Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Becoming a Pharmacy Technician is a rewarding career in healthcare and one that does not require a lengthy period of schooling. While for some this is reason enough to explore the occupation, for others, the customer service interaction involved in this healthcare career is ideal and the inherent ability to help others seems extremely fulfilling. What is the role of a pharmacy technician and why would one consider this profession?
In the case of Victoria Bleggi, CPhT, who has been working at Sam’s Club in Jacksonville, NC the past seven years in the pharmacy, she sees her pursuit of a career as a Pharm Tech as the right choice for her because she gets to help others. She says if she had to pick a career again, her decision would undoubtedly remain the same.
“I love what I do be because I honestly believe helping others is what I am meant to do,” Bleggi said. “I decided to take a tech class a few years ago and have been certified since April 2014.”
Since becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) herself, Bleggi believes the single greatest reason others should consider the career involves being able to help customers save money on their prescriptions. She explained that all too often she interacts with people, especially seniors, who cannot afford to both eat and pay for their medications.
“I have spent many hours helping patients find manufacturer’s coupons for medications that are incredibly expensive,” Bleggi said. “People often do not understand their insurance and prescription formulas. They need explanations for why one prescription costs only $5 and another, similar medication is $50.”
Bleggi added that there are also customers who have no insurance and who are desperate to afford these medications. Helping these customers can add increasing the value of a career as a Pharm Tech.
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“One particular patient of mine with no insurance saved over $800 a month when he allowed us to transfer his medications from another pharmacy,” Bleggi said. “He broke down in tears at my counter when he realized how much he could save. He was not the first patient to do that.”
Bleggi continued that, because the location of her pharmacy which is in a town ranked highly within the United States for opioid overdoses, she interacts with many customers needing the medication, Suboxone, which treats addiction. She noted that these patients are always gracious to be treated with kindness and helpfulness, rather than as the “addicts” which they are otherwise perceived as.
“Patients tell me all the time that they are treated like addicts at other pharmacies,” Bleggi said. “These patients come in expecting to be treated like they are everywhere else and are surprised when they find a difference in my pharmacy. It is not a technician’s responsibility to judge.”
In addition to customers facing addiction, Bleggi explained that she often has the unique opportunity to get to know each of her customers on a weekly or monthly basis. Getting to know the details of their lives, she frequently learns when one is having surgery, has received a diagnosis or has just had a baby.
“I am part of their healthcare team and they trust me to keep everything private,” Bleggi said. “They also know I am empathetic, and worry about the patients that have not been in for a while. I have become personal friends with many to whom I have lent an ear to during difficult times.”
Working at a small pharmacy, which staffs only two Pharmacists and two technicians, Bleggi concluded that becoming a dynamic team member is another reason to consider a career as a CPhT. Without administrative work being completed by a Pharm Tech, she explained that a pharmacy would not be able to function smoothly.
“I enjoy being part of a team,” Bleggi said. “There are many administrative tasks that need to be taken care of and Pharm Techs are expected to handle them so that the pharmacists can handle the things that only the pharmacist is legally allowed to handle.”
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