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Are you considering a career change to enter the healthcare field? One of the quickest paths to consider is becoming a pharmacy assistant.
Among the reasons to consider becoming a pharmacy assistant is the potential for financial stability, personal fulfillment, and a good projected job outlook for the coming years. To improve the chances of success in this career path, it’s important to get the essential skills that successful pharmacy assistants possess.
In this article, we delve into 7 critical pharmacy assistant abilities, as well as ways Sundance College can help develop them.
Organization of Patient Records and Inventory
A pharmacy assistant is well organized and follows proper protocol to effectively manage appointments, patient records, communications, and inventory.
Throughout the day, a pharmacy assistant interacts with various individuals and manages a wide array of medications. Organization is required in prescription handling to ensure medication safety protocols. This skill will also help with drug inventory management enabling pharmacy assistants to accurately assess the necessity for replenishing supplies.
Focused Attention to Drug Dosage Calculations
Being very attentive to detail is another quality that pharmacy assistants exhibit, stemming from the high volume of interactions with people and the management of inventory.
Maintaining a vigilant approach to dosage calculations and accurate drug dispensing skills is crucial for safety. Additionally, their attention to details extends to crucial information such as patient availabilities and pharmacist instructions, allowing them to effectively coordinate and execute their tasks.
Problem Solving and Troubleshooting in a Pharmacy Setting
Pharmacy assistants maintain a composed and professional demeanor to effectively address any arising issues. They can help solve patient issues through implementing experience and training through their diploma program. For example, pharmacy assistants exercise discernment by prioritizing patients seeking pain medication over those with routine maintenance prescriptions, alleviating patients' discomfort much sooner.
Elderly patients commonly have difficulties recalling medication names for blood pressure management. A pharmacy assistant can troubleshoot by using their knowledge of basic types of medications and looking at patient records to identify the right medication.
Clear Communication with Patients and the Pharmacy Team
A pharmacy assistant’s ability to demonstrate effective communication in healthcare holds significant importance as they interact constantly with patients, pharmacists, doctors, and suppliers. Clear and concise communication, whether through email, phone, or other mediums, are pivotal aspects of their role.
In addition, a high level of sensitivity and professionalism is necessary when communicating with patients who might be experiencing injury or illness. A proficient pharmacy assistant consistently maintains a tactful and considerate approach in their communication.
Proficiency with Computer Skills and Specialized Software
A successful pharmacy assistant can demonstrate a level of proficiency with a computer for managing records and communicating with members of the healthcare team.
Pharmacy assistants require pharmacy software proficiency as they utilize specialized software for their record management and supply orders. Additionally, they commonly employ basic administrative tools like emails, word documents, and spreadsheets.
Collaboration within the Pharmacy Team
Pharmacy Assistants support pharmacists and, potentially, other healthcare team members. They must demonstrate the ability to work with others because they play a significant role within a team setting.
A good pharmacy assistant will have initiative, accountability, a positive attitude, and thoughtfulness towards others. They demonstrate healthcare teamwork and approach other team members with a willingness to collaborate. They are also very capable of leading others in completing tasks.
Pharmaceutical Knowledge and Expertise
There are some specific skills that a pharmacy assistant must have to complete tasks. They require knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology, pharmacy software, dosage calculation, drug compounding knowledge, and other essential competencies.
These acquired skills and knowledge enable pharmacy assistants to achieve proficiency in all aspects of their job.
The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Assistant
Pharmacy assistants play an integral role in pharmacy operations. Their job responsibilities are crucial for ensuring the smooth operation of the pharmacy and delivering optimal service to patients when they collect their medication.
Providing Exceptional Customer Service for Patients
Customer service in a pharmacy is a significant aspect of a pharmacy assistant’s duties. They are responsible for prescription filling. Informing patients about medication frequency and proper dosage is also part of their responsibility, along with addressing any inquiries or concerns patients might have.
Performing Administrative Tasks
Pharmacy assistants manage various administrative duties within the pharmacy. They oversee the updating of patient and inventory information and facilitate communication among patients, doctors, and pharmacists. In a retail pharmacy setting, they are also tasked with managing cash register operations.
Managing Drug Inventory
Pharmacy assistants maintain both prescription and over-the-counter drug inventory management. They maintain inventory control in the pharmacy by keeping records, placing orders for new stock, and ensuring proper medication storage procedures. Organizational skills are paramount in handling supplies, while meticulous attention is required for monitoring sales and expiration dates, guiding the need for additional stock in the pharmacy.
Processing Patient Prescriptions
Processing prescriptions is a key responsibility of a pharmacy assistant, showcasing a range of comprehensive skills. This includes providing customer service during patient interactions, employing organizational and computer proficiency in medication record-keeping and management, utilizing technical expertise to calculate dosages accurately for prescription filling, and demonstrating attention to detail in processing payments via insurance providers.
How to Develop Essential Skills for Pharmacy Assistants
The essential skills discussed in this article can all be developed through a comprehensive diploma program. Education is the main driver of skill development therefore selecting the right career college is an important investment towards this career path. Consider enrolling in a career college that offers ample practical work experience, a very detailed curriculum, and a supportive system with helpful instructors.
Get your Pharmacy Assistant Diploma at Sundance College
With Sundance College’s Pharmacy Assistant diploma program, students can begin their career in less than a year.
Courses are designed to help students seamlessly enter the workforce, with support from industry experienced instructors. Our 5-week practicum provides valuable work experience directly translating to the field.
The best part about the program is the flexibility it offers through the online class option. This means learning is now made accessible to students who may be busy with other priorities in life. Take Pharmacy Assistant graduate, Jane M., for example, a busy mom who was able to find a way to complete the program in 2022.
“For a busy mom like me who juggles time between work, studies and family, I want to thank my instructors who were very accommodating and understanding, thank you for your efforts.”
Learn more about the accelerated pharmacy assistant diploma by reaching out to one of our academic advisors and find out how soon you can begin your journey.