Medications are essential in the treatment and management of illness, and pharmacy technicians play a vital role in ensuring the right prescriptions get to the right patients. While it's only human to make a mistake from time to time, errors can result in serious consequences for a patient's health. Below are three common mistakes pharmacy technicians make and how to prevent them.
How to Avoid Slip-ups as a Pharmacy Tech
1. Giving the Incorrect Medication
Each patient requires a specific medication dispensed at a specific dose. Errors might include giving the wrong drugs to the patient, making a mistake in the medication instructions or dosage, or inadvertently dispensing a drug with a similar look or name to the one originally prescribed. To avoid this issue, read all prescriptions carefully prior to preparation, and doublecheck all finished meds against the information provided in the original prescriptions.
2. Misreading Prescriptions
Doctors and pharmacists use abbreviations to streamline the process of prescribing and filling medications. As a pharmacy technician, it is crucial that you understand all of these abbreviations, bearing in mind that many of them are similar; for example, Q.D. means a med is to be taken every day, while Q.O.D. means it is to be taken every other day. A technician can also easily misread the often-sloppy handwriting of doctors, so if you have any questions about a script, call the prescribing physician for clarification.
3. Giving a New Prescription That Interacts With an Existing Medication
The pharmacy technician is the last line of defense between the patient and medication interactions. If the prescribing doctor and the attending pharmacist do not catch any possible side effects of taking a new med, it's up to the technician to detect it. The computer programs used in pharmacies will often signal possible interactions, but it's always a good idea to be extra vigilant about this. Interactions can have extremely serious, even fatal, implications. To avoid this possibility, use the information learned in your training, consult the pharmacist or prescribing doctor, or discuss the issue directly with the patient.
A firm foundation in pharmacy technician training will give you the skills and knowledge to prevent medication errors. Big Apple Training has been offering educational programs to the Westchester County, NY, area for more than 20 years. They offer training for several different careers in health care, including pharmacy technician, certified home health aide, and medical assistant. Call (914) 437-7373 to reach their White Plains location or visit them online to learn more about available classes. To speak with someone in the Bronx, dial (718) 231-3600.