Top Challenges for Hospital Pharmacy Technicians

October 19, 2018

As a hospital pharmacy technician, you are a key member of the pharmacy and of the larger medical team.

You’re the “go-to” for medical staff who need prompt assistance with medications. And you’re the detail-oriented team member who acts as the steward of the pharmacy’s inventory. In your role, you face many demands that even the most seasoned technicians consider challenging.

Although patient care is at the center of everything you do, you often have to wrestle with specific day-to-day challenges. These challenges fall into three main categories:

  1. Medical knowledge
  2. Inventory management
  3. Fast-paced work environment.

The way you respond to these challenges directly affects the day-to-day functioning of your hospital’s pharmacy and, therefore, the hospital’s ability to care for its patients.

As a hospital pharmacy technician, your challenges may include:

Medical & Procedural Knowledge

  • Knowing the medications. In the hospital environment, a pharmacy technician is counted on to have a deeper working knowledge of medications. You are counted on to be readily familiar with many of the products that are ordered and dispensed through the hospital pharmacy. This ensures that patients are receiving the correct and proper treatments at all times, and prevents license forfeiture, which can happen if the wrong medication is dispensed.
  • Knowing drug storage conditions. A big part of “knowing the medications” is understanding the required storage conditions for each product in your hospital’s pharmacy. Some items must be stored at specific temperatures to maintain potency and avoid spoilage.

Inventory Management

  • Accurate and regular inventory management. In addition to preparing and dispensing medications in a fast-paced setting, hospital pharmacy technicians are counted on to manage the pharmacy’s inventory accurately. This means removing expired and recalled products from the hospital pharmacy supply while ensuring that the pharmacy is stocked with ample inventory to meet the needs of the hospital.
  • Legally compliant removal of controlled substances. For the hospital’s drug return process, pharmacy technicians must be able to identify and sort controlled substances in a compliant manner. Unused controlled drugs that are not properly identified and disposed of lead to serious legal and regulatory compliance issues for the hospital.
  • Timely removal of expired drugs. Swift and accurate removal of these products helps ensure that the hospital’s inventory is stocked only with products that are safe and viable for administration to patients.

Operating in a Fast-paced Environment

  • Focus and accuracy in a fast-paced environment. Hospital pharmacy technicians must be able to perform highly detailed work in a busy environment with numerous potential distractions. Developing a laser-like focus while completing critical patient care tasks is critical.
  • Organize and prioritize. As a key clinical resource for the hospital medical team, a pharmacy technician can be called upon to fulfill hundreds of medication requests in a single day. Knowing the order and timing of medication requests and planning accordingly helps ensure that patient care tasks are completed efficiently and on time.

To learn more about solutions for overcoming these challenges, download our handbook.

Downloadthe Hospital Pharmacy Handbook