The Pharmacy Assistants help Licensed Pharmacists provide medication and other health care products to clients. Pharmacy Assistant perform routine tasks to help prepare prescribed medications such as counting tablets and labelling bottles. They also perform administrative duties such as answering phones, sticking shelves, and operating cash registers.
Pharmacy Assistants refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information or health matters to pharmacist. This Pharmacy Assistant program is also designed to train students to work in community drug stores and hospital drug stores. The students will learn Pharmacy Assistant practices, basic pharmacology, drugs and medical terminologies. They will also explore pharmacy computer systems, hospital and community practices and procedures, drug dosage calculations and compounding labs.
In addition, this program is designed to prepare the students with the skills and knowledge that they will require to become a pharmacy assistant. Students will become familiar with the subject on pharmacology, pharmacy math and pharmacy billing software.
Pharmacy Assistants play a very important role in the operation of a drugstore or pharmacy. Students will be able to:
• Experience ingenuity within the field as they formulate common products such as medicinal lozenges, powders, creams, tablets, capsules and suppositories.
• Learn basic human anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and medical terminology that will help students identify with the major classifications of medicines to treat different conditions.
• Understand the scope of responsibilities, code of ethics and legal as well as regulatory requirements in the pharmacy industry.
• Ensure that the right medication or prescription products released is accurate and no tampering.
• Assist the pharmacists in compiling the best possible medication histories to patients, referring to the pharmacist patients who require assessment, clinical interventions or application to the therapeutic use and knowledge.
In other province or territory across Canada, Pharmacy Assistants is also known as Pharmacy Aides or Assistant Pharmacists who work with Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technicians in variety of settings from retail stores or drug stores to hospitals. The duties and responsibilities of a Pharmacy Assistant includes:
1. Assisting the Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician in the day to day operations of the pharmacy
2. Prepare or pre-pack medications including unit dose packaging, plastic bottles, blister pack, medical specialty bags, pouches and strip packs.
3. Medication refill orders including mixing, measuring, labelling, packaging and delivering drugs
4. Receiving and answering telephone prescriptions and logging into the computer data base.
5. Communicating with the doctor’s offices, suppliers and patients regarding medication needs.
6. Sterilizing and cleaning dispensing bottles and instruments and equipment
7. Up to date inventory including restocking, monitoring expired medicines and products
Pharmacy Assistant students will learn about the design and production of medications as well as effective communication skills specially when communicating with patients and doctors. This program will cover the dispensing of medicines, preparing aseptic techniques and products, drug distributions, third party billing, repacking pharmaceuticals and needing clerical functions as well.
In big companies and evolving health-system, Pharmacy Assistant with a significant training, experience and certification can be accelerated and promoted to supervisory positions, mentoring and training pharmacy assistants with less experience. Some maybe into advance specialty positions such as chemotherapy technicians or even nuclear pharmacy assistant. This program will give the student the necessary skills and experience to be competitive in the field of expertise.
Pharmacy Assistant is a full-time 37 weeks duration or equivalent to 1 year or less with a total number of 920 hours. This includes field experience and practicum/clinical of 200 hours in various settings like community or retail pharmacy/drugstore, acute/sub-acute hospital and long-term care facility.
Where can these students work after graduation?
According to Alberta Careers, Learning and Employment Information System (ALIS) with National Occupational Classification (NOC) 3414.4, pharmacy assistant is under the medium in demand category with an outlook of above average. Salary of $23.80 is the average wage for this profession.
• Medical Centre Pharmacies
• Retail or Community Pharmacies
• Long Term Care Facilities with own Pharmacy
• Health Insurance Companies
• Third Party Billing Centers
• Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Companies
• Drug Wholesalers
• Pharmacy Supply Companies
• Pharmacy Software Vendors
• Drug Information Sites
• Clinical Research Companies
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