Who is a Pharmacy Technician? What is the difference between a Pharmacy technician and a Pharmacist?
There is a difference between Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians even though they work hand in hand and in the same workplace. First, what is Pharmacy? Pharmacy is the clinical health science that links medicine with chemistry and it is charged with the discovery, production, disposal, safe and effective use and control of medications and drugs.
PHARMACIST VS PHARMACY TECHNICIAN
A Pharmacy technician is a health care provider who performs pharmacy related functions, working collaboratively with a licensed pharmacist to ensure patients receive premium care. Pharmacy technicians are not Pharmacists because they do not have the requisite medical training to give medical advice to patients unlike pharmacists.
A Pharmacist is a well trained health professional who is responsible for the management and distribution of medicines and ha the scientific knowledge to counsel patients on how to correctly use medicines and the potential side effects. Opening a Pharmacy is the sole responsibility of a Pharmacist. Pharmacy Technicians are accountable to the supervising Pharmacist in a Pharmacy whether community, out-patient or hospital.
A Pharmacy Technician’s education comprises of either an Associate’s degree in Pharmacy or a full four year college degree as a Pharmacy Technician as well as internship to gain clinical experience. Training, Certification and Licensing of Pharmacy Technicians vary from country to country and most times Re-certification is required for Pharmacy Technicians to continue to practice.
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN JOB
A Pharmacy Technician’s job description comprises majorly of two areas; Using their technical skills for handling medication and Customer Service. They work in several workplaces like Hospitals, Community Pharmacies, Primary care, Pharmaceutical production or sales in the Pharmaceutical industry, education and out-patient Pharmacies.
Roles of Pharmacy Technicians in Community Pharmacies and retail/out-patient Pharmacies include;
👉Making sure prescriptions are filled
👉Managing your file in their database
👉Referring you to a Pharmacist for further counsel where necessary
👉Detailed instruction and sometime advice on how to use over-the-counter, OTC drugs
👉Creating bottle and box labels
👉Ensuring the efficiency and safety of Pharmaceutical operations
👉Answering questions on illnesses or health conditions
👉Performing basic cashier duties
ROLES OF PHARMACY TECHNICIANS IN HOSPITALS
In places such as Hospitals, Pharmacy Technicians perform a slightly different job functions than their colleagues in community pharmacies. In community pharmacies, there is direct contact between Pharmacy Technicians and patients while in Hospitals there is little to no contact between Pharmacy Technicians and patients.
Communication is majorly between Nurses or Physicians and is carried out using pneumatic-tube system or electronically. Pharmacy Technicians may also be required to make IV’s which requires special training in aseptic techniques (to prevent the contamination of IV’s) and clean room procedures. They may also carryout simple billing and inventory.
WHAT A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN CAN AND CANNOT DO
In all settings, a Pharmacy Technician cannot open a pharmacy, dispense medication without a Pharmacist’s approval, consult for a patient regarding their medication (because they do not have the requisite medical training to give medical advice to patients), formulate drugs and medication, and work independently in absence of a supervising Pharmacist.
LEGAL LIMITATIONS OF A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN
There are also legal limitations to the job description of Pharmacy Technicians which include; The pharmacy employing Pharmacy Technicians shall be responsible for the supervision and performance of such Technicians. A Pharmacy Technician may only perform tasks which do not require professional judgment and which are subject to verification to assist a Pharmacist in the practice of Pharmacy, Confidentiality in dealing with patients, such limitations must be enforced to avoid exposure to legal liability.
PHARMACIST AND PHARMACY TECHNICIAN SALARY RANGE
This is perhaps where the difference between Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technicians is also marked. It should be noted that there is a huge difference in the private and government pay for both Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. Averagely, a Pharmacy Technician earns about N60,000 monthly after tax and N720,000 yearly after tax. As a fresh graduate of Pharmacy, your average salary is about N75,000- N100,000 in a private institution while in a government institution your average salary would be around N165,000- N200,000.
As a mid-level Pharmacist in a private institution your salary would be around N150,000- 250,000 while in a government institution, your average salary would be around N250,000- N450,000. As an experienced Pharmacist in a private institution, you would earn about N200,000- N400,000 averagely while in a government institution you would earn about N450,000- N800,000 averagely.
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