What would our pharmacies be like without the hardworking technicians who dedicate their professional lives to assisting patients and ensuring safe, accurate disbursement of prescription medications?
Pharmacy technicians are regularly described as “indispensable,” “essential,” and “critical,” to today's pharmacy operations, and are taking on expanding roles in hospital, health-setting and retail pharmacies nationwide. "In many ways," Pharmacy Technician Certification Board CEO Everett B. McAllister, MPA, RPh told Pharmacy Times, “technicians are the backbone of the pharmacy operation, and they are instrumental to a successful pharmacy."
It's fitting then, that we take a day – October 15 – to celebrate the nation's 420,000 pharmacy technicians, and thank them for their dedication and tireless hours of service.
In doing so, let's look at how the role of the pharmacy technician is changing. According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) current responsibilities include:
Let's also consider the historical path of the pharmacy technician profession.
It wouldn't seem right, to recognize National Pharmacy Technician Day, without mentioning some of the profession's more notable members. Legendary crime novelist Agatha Christie volunteered as a nurse in an English hospital during World War I, which required certification as an apothecary's assistant (Source: Science Friday, Kathryn Harkup). Former U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey dropped out of the University of Minnesota for a period to help out at his family's drug store. Humphrey later went on to obtain a degree in pharmacy, and actively worked as a pharmacist before turning his sights to politics. (Source: Pharmacy Times). And Walgreens drugstore founder Charles Walgreen got his start as a teenager, working as a pharmacist's assistant in a local drugstore in Waco, Texas, after an accident left him unable to participate in sports (Source: Walgreens.com).
So, while individuals may take many paths to get there, we celebrate the individuals who have chosen the pharmacy technician profession. Today's technicians are helping to improve healthcare services, and enabling better patient outcomes, and we salute you all!