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Pharmacy technicians’ essential role in healthcare system

Pharmacy Technician Day (15 October 2019) is a great time to reflect on the essential role that pharmacy technicians play within the New Zealand healthcare system.

Gemm Limos, senior pharmacy technician in clinical trials at Wellington Hospital says, “pharmacy technicians are one of the key healthcare professionals in the health system, but the work we do is not usually visible to most people.”

As the main person responsible for clinical trials at Wellington Hospital, Gemm has responsibility for “looking after all the daily routines for clinical trials, patients receiving their medications, fridge monitoring, supply and logistics, that sort of thing.”

Gemm also runs the induction for clinical trials for new staff and interns at the hospital. “Without clinical trials we wouldn’t be able to explore the possibilities of new medications and preserve current medications,” explains Gemm.

Krystle Cooper, pharmacy accuracy checking technician, retail manager and part-owner of Community Care Pharmacy in Blenheim says she always wanted to be in the medical profession.

“I have always been interested in medications and helping people. I had an older sister and mother who worked in pharmacy as well, so it’s in my blood.”

When asked what she enjoys most about her role Krystle says, “I love that my role is so varied, but the thing I enjoy most about my job is making a difference to people’s health and wellbeing in our community.”

As a pharmacy technician for Unichem Pharmacy in Te Aroha Melissa Wood’s role is to liaise with the dispensary staff in the six different pharmacies her boss owns.

“I make up a document called Dispensary Topics each month for staff outlining any new or important information they need to be aware of. For example, we have just got a District Health Board contract to provide the new Community Pharmacy Anticoagulation Management Service, so we can undertake point-of-care testing for people taking Warfarin. So that’s the easiest way to communicate information to all the staff about that sort of thing.”

Georgia Ancell who is employed as a pharmacy technician at Taranaki Base Hospital Pharmacy Department works closely with pharmacists in the department supplying medications and services to the wards and to patients.

Georgia says the thing she enjoys most about her role is “compounding and when we get to take on specific roles, like chemotherapy, sterile or elastomerics, and we get to work alongside the pharmacist to provide these services to the patient.”

Auckland-based Piyusha Patel became a certified pharmacy accuracy checking technician in July this year, which means she checks the prescriptions before they go out to patients. Piyusha is retail manager for the pharmacy as well, which means that she buys stock for the shop and the dispensary.

When asked what she enjoy most about her role, Piyusha says “mostly the interaction with the customers. I’ve been working for 9 years in the same pharmacy and 90% of the customers are repeat customers. Because you develop a relationship with your customers you go out of your way to help them when they can’t get to see their doctor.”

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