As a recent college graduate, I began my search for a career with the common goal of finding a job I could enjoy for the rest of my life. When I entered pharmacy school, my first goal was to find a position that would provide me with a steady income and hours that I enjoyed. Second on my list was to select a Pharmacy Tech Certification Program that would allow me to specialize in a certain area of medication or to acquire additional skills and be prepared to jump into a wider field if required. Lastly, I set forth on my journey to become a certified Pharmacy Assistant (CPA). As each goal was reached, I looked at my career in pharmacy as being the most fulfilling job in the world.
Why Pharmacy As A Career? The reason many people enter pharmacology is to help others. By providing injection drugs, filling sterile injections, and administering oral medications to their patients, pharmacists help people avoid the dangers of illegal drugs. Some are also responsible for filling prescription medications and for administering treatments to those in pain. If you have the knowledge and skills necessary to administer these drugs, you can have a very rewarding career as a Pharmacy Technician or Pharmacy Technologist.
How Do I Become A Pharmacy Technician? To be employed as a Pharmacy Technician, you must enroll in a pharmacy technician program. This program consists of classes covering both technical aspects of medication administration, as well as business and legal aspects of being a Pharmacy Technician. Once you complete your education, you will be ready to begin working as a Pharmacy Technician or Pharmacy Technologist, filling injection drugs and filling sterile containers with penile suppositories and tablets.
What Are the Basics? As a Pharmacy Technician, your job will focus on administering and preparing solutions for injections of different drugs. You will need to be skilled at accurately measuring the volume of a particular solution, weighing a patient, preparing and administering the right amount of medicine, and maintaining the correct dosing method (for example, using a metronidazole injection, which is three milligrams, and using a tamped reservoir, which is six ounces). You will also be trained to use sterile containers for injections, and to measure the correct amount of a suppository. You will perform clerical duties under the direction of a RN or BS, or other trained professionals.
To prepare the injection solution, you will need a sterile mixing equipment, such as a glass ampoule, needle, syringe, and a glass vial. To measure the correct amount of a drug, you will use a graduated cylinder that looks like a beer bottle with a graduated cylinder filled with sterile water. Each vial contains a dose of the medicine and will dispense one unit of that drug to the unit being measured. For example, if the vial contains thirty units of amodiaquine syrup, it will contain thirty units of the drug, divided by thirty parts of the vial, which measures one unit of syrup to one unit of amodiaquine syrup.
The administration of medications is another aspect of pharmacy that pharmacists are trained to do. In addition to administering medications, they are also able to provide patients with information about disease prevention, symptom management, and other details necessary for an overall treatment plan. They can also order samples of prescription drugs, so a patient can have an idea of the dosage of the drug they require. This is called pre-authorization. Pharmacy assistants are also able to educate patients on home remedy treatments, diet tips, and self-help guides.
A final aspect of pharmacy that is important to understand in order to gain employment is wrapping or caps. These materials include a protective device, usually a small glass vial, that houses an injectable drug. Some pharmacies offer different types of injection containers including glass vials, plastic injections (phthalmoscopic), or syringes (hemodynamic). Pharmacy assistants can also help pharmacists with filling orders and instructions for use of various medications.
In the last few decades, injection devices have improved in their accuracy and safety. It used to be necessary to inject a single gram of medicine so that a large surface area would be available for the drug to be injected into. As part of research and development, the number of needles has increased so that the surface area has also increased; however, there are still no devices currently available that can accommodate more than a single gram of medicine at a time. Injection machines can be extremely costly, so some pharmacies prefer not to operate them unless absolutely required.