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A Day in the Life of a Pharmacy Technician

Apr 08, 2010

When the pharmacy technician arrives to work for her shift at the local hospital, she can tell before she even says hello to the pharmacist that it is going to be a busy day. There is a stack of stat orders piling off the fax machine that the pharmacist needs to prepare immediately. Everything is moving very quickly today in the hospital's pharmacy. The phones are ringing from floors checking on medications. The pharmacy technician answers a ringing line. It is a nurse from upstairs wondering about two intravenous solutions interacting with one another. "Let me check with the pharmacist and see if he is available to answer your question," says the technician.

The pharmacy tech gets busy mixing together some creams that a physician had ordered for a patient upstairs. She carefully prints and labels the medication with the patient’s full name as well as the patient’s medical record number and the directions the physician has given for use of the cream. All the orders that are going up to that patient’s floor are carefully placed in one bin for the next delivery upstairs.

"Would you mind running upstairs with this insulin drip for the intensive care unit?" asks the pharmacist. "I'm really swamped today. Lots of orders are being changed upstairs."

"Sure thing!" says the pharmacy tech and she heads down the hall quickly with the medication.

Back to her desk the pharmacy technician goes to review medications that need to be renewed that day. She faxes lists up to the floors to the nursing staff to leave notes for the physicians to reorder medications that are about to expire. These include some intravenous antibiotics, blood thinning medications, and also several narcotic medications.

Now she sets to work checking over new medication orders for the pharmacist to fill. She reviews the medications and makes sure the hospital computer system's data about the patients is correct. She also makes sure that the physicians have not accidentally ordered medications that the patient has an allergy to or will interact with another medication the patient is already taking.

Another stat order comes off the fax machine, this time for another IV solution for the pharmacist to mix. This medication will help raise a patient's seriously low blood pressure. The technician uses the pneumatic tube system to send the medication directly to the emergency room. She then calls over to let the nurse know that the medication has arrived so the patient can begin receiving it as quickly as possible.

Now back to mixing medication orders. She mixes one medication for heartburn, another is simply labeling a small bottle of eye drops. "What a busy day," she thinks to herself. "This hospital must have every room filled."

Time flies by and before she knows it her shift has ended. She is glad she has chosen to work in the busy hospital pharmacy. The days go quickly and she knows that she has safely helped many sick patients.

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