At Ross, our instructors are experienced healthcare professionals. Our students get the opportunity to receive their insight, instruction, and experience on a daily basis in the classroom. Have you ever wondered what it is that a pharmacy technician does? We did too! So we asked Tracy Muck, the lead instructor in the Pharmacy Technician program at the Ross Medical Education Center Brighton, Michigan campus. Here’s what she had to say:
A Day in the Office
“Working in a pharmacy gives you so many options! I have had multiple experiences in outpatient (retail), inpatient (hospital), mail order, and as a pharmacy financial coordinator working with transplant patients. Although similar, each job has had its own set of knowledge and skills that I needed to demonstrate to perform my job to the best of my ability.
“When I was in the outpatient, or retail, pharmacy, we were assigned two positions in the pharmacy every day. These positions would include running the cash register, compounding oral liquids for (mostly) pediatrics, triaging phone calls, assisting the pharmacist at the counter to fill prescriptions, assisting with inventory, and other tasks as needed. Days were never the same. Most of the patients were there because of something out of their control, so making sure to be pleasant when greeting them was of utmost importance!
“In the inpatient, or hospital, pharmacy we were assigned to work in different areas of the hospital when our schedules came out. I would work anywhere from the main floor of the hospital to what is called the clean room. The main floor did most first doses of medication, and emergency medications. We would walk to deliver the medications to each floor, sometimes walking 10 miles a day! The clean room also delivered medications to the entire hospital, but we would compound IV medication in bulk, so that the nursing staff would have a 24 hour supply of all IV medications for all patients. From here, we would also have to deliver all of the IVs to the nursing stations for each patient receiving IV medication.
“The specialty mail order pharmacy was a bit different than any of the above. We had most of our patient contact via phone. Occasionally we would have a patient come and pick a prescription up. However, most of our patients did not live within a 20 mile radius. Because of the difficulty in finding transplant medications, and since patients need them to live, we mailed these prescriptions out to them. From here, I was given the opportunity to work as a pharmacy financial counselor with our transplant patients.
“As a pharmacy financial counselor, my job was to make sure that all transplant patients assigned to me had their anti-rejection medications. If they could not afford them, my job was to help them find grants, apply for insurance, and even apply for patient assistance through the drug manufacturers. I would sometimes visit with patients in the clinic to discuss options with them, and to reinforce the importance of taking their medications.
“There are so many opportunities in pharmacy! Many that people don’t ever think of! I have taken my students on tours of nuclear medicine pharmacies, independent pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, and mail order pharmacies. We even found that there is a demand for pharmacy technicians to solely work on automated dispensing machines in some hospitals – it is like mixing IT and pharmacy all in one. There are so many opportunities available. I am here to teach future pharmacy technicians to have compassion for a career so their patients live healthy lives. You never know what opportunity lies around the corner!”
Ready to Pursue Your Pharmacy Technician Career?
We are very proud of our Pharmacy Technician training program, instructors and students. We believe that this program, taught by experienced instructors like Tracy, may be the perfect training path for you! Want to learn more? Visit our Pharmacy Technician program page!