A Day in the Life of a Pharmacy Assistant

Are you someone who enjoys a busy working environment where organisation and customer service are your main duties? Would you like a challenging career that requires the performance of a range of tasks? If so, and you have an interest in medicine and public service, a job as a pharmacy assistant might appeal to you. As an important part of the healthcare industry, pharmacy assistants are in demand in this high-growth medical sector. Find out what the job involves below.

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A typical day as a pharmacy assistant

As a pharmacy assistant, your day will be full of a variety of duties and responsibilities. No two days are exactly the same, so you may be wondering what a typical day looks like in this role. Here’s a closer look at some of the essential daily duties performed by a pharmacy assistant.

Serve customers

A pharmacy assistant greets customers and either fills their prescriptions or answers any questions they may have about their medications. They may have to refer a customer to the pharmacist on duty or explain and clarify a customer’s insurance coverage and co-pays. Sometimes, you may need to help locate an over-the-counter medication for a customer. 

The pharmacy assistant is expected to communicate and interact with the public in a kind and empathetic manner whether in person or over the phone. Because you’ll be working with a wide range of personalities, some of whom may be in discomfort and pain when they arrive, a personality that exhibits consideration and care for others will make a significant difference. 

Receive and confirm prescriptions

Many prescriptions are now delivered to pharmacies as e-prescriptions, and a pharmacy assistant will need to retrieve those prescriptions. Receipt of prescriptions must also be noted in the computer system so inventory numbers are accurate.

Prescription confirmation involves verifying a customer’s insurance coverage and eligibility before their prescription is made and delivered. Digital information will provide all necessary statistics. However, for paper prescriptions, the pharmacy assistant must verify the patient’s name, address, birthdate, and phone number, as well as any known allergies.

Obtain prescription approval

Pharmacy assistants make sure all prescriptions are seen and approved by the pharmacist on duty. No prescription is allowed to be sold without examination for accuracy and possible drug interactions.

Dispense medication

Although dispensing medication does involve counting pills and printing and affixing labels onto bottles, the pharmacy assistant’s role starts before this. Once the prescription is received, the assistant will translate the medication, review for any known drug interactions, and check the duplication of therapy and dosage amounts to ensure the medication is safe for the customer. Once the pharmacist has approved the medication, the assistant goes over everything in detail to ensure there are no errors.

Submit insurance claims

A pharmacy assistant receives insurance claims and addresses them as quickly as possible. In most cases, insurance claims are submitted online, allowing for a quicker claim process. Should a claim be rejected by the insurance company, the assistant is required to review the submission for paperwork errors. Sometimes, a patient tries to refill a prescription too soon, and the insurance won’t cover it. It’s the pharmacy assistant’s job to inform the customer and offer any available options to resolve the situation.

Stock inventory and medications

A full inventory is important to ensure customers’ needs are met at all times. An adequate stock of medications and supplies ensures the pharmacy has enough product for customers. It’s one of the pharmacy assistant’s jobs to take on this responsibility and, through the inventory process, keep medication costs low. 

Complete inventory returns

Aside from counting and reordering inventory, a pharmacy assistant is also responsible for removing expired medications. These medications are returned to their manufacturer to prevent dangerous outcomes. Typically, inventory returns are done once a month to prevent profit loss. Additional steps may be taken to return overstocked items, recalls, and damaged products.

Get your career as a pharmacy assistant started

Would you like a career in a growing sector of the healthcare industry? Do you have organisational skills and a genuine desire to work with and for others? Then consider a career as a pharmacy assistant. The International Career Institute’s Pharmacy Assistant course is easy to enrol in, and completion will give you the diploma you need to launch your pharmacy assistant career. Don’t wait – enrol today to make a difference in people’s lives.

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Gladys Mae

Gladys is the Associate Director of Admissions & Student Services with over 10 years of experience at the International Career Institute.