What made you decide to become a pharmacy assistant?
I have always liked to learn and try new things. While working back home, I decided to take a college online Pharmacy Assistant course. I learned a lot about meds and the pharmacy and hoped I would use the knowledge one day. Then when the kids were grown, we decided to move to Alberta for my husband’s work, and here I am.
What are some of your responsibilities at the pharmacy?
There are many responsibilities as an assistant – processing prescriptions, filling prescriptions, making blister pack medications, phone calls, keeping track of pharmacy supplies, ordering enough stock so we do not run out, receiving stock every day and putting it away, cleaning, sanitizing, keeping shelves stocked. We have to keep track of expiring meds and send them back to our distributor. If there are drug recalls I have to haul them off the shelves immediately and send them back to our supplier. I scan and file our RX prescriptions daily and file them away. I properly dispose of discarded medications. I also do local deliveries. There is always something to do in the pharmacy. My favorite part of my job is the customers I have come to know over these years. Most of them always have a smile and a little story to tell me. Some just stop by to say hello. Some have even made us cookies, cake, muffins, pizza, coffee, donuts and chocolate. It makes me feel blessed.
Every aspect of your work seems to call for precision and accuracy. Have you always enjoyed that part of the job?
You always have to be on your toes, so to speak, as you are usually doing more than one thing at a time. So accuracy is very important. One minute you can be processing a prescription on the computer, and the two phone lines are ringing at the same time that a customer walks up. I enjoy being busy; but, at times, pharmacy work can be stressful.
What, in your opinion, are the most important qualities a pharmacy assistant should have?
A pharmacy assistant should have good PR skills, multi-tasking abilities and empathy. I feel that a person should be willing to listen to people’s needs and help them the best way they can.
What is the secret of your teamwork?
Div and I just worked well as a team from the moment we started working together six years ago. We seemed to have the same mindset when it comes to patient care, and we both strived to make it better. People always seem to comment on our teamwork, so I think we are doing something right.
How important is teamwork at a pharmacy?
Teamwork is important. If Div has started a task and has to jump to do something else, I will usually pick up where he has left off. We have always tried to be quick to help each other out. In the pharmacy, things can speed up pretty quickly.
When a doctor sends in a prescription, where does your role start?
If the prescription is for a new patient, I create a profile on the computer, check for allergies, enter insurance information, then go ahead and fill the medications, and then leave them for Div to check. Once checked, I will then hand the meds to the customer, and Div will counsel, if needed.
Do you have any advice for a young person who may be considering becoming a pharmacy assistant?
I’d like a young person considering taking down this career path to realize that this job can be stressful. You will need to be able to multi-task and be on your feet standing for long hours. Most of all, you will need to be a “people” person, who interacts well with people and genuinely cares. This is also a very rewarding job. I feel I have helped some people.
How do you handle stressful moments so that they do not interfere with your day?
Sometimes I don’t feel very serene on the inside, especially when COVID-19 first hit. It was a very stressful time for pharmacies. Most stressful moments usually pass quickly, and we try to laugh and joke, which helps the moment to pass.
What can you be found doing in your downtime? Is there anything you do people would be surprised to learn?
You can usually find me tucked away in my craft room making handmade junk journals and antique ephemera. Lately I’ve started learning beading. I also love to go for drives and take pictures of the wildlife and scenery out here. Alberta is absolutely beautiful!
- Location: 4517 – 50 Street, Spirit River
- Phone: (587) 602-3282
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Web: www.divspharmacy.ca