Check this: Registered Technicians are Essential to Pharmacy Practice


I recently hired another registered pharmacy technician into my practice.  It didn’t take long before she became an essential part of the team, and with her amazing communication skills, she’s become sought after by our patients.  When I asked her why she left her previous job in a community pharmacy, she disclosed that it was because the pharmacists there did not allow her to practice to her full scope. She could not do final check on prescriptions, could not counsel on devices nor perform many other tasks she was licensed to take responsibility for.  When she gave her notice, the pharmacy manager told her she understood why she was leaving and supported her in pursuing a job where she could practice to her full scope.


This was stunning to me.  It was hard to believe that rather than change their practice, the pharmacy manager chose to let a valuable employee leave.


This certainly isn’t an isolated incident.   I’ve presented continuing education sessions to registered technicians and have heard very similar reports about pharmacists not allowing them to practice at the “top” of their license.  Meaning, they were not allowed to do final check on prescriptions or unit dose packaging, they were not allowed to counsel on devices and some not even allowed to count out narcotic medications.


This seems entirely contrary to the goals of pharmacists who typically state they do not have enough time for clinical work and engaging patients in expanded scope services.


Pharmacists cannot possibly evolve into providing expanded scope services without accepting registered technicians for the full professionals they have now become.


Working to the fullest potential of their license is empowering for any profession. Technicians and pharmacists alike tend to have more job satisfaction when they are doing what they are trained to do, and job satisfaction is key to a successful pharmacy team.


Here are three key areas where pharmacy technicians are often under-utilized:


  • Final Check. There is no reason for pharmacists to do the final check on prescriptions.  The cognitive check and counseling of the patient can be done along with the initial assessment at intake.  Technicians carry their own malpractice insurance to take responsibility for the final sign off and dispense to the patient.  Pharmacists should also not be spending their time checking unit dose packaging or blister packs.  A cognitive assessment should be done by the pharmacist at regular intervals, such as quarterly, or when there is a change in therapy. This does not include having to check the final product or packaging.


  • Identifying expanded scope and billable services. My technicians really shine in this area.  They are continually identifying patients requiring pharmacist services, including those requiring injections, medication reviews, follow up and prescribing services.  They triage patients, set up appointments, and market these services to patients.


  • Teaching devices. Teaching a patient how to use a device such as an aerochamber or a blood glucose meter can be time consuming.  Utilizing the skills and expertise of registered technicians in device training is efficient but often underutilized in pharmacy practice.


Allowing all staff to work to their full potential, increases efficiency and job satisfaction as well as providing an excellence in patient care.

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