick up phone calls, refill scripts, try not to yell at people, call insurances, return scripts people haven’t picked up in weeks, call people about their scripts (not enough in stock, completely out of stock, ask if they could bring in their updated insurance card, ask if they’re still taking certain medications, pick up reminders), cycle counts, type scripts, put in the order to our outside vendor, offer flu shots when we really don’t want to, fill hundreds of scripts, scan the hardcopy Rx because IT’S NEVER SCANNED, and try to calmly explain to angry customers that they should call corporate if they want to stop receiving phone calls because we, as a pharmacy, literally have no control over that.
Be prepared to say sorry like it’s your favorite word even when you don’t mean it. Be sure to check a drug is in stock before they drive off expecting it to be done in half an hour. And if you’re out, find out when you can get it in stock. If it’s a C-II (stimulants, hydrocodone, and oxycodone are the big ones), offer to call and see if another store has it (the ones by hospitals are a safe bet for painkillers) – this helps with the most common situations.
If someone payed less for their drug last time, maybe the price has changed because BrandNameTM or their insurance wants them to do a 90 day supply or mail order for their scripts. Those are the most common reasons for the changes.
It might help if you try to keep the conversational tone pretty lighthearted. Most patients seem to take it well and when you say it like “there’s no way I can figure out why the cost is going up, a lot of times it’s because xyz, if you called the number on your insurance card they could tell you why. If it were up to me they’d all be free!” I try to make them feel comfortable and not like I’m out to get them or anything like that. Those little things can have such a huge impact.
Like other retail jobs, there will always be people who give you shit no matter how great you are to them.
I think you’ll be okay. The fact that you’re concerned about all these things says to me that you want to be good at your job. Good luck to you.
Hospital tech. I usually know what my role is on any particular day well in advance unless someone calls in or there are other considerations. I work with up to 10 other technicians and about 15 pharmacists on each shift.
1) staffing the main pharmacy filling orders or preparing zone refills for automated dispensing machines on each unit, pulling narcotics from the vault for those zone refills, processing crash carts, intubation kits, fielding phone calls regarding missing medications, patient transfers, etc. I have a lot of interaction with nursing and have a solid rapport with each unit.
2) Working in the IV room which entails my daily cart, batching for automated dispensing and OR, OnQ pumps, stat orders, TPNs, runs of insulin, etc.
3) Emergency department medication reconciliation and history for new admissions.
It’s a lot of variety, fast-paced, and I absolutely love it.
I work with a pharmacy benefits manager in the prior authorization department. Day to day, all we do is answer phone calls from doctor offices or receive faxes to initiate prior authorizations. Sometimes, patients/members will call to check status of a prior authorization, those can sometimes be interesting. If the prior authorization meets certain criteria, we approve the medication. If it does not, we pend it to the pharmacist and the pharmacist decides to approve or not. Completely different from retail (I used to work for the three letter chain).
I work in the oncology pharmacy of a large university hospital and children’s hospital.
On days I’m making chemo IVs, I go into the ante room, dress out, make IVs til lunch. Come back from lunch, go into the ante room, dress out, make IVs til time to go home. Take 10-20 minutes a day doing required cleaning/disinfecting in the clean rooms.
On days not making IVs, do stocking/inventory work, data entry for preps, supply/drug ordering, deliveries to clinics/inpatient units, and restocking supplies for the ante room/clean rooms, some filing/paperwork for orders and invoices.
Might touch a phone once every couple of weeks, and have to interact with nurses once or twice a day, if even that.
I love my job.
I work for an independently owned mail order pharmacy. It’s a small company, we have a customer service department but there are only 3 other techs besides myself. I do a little bit of everything but my main responsibilities are data entry, customer service, and licensing. Monday through Thursday I normally do data entry (entering RXs and requesting refills) and customer service stuff like calling patients to confirm shipments. I usually spend most of my time on Fridays renewing any state permits that are about to expire and doing re-credentialing applications for insurance companies we’re in network with. I also take care of all the audits we get and that’s been keeping me pretty busy lately.