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starting a new pharmacy tech job soon, need advice!

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by hodgepodge16, 04.30.13.


  1. Thanks to Crack the PCAT
  1. hodgepodge16

    hodgepodge16

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    Hey guys,
    I'm starting a pharm tech job at a hospital soon. I have very little retail experience. Really nervous about this. Is there anything I should prepare for? Do I need to know the drugs? Can you recommend a good current drug list I can memorize? thanks in advance!
  2. PharmLife4Me

    PharmLife4Me

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    Memorize the top 100 drugs if you don't know them already. Many of your customers will ask you to fill their Synthroid or their Norco even though they get generic. Whatever system you use will probably have the generic listed and may or may not show you the generic/brand names. Unless you want to be a pest to your co-workers or PIC, I would learn them. You may feel pressured at first and feel like you need to rush, but remember this key note when working: never substitute speed for accuracy; especially if you're going into pharmacy.
  3. PharmLife4Me

    PharmLife4Me

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    Oh, and just google top 100 drugs
  4. Reduc

    Reduc

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    Have thick skin. Your first time in a retail or outpatient pharmacy will feel overwhelming. Remember that this is normal and persevere.
  5. Shadowcaster

    Shadowcaster P1

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    I'm curious about how you landed a hospital tech job without having quite a bit of retail experience and being a CPhT. But congrats; I would definitely buy a CPhT study guide and start learning the prefixes and suffixes of drugs, that way you won't have to remember so many abstract words, and you'll be able to group the drugs logically in your memory. Knowing what drugs are ACEI's, ARB's, SSRI's and benzo's, etc.. just from the way they sound will help a lot. Plus, learn about allegations. It's really easy to understand. Google it or youtube it, or find it in the book. Allegations are mixing two strengths to get get one strength of a cream, ointment, suspension, etc.

    know drug classes and what they're for

    know the drugs for hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, hyper and hypo thyroidism, pain, seizures and convulsions, anxiety, depression, and blood pressure. just a few drugs for each condition, and memorize the generic/brand for each condition. that'll give you a solid framework to learn more as you go. then, in a year or so, if working in a pharmacy hasn't driven you insane, once you know the brand/generics and mechanism of action for most of the drugs in the pharmacy, your pharmacist will write you a sincere letter of recommendation that will get you into pharmacy school.
  6. Skrumpy

    Skrumpy

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    To the OP: are you working in Discharge, Outpatient, Inpatient? Each one is a bit different.

    Honestly we have techs that can barely spell their own name working at our hospital. Knowing anything other than how to read is going to just be a bonus. Hell, you don't even have to read as long as you can match the letters on the label to the ones on the drug. What you are suggesting is a bit over the top IMO. Would it hurt to know that information? Obviously not, but unless hospital pharmacy is uber competitive in their area (which TBH if they are hiring the OP with no retail experience it isn't) then I wouldn't worry about anything other than showing up on time and paying attention to their trainer. Worry about the rest later. A lot of knowledge you will just pick up as you go along (if you are actually interested in it).


    LOL seriously? Surely you jest. The pharmacists won't know the mechanism of action for most of the drugs in the pharmacy off the top of their head. That's factoring in that many in the top 100 fall into the same class.
  7. Shadowcaster

    Shadowcaster P1

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    well, i guess that's why i got such good LOR's and got into pharmacy school no problem. I was working against a low GPA (3.2) and refusing to take the PCAT, but my goal was to live and breathe pharmacy until I got in and it worked. not saying i know MOA of most drugs in the pharmacy, but quite a few.

    and i've worked with pharmacists who are like a walking medscape, even 30 years out of school. that's the kind of pharmacist I want to be.
  8. Skrumpy

    Skrumpy

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    Well the OP never said anything about pharmacy school and didn't ask for advice on getting good LoRs. They simply wanted to be informed of anything that was necessary to know for a new job as a hospital pharmacy technician. It's good that you want to be as knowledgeable as possible, though.
  9. smercer

    smercer

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    Knowing all that stuff is well and good, but as Skrumpy pointed out it is pretty much pointless in a hospital setting. As a tech you are not going to be expected to answer any questions about things like MoA.

    Really if you want to look good, instead of being the person who can spell every drug in the pharmacy from memory, be the person who knows where every drug is.

    Clearly, if you want to pursue pharmacy as a career, then you can take time to learn about the uses for common drugs you see, learn both brand/generic names for common meds, etc.
    Last edited: 05.02.13
  10. PharmLife4Me

    PharmLife4Me

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    Not only will you not be expected to know all of the mechanisms and how drug work, the only reason you would need to know mechanisms and how a drug works would be to consult a patient, which is illegal to do as a technician. I would focus on just brand/generics since that is the range of questions that "most" pharmacies allow you to answer; some may not. Knowing all that information about mechanism is good, but it sets you up to get yourself in trouble if you feel tempted to use it and show off your "smarts". Just my opinion.
  11. hodgepodge16

    hodgepodge16

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    Thank you all who responded. I guess I got lucky in terms of them hiring me. It is for an outpatient pharmacy at the hospital. Does knowing that change your advice? At this point there is not enough time to memorize all the drugs but I will just try my best.
  12. FLaCoPHaRm

    FLaCoPHaRm

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    This is the number one thing. You can come back from someone complaining you're taking too long but dispensing something incorrectly, whether it be quantity, dose, sigs, etc., that can really mess things up for everyone, including the patient. What area in the hospital are you working in?

    I would also tell you to leave your pride at the door. If you need to ask someone for some help identifying something or with a sig do it. Better to be safe than sorry.
  13. hodgepodge16

    hodgepodge16

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    Outpatient but they have not stationed me anywhere yet. I'll be rotating most likely.

    I'm pretty sure I can learn the stuff on the job but I just feel annoying when i ask a lot of questions or ask many of the same questions again and again. Every case is a little different so then it throws me off and I can't remember where to start. Look like an idiot in front of the customer trying to remember what i need to ask them when they drop off a prescription.
  14. Skrumpy

    Skrumpy

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    IMO it's better to ask questions now while you're still relatively new than look like an idiot later on because you don't know what you are doing. I say ask away, as long as it's not the same question every day I'm sure they'll understand. We were all there at one point.
  15. Goenbursty

    Goenbursty

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    You don't have to remember all that stuff if you're outpatient pharmacy. Just remember the patient you are helping is not at 100% so although it maybe fraustrating, you just have to be try to be agreeable.
    As far as advice, learning how to type efficiency and correctly, being able to read an RX, and being able to refill rx's that's probably all you should focus on your first few weeks.
    You will learn as you go. Trust me.

    Good luck to you.

    -G

    As for the learning the drugs thing: know the drugs you that are used MOST IN YOUR PHARMACY. if the specialty is oncology, if it's HIV/AIDs, if you are closest to a Pediatricians office.. yada yada yada

    It' helpful to know some drugs, generally,the ones most prescribed in your particular location.

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