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Happy young pharmacist standing behind the counter and holding a box of medications

3 Ways Pharmacies Help the Community During COVID-19

Pharmacies have always played an integral role in local communities. With coronavirus affecting every region, the role of pharmacies has grown and expanded to supporting the community on an even wider scale. Here are 4 ways that pharmacies help the community during COVID-19.

 

1. Sharing accurate medical advice

Individuals with and without existing conditions are looking for answers to their pressing medical questions in regards to how COVID-19 may affect their health. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in your local community are usually the first point-of-care for patients, and thank to their wide expertise they are able to share medical advice that is relevant to each individual. Many people have many questions about potential drugs or vaccines which they can receive accurate and up-to-date information on at their local pharmacy. Members of the community with pre-existing conditions may require additional drug supply management when facing situation like lockdowns and quarantines, and pharmacy staff are able to provide guidance on how patients can find better quality of life and piece of mind through this guidance.

 

2. Administering testing

Many regions across Canada are seeing pharmacies expanding to include COVID-19 testing, which is a crucial element to help stop the spread and flatten the curve. Pharmacy staff including pharmacy technicians are now becoming a resource on the frontline of fighting COVID-19 through their hard work to ease the burden on hospitals and other medical facilities by administering safe, socially distanced testing.

 

3. Advocating for the Community

Many pharmacy staff end up becoming the most frequent healthcare professional in a patient’s network due to their connectivity to their local community.  Due to this close relationship, pharmacies can end up hearing about the needs and wants of patients in their region. Many advancements such as medication delivery, drive-through pharmacies, and telemedicine are being advocated by the very pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who support their local patients and community at large.

Want a rewarding career working in a pharmacy?

The role and importance of pharmacies to their community is only growing during this pandemic, and so is the need for qualified staff. Consider jumpstarting a career supporting your community in an in-demand job working in a pharmacy by enrolling in  KLC’s Pharmacy Technician diploma program!

Master Inventory When You Become a Pharmacy Technician

pharmacy technician diploma programInventory is a common responsibility for pharmacy technicians. This is especially so in retail pharmacy, but also occasionally in health centres and hospitals. Inventory can be a challenging task, as it demands that adequate levels of stock be kept to serve patients, while minimizing excess or unnecessary stock. Properly managed inventory keeps patients safe, prevents waste and manages costs.

With the right management systems and use of technology, inventory can be kept balanced and organized. When everything is in order, pharmacy operations run smoothly and patients are able to access the medications that they need. Read on for some of the ways you can master inventory in your career!

Using Perpetual Inventory Systems When You Become a Pharmacy Technician

A perpetual inventory system keeps constant track of inventory. This is as opposed to a periodic system, which only occasionally counts inventory. Computerized perpetual inventory systems are very common, as they’re able to track turnover continuously and predict what drugs will be needed and when. These systems are also able to notify you and other staff members of errors that pop up, or automatically order medication according to programmed reorder times.

Mastering this technology will help lower your own work load and that of the entire staff. A computerized system can work with portable devices and acts as a second opinion, double checking amounts and needs before you have to. When you become a pharmacy technician, you will have responsibilities like taking prescriptions, labelling, giving instructions and processing payments. With a perpetual inventory system you can make these responsibilities go by much more quickly and efficiently.

Computerized systems improve accuracy and organization

Computerized systems improve accuracy and organization

Learn Turnover Rates and Expiry Dates after Pharmacy Technician College Courses

An inventory turnover rate is calculated by dividing the cost of goods sold by the average inventory. Failing to keep track of turnover rates in any industry will affect efficiency and profit, but in pharmaceuticals, it can also mean that patients don’t get the medications they need. This is a serious issue, so it’s important that you keep an eye on it.  Factors affecting turnover rates of drugs include location and time of year. For example, as a student in a pharmacy technician diploma program, you probably know that during flu and cold season in Canada, flu and cold medicine is in high demand. Similarly, a pharmacy located next to a pain clinic will experience faster turnover for pain medications.

Expiration dates are an important consideration in managing inventory, as ordering too much of something can mean that your stock expires before it is sold. Medications have specific expirations that you’ll need to be aware of in order to increase revenue and keep patients safe. For example, epinephrine generally expires after 1 year, so it must be ordered carefully with that in mind.

Understand the Pharmacy Revenue Cycle to Better Manage Inventory

The pharmacy revenue cycle is the step-by-step process that ensures patients and providers are billed properly so that the pharmacy generates revenue. It consists of such things as patient access, clinical documentation, coding, billing, denial management and reimbursement. By optimizing this cycle, pharmacies can potentially increase their revenue.

Making sure data is accurate is a big part of a successful revenue cycle

Making sure data is accurate is a big part of a successful revenue cycle

Improving data integrity and eliminating errors, for example, help optimize the cycle. Keeping accurate billing data, medication codes, and receipts also help prevent transactions from falling through the cracks. By reducing errors during the revenue cycle, you also help pharmacies better track inventory. Because you’ll complete a pharmacy placement during your pharmacy technician program, you’ll have the experience to help ensure errors are kept to a minimum.

Are you interested in a pharmacy technician college course?

Contact KLC College for more information!

Want to Become a Pharmacy Technician? Here Are the 5 Most Important Skills You’ll Need

pharmacy technician college course
Pharmacy technicians play an essential role in helping pharmacies meet the important and varied medicinal needs of their patients. Responsible for the technical aspects of both new and refill prescriptions, they ensure that each patient, dosage form, dose, and doctor is properly recorded and that prescriptions are quickly and accurately filled.

Pharmacy technicians prepare prescription products by compounding, counting, measuring, and labelling. They gather patient information for the pharmacist to review, and sometimes perform routine data entry. For many people, being a pharmaceutical technician offers a deeply rewarding career path, performing a valuable and necessary service for pharmacies and their customers.

If you’re considering training for a new career as a pharmacy technician, you might be wondering what kind of skills and qualities would make you suited for the role. Here are five of the most important.

Pharmacy Technicians Depend on Good Communication Skills

Communication skills are very important for pharmacy technicians. In any situation where medications are being dispensed, having strong written and verbal communication skills can be essential in ensuring that people are taking the correct amounts of the right medications, and that they have all the information they need to do so safely. Whether speaking with pharmacists or other co-workers, pharmacy technicians need to know that they’re being understood.

Attention to Detail is Important When You Become a Pharmacy Technician

Attention to detail is one of the most important skills to have for anyone working with medications. When they’re updating patient records, preparing prescriptions, counting out tablets, and labelling medications, pharmacy technicians need to make sure that they pay attention to every detail. If you enjoy detail-oriented tasks and often find yourself double- or triple-checking your own work, then you might just excel in a pharmacy technician college course.

become a pharmacy technician

Attention to detail is one of the most important skills for anyone working in a pharmacy setting

Strong Math Skills Will Come in Useful

Many of the common tasks performed by pharmacy assistants, such as rationing medications and converting measurements, involve working with numbers. While pharmacy technicians don’t need to be math-whizzes, at least some degree of mathematical aptitude will be very helpful in ensuring the accuracy of customers’ medications and doses.

Computer Skills Will be Helpful in Your Career

Like many jobs today, pharmacy technicians can expect to use computers regularly during their day-to-day work. When you become a pharmacy technician, you’ll use special computer programs to keep track of important, and often highly sensitive, information, like patient histories and current prescriptions, as well as details regarding the composition of specific medications, so some familiarity with computers will come in handy.

pharmacy technician diploma program

Pharmacy technicians should be comfortable working with computers

Pharmacy Technicians Need to Stay Well-Organized

The work of a pharmacy technician can be fast-paced at times. Having strong organizational skills will go a long way in staying on top of the various tasks you’ve been assigned and making sure that each customer receives the correct prescription. If you enjoy multi-tasking, excel at managing your own time, and are able to stay organized even when things get hectic, then these skills will serve you well as a pharmacy technician.

Are you interested in training for a career as a pharmacy technician?

Contact KLC College to learn more about our pharmacy technician diploma program.

Considering a Career Training Program? Learn the Difference Between a Pharmacy Assistant and Technician

career training program

As Canada’s population ages, the demand for pharmaceuticals is likewise expected to increase. In fact, Statistics Canada reports that the number of pharmacists in Ontario has nearly doubled in the past decade. All those new pharmacists require a dedicated team behind them to make sure their pharmacies are running smoothly and can fully address the needs of their customers.

Among the many important roles within a pharmaceutical team are pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants. If you’ve ever considered a career in a pharmacy, you may be wondering what technicians and assistants do and how these two careers differ from one another.

Read on to learn how pharmacy technicians and assistants play very different, but essential, roles behind the pharmacy counter.

Pharmacy Technicians Focus on the Technical Aspects of the Pharmacy

A pharmacy technician’s main responsibility is to support the pharmacist by helping to fill prescriptions. Pharmacy technicians must know how to measure and mix medications, retrieve a patient’s medical history, and take calls from doctor’s offices. Additionally, technicians assist wit—and may even oversee—inventory management, including reordering products and helping to stock and organize shelves.

To become a pharmacy technician, you’ll need to register with the Ontario College of Pharmacists. While there are several different paths to registration, one of the most common is by completing a pharmacy technician program that is accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP). Registration also requires aspiring technicians to complete an exam and prove good character. The purpose of registration is to ensure that pharmacy technicians across the province all meet the same standards.

KLC College’s pharmacy technician program is CCAPP accredited

KLC College’s pharmacy technician program is CCAPP accredited

Pharmacy Assistants Focus on Customer Service and Clerical Duties

The role of the pharmacy assistant focuses primarily on clerical duties, such as answering phone calls and taking prescriptions from customers to give to the pharmacist or technician. These professionals also play an essential role in maintaining the public face of the pharmacy by greeting customers, taking down their contact information and ensuring retail displays are tidy and well-stocked. Since pharmacy assistants interact quite a bit with customers, a good pharmacy assistant program will help students develop essential communication skills, ensuring they thrive in their careers.

In some pharmacies, assistants may be allowed take on more advanced duties behind the counter, such as counting medications and entering new orders. Sometimes technicians may even be permitted to take part in mixing medications and labelling bottles; however, this is only done under the direct supervision of the pharmacist or pharmacy technician, who verify the pharmacy assistant’s work.

Pharmacy assistants do not have to be registered, and training to become a pharmacy assistant typically takes less time than for becoming a technician.

KLC College’s pharmacy assistant courses teaches students about pharmacy management and inventory

KLC College’s pharmacy assistant courses teaches students about pharmacy management and inventory

Choosing Whether to Become a Pharmacy Technician or Pharmacy Assistant

So which career path is right for you? This will depend greatly on your personality and your career goals. If you want to get started in your new career quickly, then the fact that the pharmacy assistant program can be completed in less time than the technician program is definitely a big incentive for becoming an assistant. Also, if you are attracted to the customer service aspect of working at a pharmacy then the assistant position will likely be more worthwhile.

While technicians also need to have excellent customer service skills, most of their work is done behind the counter. As such, if you prefer the more technical and medical aspects of the pharmacy, such as filling prescriptions, calling doctor’s offices and tracking down patients’ medical histories, then you may be more suited to a role as a technician. Additionally, a career as a pharmacy technician may be right for you if you’re naturally independent and can work with little supervision and guidance, since technicians are supervised only by the pharmacist, unlike assistants, who are supervised by both the pharmacist and technician.

Are you interested in pursuing a new career?

Contact KLC College today to learn more about our career training program!

4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When you Become a Pharmacy Technician

pharmacy technician college course

Medication relies on accuracy. It must be taken by the right patient in the right way at the right time in order to have the desired effect. Mistakenly taking the wrong or ineffective medication can cause a variety of complications, ranging from mild to serious and even life-threatening. In the United States alone, there are a possible 1.5 million preventable adverse drug effects (ADEs) every year, with medication-related events being the most common.

Pharmacy technicians play a major role in ensuring the safety of their clients, and should follow the guidelines and systems in place when preparing and serving prescriptions. Here are a few common mistakes to keep in mind to avoid any potential ADEs.

Pay Attention to Abbreviations

Abbreviations are a useful way of providing shorthand information quickly, but also have a potential risk for error, as they can be ambiguous or misunderstood, especially when handwritten. The use of non-universal or untraditional abbreviations may not be understood the same way between two people, and new drugs in particular can be misread as a different product.

When filing or entering a new drug alert, students in a pharmacy technician college course should be sure to include medication interactions, duplications, and other clinical warnings before the information is relayed to the leading pharmacist.

Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program Grads Should Be Aware of Medication Mix-Ups

Human error is to be expected in any profession, but for pharmaceuticals it can carry more serious consequences. Misreading the handwriting or abbreviations on a label can greatly affect a client’s health as well as the reputation of the pharmacy itself, and graduates of a pharmacy technician diploma program should instead take the necessary time to ensure their information is correct and avoid potential mistakes.

Be aware of lookalike labels to avoid giving incorrect medication

Be aware of lookalike labels to avoid giving incorrect medication

Filling and dispensing the wrong prescription can be worsened by what is known as confirmation bias, which means something is chosen because it is familiar or expected, rather than relevant to the actual information. For instance, the shape, size, or color of the container is mistaken for a similar product, and is thusly passed onto the client.

In order to prevent a mix-up of lookalike medications, try to keep the prescriptions physically separate from one another, and try to keep similar products distinct. A second identifier may be necessary at the point of sale to verify the correct medication is being dispensed. Additionally, bar code technology can be used, and a quick label scan can cut down on human error and save on later complications.

Stay Informed and Regularly Update Patient Profiles

One of the more serious mistakes a pharmacy technician can make is simply failing to recognize or inquire about other medications the patient may be taking. The process of the prescribed medication may be disrupted with the introduction of certain drugs, thus making the prescription less effective or even rendered totally ineffective. To avoid more serious consequences, stay regularly updated on a patient’s medical information, as well as any major health events, especially in regards to pregnancy.

Patient lifestyle changes can affect treatments and medication options

Patient lifestyle changes can affect treatments and medication options

Avoid Mistaken Identity After Your Pharmacy Technician College Course

As mentioned before, a career in the pharmaceutical industry places a heavy emphasis on detail. One of the more common mistakes involving a prescription drop-off is simply administering medication to the wrong client, typically someone with a similar last name.

As clients do not often remember to check labels before taking their medication, pharmacy technicians assume most of the responsibility to ensure they are given the correct prescription. To avoid a potential misidentification, ask for specific information such as the patient’s address or date of birth, and check this information on the prescription receipt or vial.

Do you want to become a pharmacy technician?

Contact KLC College for more information!

Valuable Industry Expertise You’ll Gain in a Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program

pharmacy technician college course

For those looking to undertake an exciting and fulfilling career, getting trained to be a pharmacy technician could be a great decision. A great pharmacy technician program will give you the skills and industry expertise you’ll need to grow and thrive in this role, as well as the technical competencies expected of pharmacy technicians by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA), with an emphasis on drug distribution systems, collaboration, safety and quality.

Are you curious about the industry expertise an excellent pharmacy technician program can impart to you? Read on to find out more!

Grads of Pharmacy Technician Courses Will Gain Comprehensive Drug Distribution Skills

One of the principal skills a pharmacy technician needs is a thorough knowledge of how to properly use and maintain various drug distribution systems, such as medication carts, infusion pumps, and automated dispensing units. With a great pharmacy technician program, students will receive plenty of instruction on how to effectively operate this equipment, as well as best practices for sterile preparations.

Some healthcare colleges also offer clinical placements which place the student into an actual work environment to receive hands-on training. There, students will be able to practice and master using these systems in the real world so that they will know exactly how and when to operate them when they become a pharmacy technician. Graduates will also learn how to appropriately prepare prescriptions, and how to cut, pack, weigh and calculate dosages in accordance with the pharmacist’s instructions.

Pharmacy Technician Diploma Programs Prepare Pros to Help Manage Their Workplace

Another important duty of a pharmacy technician is making sure that their workplace is well-managed. Pharmacy technicians will often need to make sure that drugs are properly stored, such as chilling certain drugs in a fridge, both so that they can prevent them from perishing and to ensure that they are safe for patients to use. Pharmacy technicians also need to check their stock frequently to discard any medications that have become expired, and remove any drugs that have been recalled or no longer comply with health legislation.

become a pharmacy technician

Making sure pharmacies are stocked according to industry regulation is crucial

Students in a pharmacy technician college course will also gain expertise in recognizing and addressing safety risks. For example, if a piece of pharmacy equipment was in danger of injuring a colleague, the technician would report that to the pharmacist. Additionally, they may need to work alongside the pharmacist to appropriately document the safety hazard, and help brainstorm different ways that those types of risks can be prevented.

Graduates of Pharmacy Technician Programs Become Expert Collaborators

Pharmacy technicians do much more than work alone in the stock room. Over the course of their day, they will need to work closely with pharmacists and pharmacy assistants, as well as other healthcare and retail professionals on occasion. As such, students in pharmacy technician courses will often learn essential communication skills so that they are capable of working not just with other members of their team, but with patients and clients as well.

pharmacy technician diploma program

Pharmacy technicians are part of a diverse inter-professional team

Apart from ensuring that drugs are both safe to use and properly packaged, pharmacy technicians will collaborate with pharmacists in promoting general health and wellness, supporting patients, and helping with disease prevention and chronic disease management. Pharmacy technicians will also be taught to respect the limitations of their occupation, and defer to the expertise of a pharmacist whenever necessary.

Are you ready to start your career as a pharmacy technician?

Register for a Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program at KLC!