What does a hospital pharmacy technician do?

The daily tasks of a pharmacy technician in a hospital are unique to this environment.

Employers of pharmacy technicians can be grouped into 4 broad categories: community pharmacies (retail pharmacies), specialty pharmacies, mail order pharmacies and hospital pharmacies.

The education and certification requirements for these roles can be largely the same with additional emphasis on specific tasks based on the work environment. However, the day-to-day tasks of a pharmacy technician in a hospital are unique to this environment.

Whether you are currently working in a community or retail pharmacy and considering a career change, or preparing for your CPhT certification and trying to decide which work environment would suit you best, it helps to know some key differences. .

Here are 5 tasks specific to pharmacy technicians working in hospitals.

1. Drug Research Service (SID)

Hospital pharmacy technicians are involved in all aspects of clinical trial management. Working closely with sponsors, principal investigators, study teams, and drug suppliers, pharmacy technicians help ensure adherence to trial guidelines.

  • Receive investigational drugs using established institutional guidelines and sponsor requirements.
  • Order and maintain a specific inventory protocol.
  • Work with IDS pharmacists to set up and operationalize new clinical trials
  • Monthly billing and payroll activities.
  • Maintain and manage the temperature storage guidelines established by the sponsor.
  • Track monthly measurements of IDS workload activities.
  • Meet with sponsor representatives to ensure proper maintenance of the study and resolve any issues that arise.
  • Compose and distribute protocol-specific drugs following specific institution and sponsor procedures.
  • Treat returned and expired study drugs by the patient as directed by the sponsor and institution.
  • Create and update standard operating procedures for technician roles.
  • Train new technicians and research staff in pharmacy.

2. Technician in drug history

Hospital pharmacy technicians can play the role of drug history technician. In some cases, this is its own role entirely, and is performed by a certified pharmacy technician. As a Medication History Technician, you meet with patients or patient representatives on admission to develop an accurate list of medications the patient is currently taking using structured patient interviews.

  • Ask open-ended questions in order to get the patient’s current medications.
  • Confirm medication dosage and frequency with the patient’s local pharmacy, some scripts, and other available resources.
  • Enter the updated and current medications in the patient’s hospital medication profile.

3. Preparation of sterile and non-sterile compounds

Hospital pharmacy technicians provide oversight and management of on-site and off-site hospital preparation facilities to maintain and meet all regulatory requirements for sterile and non-sterile preparation. The preparation of various sterile compounds, such as chemotherapy drugs and pediatric IVs, requires specific knowledge of aseptic technique and stones.

  • Perform annual and semi-annual evaluations of the media filling composition for all pharmacy employees involved in sterile preparation.
  • Coordination and execution of environmental tests and air sampling for pharmacy areas in accordance with regulatory standards.
  • Conduct semi-annual certifications of laminar flow hoods and biological safety cabinets.
  • Maintain and update compositional compliance records in accordance with regulatory guidelines.
  • Standardize prep supplies across all prep facilities.
  • Provide on-site training in proper aseptic techniques to all new pharmacy employees.
  • Create and maintain standard operating policies and procedures to ensure standardized adherence across all facilities and meet regulatory requirements.
  • Create and update videos and training materials to help build membership.
  • Review monthly and annual composition records and staff composition performance.
  • Assist with remediation and / or retraining as needed.

4. Special drugs and methods of administration

In a community pharmacy, technicians work and interact directly with patients who self-administer medications at home. In a hospital, most interaction is with doctors and other medical staff, and medications are most often administered by nurses.

Everything from the types of preparations by pharmacy technicians to the method of drug administration is unique in a hospital setting.

  • Medication delivery to the nursing station, operating theaters and emergency department. This includes STAT medication and the exchange of daily medication carts.
  • Ensure that emergency carts are adequately stocked with medications required by their facility.
  • Manufacture of trays and kits (CPR, transport, etc.) and filling of anesthesia carts.
  • Wearing specific clothing for certain places (OR, IVR, etc.)
  • Drip rings — titration monitoring and calculations.
  • Manage the inventory of vending machines.
  • Monitor the diversion of controlled substances.

5. Pharmacy supply and purchasing

Hospital pharmacy technicians work with drug wholesalers, drug companies, and others to procure needed drugs and supplies.

  • Evaluate PAR levels and minimum replenishment levels to maintain adequate drug supplies based on changes and updates to the P&T committee form.
  • Assess current drug and supply shortages in the industry and how to address them.
  • Look for alternative therapies and supply options for industry-wide shortages, back orders, and manufacturer shortages.
  • Respond to requests for drugs and supplies from the satellite clinic, laboratory and pharmacy.
  • Contact relevant parties when supply issues arise, such as shipping and delivery errors and expiration issues.
  • Make sure medicines are handled and stored correctly during transport, especially cold chain medicines.

Hospital pharmacies and community pharmacies, in many ways, are 2 different worlds. Some pharmacy technicians start their careers in community pharmacies and then move into the hospital setting later in their career for new challenges and experiences.

If you’re interested in a career as a pharmacy technician in a hospital or community pharmacy, learn more about starting your certification journey. If you are currently working in the field and want to change your practice setting, the first step is to ensure that your CPhT certification is up to date.

SOURCE: National Association of Health Professionals

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