Pharmacy Technician tips and tricks: How to do a better job and have more fun!

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Doing a good job is one of the best ways to improve your happiness at work.

So, whether you are just about to embark on your pharmacy technician career or have been in the game a while, it pays to look for ways to improve your game.

Let’s start with some hints and tips for hitting the ground running in a new job:

How to rock your first week in a new pharmacy technician job

Whether it’s your first-ever pharmacy technician job, or simply a change of employer, starting a new job can be tough.

But fear not, there are a few things you can do to make sure your settling in period goes without a hitch:

Ask lots of questions

During your first week in a new pharmacy, you might feel like you’re fumbling around trying to make sense of everything. 

After all, every pharmacy has its own unique way of working, and you are likely to be learning policies and systems as you go.

So, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Remember, everyone was new once.

Spend some time learning where everything is stored

When everything is new, it can be difficult to find what you need. And when it takes twice the time it should, even grabbing something simple like a fresh pair of gloves can seem like hard work. 

But don’t worry! Once you learn where the cleaning supplies, drugs, and coffee cups are kept, your days will get a lot easier.

So, spend some time walking around and familiarizing yourself with your surroundings during your first week. That way you’ll feel right at home in no time.

Don’t be afraid to take notes

During the first few days of a new job, the amount of information you receive can feel overwhelming.

And that’s why it can be such a good idea to keep a notebook on hand to write down key things you learn. Just be careful not to write down any sensitive information or passwords in your notes.

Be friendly!

If there’s one thing that’s almost guaranteed to make work more fun, it’s getting on well with your colleagues.

After all, you’re going to be spending more time with these people than many of your friends.  So smile and introduce yourself. You’ll be one of the gang in no time!

OK, so that’s your first week covered. What’s next?

Tips and tricks every pharmacy tech should know

If you have already passed your PTCB exam, you already possess all of the knowledge needed to be a safe and effective pharmacy tech (and if you still need to take your test, our satisfaction-guaranteed study guide can help!).

But just because your knowledge is up to standard, doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few things left to learn. Like how to make your job a little easier with these hints and tricks:

Schedule your time wisely

Every pharmacy has its own distinct rhythm. Some are busier in the morning. Others have a lunchtime rush. 

To make the most of your time, learn when you are likely to be busiest with customers and plan your day around that. There’s no point trying to clean while a huge queue of customers waits in line. And sorting drugs is best done when the pharmacy is quiet.

Fill prescriptions the smart way

When it comes to filling prescriptions, it pays to tackle the easy jobs first. So, start with things like birth control, inhalers, and drugs that come in stock bottles to get them out of the way.

And if you want to save some extra time, find patients who are getting the same medication refilled and tackle their prescriptions together. That way you cut down on time spent taking drugs off the shelf and tidying them away.

Count pills in groups of 5 or 10

When you are counting out pills it can save time to group them in sets of 5 or 10. That way you can easily keep track of how many you’ve sorted and are less likely to make a mistake.

Stick labels on the back of your hand before sticking them onto boxes

That way you can peel them off much more easily if you need to return the medication to stock.

Write down the expiration dates of drugs on the bottle

Part of your role as a pharmacy technician is to manage inventory. And writing down expiration dates on bottles will make your job a lot easier.

Not only that, but keeping a strict eye on what’s in date will help prevent you from dispensing out-of-date drugs to patients. And that’s a mistake no one wants to make!

Never stop learning

The world of pharmaceutical drugs never stands still and it is important that you keep your knowledge up to date.

And to see how much you remember from your PTCB exam, why not try our free PTCB practice test?

How to deal with some of the common stresses of being a pharmacy technician

Being a pharmacy technician is an interesting and rewarding job. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its difficulties. 

But with a little bit of thought, it’s possible to take the edge off even the worst stresses. Starting with how to deal with the public.

Learn how to cope with the public

Pharmacy technicians spend a lot of time interacting with the public, especially those that work in retail pharmacies.

And while most of these interactions are likely to be positive. You will probably also face your fair share of unhappy customers.

So, learn to take a deep breath and count to 5. Your customer might be in pain or dealing with a tricky situation and a little empathy can go a long way. Don’t be afraid to apologize when you’re in the wrong. 

But this doesn’t mean that you should put up with abuse. Remember, if you feel threatened at any point, you are perfectly within your rights to call security.

Get some comfy shoes

Being a pharmacy technician means spending a lot of time on your feet. So, for goodness sake, pick some comfy shoes!

If you want to be extra comfy, you could always spring for some gel inserts too.

Take time out to unwind

Your breaks are your time to relax and recharge. So try a little meditation or play your favorite song if it’s more your style. And don’t forget to fit in a healthy lunch to keep you well-fuelled for the rest of your shift.

Learn the difference between normal work stresses and a toxic environment

OK, so some stresses are to be expected in any job. But there is a huge difference between normal challenges we all face at work and a toxic environment.

So if you find yourself feeling unsupported by management, regularly not being allowed to take your breaks, or anything else that makes you feel undervalued and/or unsafe, don’t be afraid to go to HR or look for a different job. 

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones

Michelle is Medical Hero's in-house expert on the PTCB exam and pharmacy technician careers.