|Originally posted by Sushipunk |
What's a pharmacy tech, as opposed to a regular pharmacist? Forgive my ignorance, it's not a field I know much about at all.
Basically, pharmacy techs do most of the grunt work. In a retail setting, PhT's are in charge of billing, contacting a patient's insurance company in case there's any problems, doing basic paper filing, filling and dispensing the drugs, inventory checks etc. In an in-patient hospital setting, techs will also go ahead and fill med stations located in various departments, fill STAT orders, do some basic compounding (Mixing 2-3 different drugs together and dispensing them in vials or containers), fill IV bags and TPN's, as well as deliver orders of high volume drugs that may be requested from the Emergency Room, Intensive Care Units, or Anesthesiology.
The pharmacists are our supervisors. In both retail and hospital settings, the pharmacist has to check our work and ensure that the order is right, before sending it out. Most of the time, the pharmacist is the only one who can fill CII orders (Narcotics that have been given a Schedule II rating in the USA such as Adderall and Morphine), although some of the more experienced techs can fill these depending on the pharmacy rules. Also, the pharmacist is the only one who can give consultations to the patients regarding the medications they are taking. In an in-patient setting, this is inapplicable, but in an out-patient setting, pharmacists will spend the majority of their time consulting patients. In the USA, Pharmacy Techs are not allowed to give consultations. If a patient has any questions, for example, how 3 different drugs that they are taking in conjunction together will react to one another, only the pharmacist can answer that. The pharmacist can also do any of the jobs a tech could do and some, but they normally only do that if the pharmacy is busy. In a hospital setting, pharmacists will spend their time answering drug-related questions from other doctors and physicians. And while they can't alter a prescription, they can contact the prescriber's office and question the script, if they believe that the dosage is too high or if a drug interaction may be harmful to a patient from what is read on their profile. Lastly, it is the pharmacist who takes full responsibility if anything goes wrong. If the pharmacy fails a surprise inspection from the state, or if significant harm or death befalls a patient. Pharmacists can be sued in a court of law. Hope this answers your question.