By Gladys Mae
Gladys is the Associate Director of Admissions & Student Services with over 10 years of experience at the International Career Institute.
Are you an organized individual who has an interest in medicine and enjoys helping people solve everyday problems? Do you want a career that offers challenges and opportunities to progress in the field? If so, then you may be interested in learning more about a job as a pharmacy assistant. In a world where healthcare is a predominant concern, pharmaceutical careers are not only critically important but also in higher demand.
Successful pharmacy assistants possess particular skills to fulfil the responsibilities associated with this position. Here are some traits you can employ to be the best pharmacy assistant you can be.
Pharmacy assistants are often the first staff members customers see when they enter a pharmacy. As such, a pharmacy assistant engages with customers, listens carefully to their concerns, and resolves the issue. Everyday customer-oriented duties include locating over-the-counter medications, answering basic medical inquiries, cashing out prescriptions, and referring customers to the pharmacist.
An essential fact of pharmacy life is the customer and patient’s needs come first, and an open, friendly, and engaging assistant can help reach that goal. A pharmacy assistant also needs to be calm in the face of customers who are in all likelihood, not feeling well. Having compassion, empathy, and an earnest desire to help people is necessary, especially when those people are unwell and may be impatient or short-tempered as a result.
Accurate data entry skills are also critical to the role of a pharmacy assistant. A regular responsibility in this field is receiving and confirming prescription orders. That often entails an understanding of digital data entry as many prescriptions are sent in the form of e-prescriptions. The pharmacy assistant needs to locate these digital orders and then verify a customer’s insurance coverage before the prescription is picked up.
If a customer brings in a written prescription, a pharmacy assistant must obtain and confirm a customer’s information and accurately record it in the computer system. The assistant needs to carefully enter the customer’s name with correct spelling, address, date of birth, phone number, insurance information, and any known drug allergies. An error in any of these areas can be dangerous for a customer, so accurate data entry is an essential skill in this career.
Processing prescriptions requires the utmost level of accuracy and attention to detail. Medication and over-the-counter products need to be dispensed quickly but even more so, accurately. Dispensing the correct medication and dosage is a necessity as a pharmacy assistant. Some medicines, prescribed or over-the-counter, can have severe or fatal side effects if a patient takes the wrong dose or combines them with other medications. Capable pharmacy assistants will have an eye for detail and a level of alertness whether they are inputting patient information into the computer or distributing medication.
Adept communication skills are a highly desirable trait in a pharmacy assistant and apply both to customers and colleagues. A pharmacy assistant needs to be a compassionate and empathetic listener. Employing tact and diplomacy when dealing with sick or frustrated customers is important to success in this career field. Additionally, pharmacy assistants need to work well as team members, interacting professionally and courteously with pharmacists, co-workers, healthcare professionals, and insurance company personnel.
Communication skills also encompass comprehension of verbal and written directives and the ability to understand medical terminology. The ability to relay that information to customers clearly and respectfully is of utmost importance to this position.
Even more than simple data entry, a familiarity with technology and proficiency with computer software programs are skills a pharmacy assistant needs to possess. Word processing knowledge and data-based software skills help assistants complete daily duties that include managing billing, printing labels, filing insurance claims, and inputting client data and medical information.
Although no formal qualifications are necessary to become a pharmacy assistant, many online diploma programs aid students in obtaining the tech-savviness pharmacies are looking for in their assistants. Having computer proficiencies makes you a more attractive candidate compared to applicants who are lacking in this skill.
A pharmacy assistant’s interpersonal and social skills help the pharmacy to run efficiently and smoothly. Some institutional knowledge of medicine and human anatomy is vital to the pharmacy assistant’s job; however, the social skills to work with a team in health-related settings is even more crucial.
Connecting to your community – both the customers and your colleagues – and maintaining a positive relationship with both parties is key to being an excellent pharmacy assistant. Focusing on facts rather than feelings is a way to use your social skills for the betterment of your pharmacy and your community.
Ready to start your career as a pharmacy assistant? Don’t wait another minute. Enrol in the International Career Institute’s Diploma for Pharmacy Assistant program and begin laying the groundwork for a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry.