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Chapter 14. Your Future in Pharmacy Practice. Learning Objectives. Describe the format and content of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination. Explain the criteria for recertification for pharmacy technicians.

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Chapter 14

Your Future in Pharmacy Practice


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Learning Objectives

  • Describe the format and content of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination.

  • Explain the criteria for recertification for pharmacy technicians.

  • Discuss the major principles of the Code of Ethics of the American Association of Pharmacy Technicians.

  • Identify a variety of strategies for successful adaptation to the work environment.


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Learning Objectives

  • Make a plan for a successful job search.

  • Write a résumé and a cover letter.

  • Prepare for and successfully complete an interview.

  • Discuss some trends for the future of the pharmacy profession and their impact on pharmacy technicians.


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INCREASING YOUR EMPLOYABILITY

  • Professionalism and the Technician:Although type and length of technician education and training still vary widely, only the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential for technicians is recognized nationally. The CPhT is quickly becoming preferred or even required for employment in many states.


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INCREASING YOUR EMPLOYABILITY

  • Certification and the National Certification Examination: Certification is offered through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). The content areas of the exam includes assisting the pharmacist in serving patients, maintaining medication and inventory control systems, and participating in the administration and management of pharmacy practice.


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INCREASING YOUR EMPLOYABILITY

  • Recertification: Recertification is required by the PTCB every 2 years. To be recertified, one must earn a total of 20 hours credit in pharmacy-related continuing education, with at least one of these hours being in pharmacy law.

  • Hierarchy of Technician Positions: Technicians will have increasing opportunities for job advancement as requirements for certification and training increase.

  • Professional Organizations:


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INCREASING YOUR EMPLOYABILITY

  • Professional Organizations: Being part of a profession means taking an active role in advancing the profession. Locate local technician organizations, and inquire about how you can participate in decisions affecting the future practice of pharmacy.


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Figure 14.1

States Recognizing Pharmacy Technician Certification


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Terms to Remember

  • paraprofessional

  • Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)

  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE)

  • recertification

  • professional


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ETHICS IN PHARMACY PRACTICE

  • Code of Ethics Statements: These statements regarding professional behavior are often written as formal documents and provide language to aid in the decision-making process when ethical dilemmas present themselves in pharmacy practice.


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ETHICS IN PHARMACY PRACTICE

  • Dilemmas and Questions Facing Healthcare Professionals: Deciding what action to take when faced with an ethical dilemma in the pharmacy requires consideration of the circumstances, choosing an action, and justifying the action. This is done by asking questions like “What is the dilemma?” “What pharmaceutical alternatives apply?” and “What is the best alternative, and can it be justified on moral grounds?”


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Terms to Remember

  • ethics

  • ethical dilemma


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ADJUSTING TO THE WORK ENVIRONMENT

Preparing to work in an institutional or community-based pharmacy requires serious thought about one’s attitude, reliability, accuracy, sense of responsibility, personal appearance, organizational skills, and ability to relate to others.


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JOB SEARCH

  • Clarify Your Career Goals: Make certain what type of job setting (hospital or community pharmacy) you want to work in, and also think about what you want out of the job (advancement in retail management or customer care).

  • Write a Good Résumé: Writing a comprehensive, attractive résumé and cover letter is an important part of a carefully planned job search.


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JOB SEARCH

  • Establish a Network: Identify faculty, acquaintances, friends, and relatives who can assist you in your job search. Join professional associations, attend meetings, and network with colleagues and potential employers.

  • Identify and Research Potential Employers: Check classified ads and look up potential employers in telephone directories. Make use of career opportunities posted on Web sites and job search Web sites.


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JOB SEARCH

  • Write a Strong Cover Letter: The cover letter should highlight your qualifications and call attention to your résumé. A sloppy cover letter will detract from even the most professional résumé.

  • Prepare for the Interview: Preparing for a job interview is integral to obtaining a desirable technician position.


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TRENDS IN PHARMACY PRACTICE

  • Workforce Issues: As the volume of prescriptions rises and our reliance on drug therapy increases, the need for qualified personnel in the pharmacy profession continues to grow. The pace of work in pharmacies around the country increases and the demands on pharmacists for more direct patient care, drug therapy assessment, and cognitive duties also expand.


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TRENDS IN PHARMACY PRACTICE

  • New Medicines and New Drug Development Technologies: To work in pharmacy is to be at the front lines when new medications are introduced to combat acquired AIDS, cancer, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, and other challenging diseases.

  • New Dose Forms and Drug Delivery Mechanisms: The past few years have seen the introduction of such innovations as ocular inserts, liposomes, and monoclonal antibodies.


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TRENDS IN PHARMACY PRACTICE

  • Robotics: Robotic machinery is already used in many institutional settings for unit dose repackaging procedures. It is being installed in the community pharmacy setting with greater frequency.

  • Continued Growth in Clinical Applications: In the future, more and more of the pharmacy professional’s time and energies will be given to educational and counseling functions.


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TRENDS IN PHARMACY PRACTICE

  • Increased Emphasis on Home Healthcare: The reasons behind the growth of home healthcare include reduced cost, improvements in technology that make home care more practical, and the preference of individuals for remaining at home rather than in institutions.


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TRENDS IN PHARMACY PRACTICE

  • Increased Emphasis on Managed Care: The increased emphasis on primary and preventive care with attention to cost-effective medical services that managed care introduced has in effect revolutionized our healthcare system.

  • Increased Technician Responsibility and Specialization: Some states allow trained technicians to check the work of other technicians. Other states allow the pharmacy technician to accept new prescriptions from a doctor’s office.


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TRENDS IN PHARMACY PRACTICE

  • Increased Geriatric Applications: The aging of the population will place great financial burdens on the healthcare system as a whole and on pharmacy in particular, leading inevitably to political decisions that will affect the functions of the pharmacist and the technician.

  • Increased Healthcare and Drug Costs: Pharmacies will need to work with patients to identify cost-effective and affordable options for drug therapy.


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Discussion

Choose one potential employer of pharmacy technicians, and research to find more information about the employer. Write a brief report providing information that might be of interest to a potential employee of this pharmacy or institution. Write a résumé and cover letter that you might use to apply for a job as a pharmacy technician.


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Discussion

Search the Internet for news on which states allow “right-to-die” or physician-assisted suicide prescriptions. Report on what procedures must be taken to fill such a prescription in the pharmacy. What ethical dilemma might pharmacy personnel encounter in a state where such prescriptions are legal?


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