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Pharmacy Assistant

In a Pharmacy Assistant Course? Discover the History of Pharmacy

November 11, 2019

pharmacy assistant training

Pharmacists have been around for a long time in one form or another. For thousands of years, humans have been using plants for health purposes. Eventually, this practice evolved into the role of the pharmacist that we know today.

If you’re considering a career as a pharmacy assistant, you may be interested in learning about the long story of how pharmacists and pharmacies came to be. Let’s take a look at the fascinating history of a field that you could one day find your career in.

Pharmacy Is So Old That Even Neanderthals May Have Been Aware of It

The practice of using plants and other substances to heal people is incredibly old. In fact, even our closest cousins the Neanderthals may have used penicillium—a mold from which our own penicillin is derived—as an antibiotic more than 40,000 years ago.

The Sumerians, meanwhile, who formed the first human civilization in what is now Iraq, left behind tablets containing the oldest known prescriptions. The Sumerians also believed that the god of the underworld, who they called Ninazu, was also the god of healing and of snakes, which is why the snake is a symbol of pharmacies to this day. Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans also had herbalists who specialized in healing plants. Manuscripts from China and India, meanwhile, from the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD included lists of medicinal substances.

The First ‘Real’ Pharmacy Was Created in the 8th Century in Baghdad

In the Ancient world, physicians largely did the job of pharmacists. While herbalists collected plants, it was the physician who compounded and administered them to patients. This changed thanks to the Islamic Golden Age, which was a period of intense scientific research in the Islamic world during the 8th to 14th centuries. In fact, the first pharmacy that would resemble the sort of drugstore you may work in after your pharmacy assistant training opened in Baghdad in 774.

Arabic medical texts began to be translated in Latin in the 11th century, which led to the spread of pharmacies across Europe. Remarkably, some pharmacies from this period are still around. For example, a pharmacy in Dubrovnik, Croatia opened in 1317 and is still functioning today. And when pharmaceutical knowledge spread to the American Colonies, none other than Benjamin Franklin helped establish the first hospital pharmacy at the Philadelphia Hospital, which is today the Pennsylvania Hospital.

This monastery in Dubrovnik has a pharmacy from 1317 that still serves customers
This monastery in Dubrovnik has a pharmacy from 1317 that still serves customers

Many Concepts You’ll Learn in Pharmacy Assistant Training Stem from the 19th Century

It was during the 19th century that many of the concepts you will learn about in your pharmacy assistant course, such as contamination control, were first developed. Prior to industrialization, pharmacology was based largely on collecting and mixing botanicals. However, when 19th century dye manufacturers in Germany perfected the purification of organic compounds, it allowed for new drug discoveries to be made. In fact, many of today’s biggest drug makers, including Bayer, Agfa, and Sandoz (now Novartis) began as dye manufacturers.

Changes continued unabated into the 20th century, especially in terms of regulation. In the U.S., for example, the Durham-Humphrey Amendment, which was sponsored by Senator, former pharmacist, and later Vice President Hubert Humphrey, made it illegal for pharmacists to dispense habit-forming drugs without a physician’s prescription. In Canada, meanwhile, the first drug schedule for prescriptions was passed in 1963-64, which provided a guideline for drugs that required a prescription, thus increasing the safety of the pharmaceutical industry.

The 20th century introduced many new regulations concerning which drugs require prescriptions
The 20th century introduced many new regulations concerning which drugs require prescriptions

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Pharmacy Assistant

The Importance of Asepsis After Pharmacy Assistant School

September 27, 2019

pharmacy assistant program

If you are a detail-oriented person who wants to provide quality care and great customer service to your community, a pharmacy assistant diploma can equip you with the learning experiences and career opportunities to do so.

When you complete your pharmacy assistant diploma program, you could go on to be employed in a variety of different capacities, including as a pharmacy assistant, dispensary assistant, pharmacist assistant, and pharmacy technical assistant. Regardless of your career choice, a pharmacy assistant program graduate should know about asepsis.

Asepsis is the state of being free of pathogenic organisms. A similar and more common term that can be used to understand asepsis is sterile. Creating aseptic conditions is something that all healthcare professionals need to be concerned with, including pharmacy assistants, in order to produce environments that are free of bacteria and viruses.

If Asepsis Is Not Conducted Properly, Lives Can Be Put at Risk

When aseptic procedures are not completed properly, it creates serious risks of contamination which can have a negative and even life-threatening effect on peoples’ health. For example, in 2012, a meningitis outbreak affected over 800 people across the United States. An investigation traced the origin of the epidemic to a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. It revealed that failures in correct aseptic procedure were the cause of the outbreak. That case is a reminder of the importance of asepsis for anyone considering a career as a pharmacy assistant. Since many of the people who rely on pharmaceutical medications may already suffer from ill health or a weakened immune system, it is especially imperative that you work towards reducing the risk of contamination.

Medication must be handled carefully to avoid contamination
Medication must be handled carefully to avoid contamination

Use What You’ll Learn About Asepsis in Pharmacy Assistant School in Your Career

The main objective of aseptic technique in pharmacies is to eliminate a pharmaceutical compound’s exposure to bacteria. One of the main strategies used to achieve this is to create barriers between the compound and the environment. These barriers create a physical separation and prevent contamination, including from employees. Such barriers can consist of things like sterile gloves, gowns, drapes, and masks.

Another thing that a pharmacy assistant course teaches students is to ensure proper equipment preparation and handling. Doing this requires regular verification and sterilization. In the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, it is better to verify and to verify again than to takes risks. One contaminated component can compromise an entire line of medication. Regularly washing your hands before and after handling cell culture material is essential, even if you are wearing gloves.

In your courses you’ll also learn aseptic techniques as they relate to syringe/needle use, preparation, compounding, ampoules, vials, and chemotherapy. In addition to these techniques, training will also teach you how to conduct sterility testing, validation, and how to examine for contamination control. You’ll also learn about preparing IV admixtures and about personnel responsibilities in regard to asepsis. Taken together, this knowledge about asepsis will help ensure that you can keep your work environment as free from contamination as possible, so that employee, patients, and customers are better protected.

Regular hand washing is an important topic you’ll learn about in your courses
Regular hand washing is an important topic you’ll learn about in your courses

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Why Confidentiality Matters to Students in Pharmacy Assistant Training

May 10, 2019

An individual’s health is, by nature, a very personal matter. Privacy and confidentiality may seem like a rarity in today’s constantly connected world, but it still remains a pillar of healthcare services, and respecting a customer’s right to privacy is an important part of working in a pharmacy.

As a pharmacy assistant, you will work under the supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician to ensure that your community gets the medication they need to stay healthy. This means that you’ll often be handling sensitive information, whether that involves filling prescriptions, maintaining pharmacy records, or speaking with customers during a sales transaction, which makes confidentiality an important aspect to keep in mind.

If you’re interested in becoming a pharmacy assistant, read on to find out why maintaining confidentiality matters during your career.

Pharmacy Assistants Know That a Standard of Confidentiality Maintains Trust

When visiting your pharmacy, customers know that you have access to what is often very intimate and personal information about their health, and they want to be sure that they can trust you to respect their privacy.

Trust is an important aspect of the relationship between customer and pharmacy assistant

Maintaining confidentiality between your pharmaceutical team and your customers helps show them that their trust has been placed with the right people. It also gives you and your pharmacy a reputation of professionalism and respect, two important aspects that are key to success in the healthcare industry. Some customers may be embarrassed by the nature of their prescription or otherwise reluctant to visit the pharmacy, but using your pharmacy assistant training to provide proper care and privacy can help put their minds at ease and allow you to serve your community effectively.

Confidentiality Can Be a Legal Matter for Pharmaceutical Professionals

For pharmaceutical assistants and their team, confidentiality can be much more than a courtesy—it actually involves a legal element as well.

Canada has a federal law known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which concerns all personal data, including healthcare information. It states that an organization is fully accountable and responsible to protect the data it collects. While each province can form their own privacy laws regarding healthcare, they must all be similar to PIPEDA.

In Ontario, health information custodians such as pharmacists and pharmacy assistants are ethically and legally obligated to protect personal health information under the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), which means that outside of specific circumstances, personal health information cannot be shared without the consent of the person it relates to.

Pharmacy Assistant Training Can Help You Best Manage Private Information

Managing documentation and information consistently and with confidentiality helps ensure that your pharmacy continues to operate efficiently and with a good reputation.

As a pharmacy assistant, you’ll be expected to handle, process, and maintain private information, including prescription records, inventory, and sales transactions. Although it may seem overwhelming to be trusted with such personal data, a pharmacy assistant course can help you understand the best way to manage the information you work with from day to day.

Students at Medix can use their training to handle customer’s information with confidentiality

Your program can teach you valuable technical skills that can help you better organize and work with administrative tasks such as filing and updating customer records. It can also teach you how to approach this information with confidentiality in mind, which helps ensure that your customers’ information is kept private between themselves and your pharmacy.

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How to Tell if Working at a Hospital Pharmacy is Right for You after Pharmacy Assistant School

March 29, 2019

March 29, 2019

An “Emergency” Sign in front of a hospital in the early evening

Students in pharmacy assistant school often assume they will be working in a retail pharmacy after they graduate. While many pharmacy assistants do work in retail pharmacies, you should keep in mind that there are other settings where you could find employment after completing training. One such setting is a hospital pharmacy.

While many of the job duties of a pharmacy assistant in a hospital pharmacy are the same as in a retail pharmacy, the work environment itself is very different. Here’s a look at how you can tell whether a career in a hospital pharmacy could be for you.

You Want a Pharmacy Assistant Career That is Less Focused on Retail
One of the biggest differences between hospital pharmacies and retail pharmacies is the type of people that each type of pharmacy serves. Perhaps unsurprisingly, retail pharmacies mainly serve members of the public. In fact, retail is a great choice if you’re a natural people person.

However, if you’re more excited about working in a health care setting, then you may want to consider hospital pharmacies. In a hospital pharmacy you’ll work a lot more with other health care providers, like nurses and doctors. Unlike in retail, there’s less need in hospital pharmacies to price and stock items for customer displays. So, if you want a career where you feel more a part of a broader health care team, then working in a hospital pharmacy after pharmacy assistant school may suit you better.

Medical staff discussing in hospital pharmacy. Doctors and nurse talking in hospital pharmacy.

In a hospital pharmacy you will be interacting with other health care providers

You Want a Career Where Your Can Help Patients with Serious Health Conditions
Because hospital pharmacies are preparing pharmaceuticals that are destined to be used within the hospital itself, the types of drugs you work with will be a lot different than at a retail pharmacy. In many cases, you’ll have a hand in helping to get lifesaving drugs and treatments to patients who urgently need them. So if you want a career where you will be working with unique pharmaceuticals and helping people with urgent medical conditions every day, then a career in a hospital pharmacy may be for you.

You Want to Use Your Pharmacy Assistant School Skills to Tackle Unique Inventory Tasks
Pharmacy inventory skills are something that a pharmacy assistant course can help prepare you for. Whether in a retail or hospital pharmacy, pharmacy assistants help with inventory, such as by stocking shelves and receiving new inventory. However, at a hospital pharmacy inventory duties for pharmacy assistants are a little bit different.

As a hospital pharmacy assistant you may be tasked with restocking pharmaceuticals not only in the pharmacy itself, but for different parts of the hospital. For example, you may have to restock drugs and solutions on nursing wards, fill dose carts for nursing stations, and restock drug kits needed for emergencies. The variety of inventory duties available is just one reason why working at a hospital pharmacy can be an exciting career choice.

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3 Skills Seen Among top Graduates of Pharmacy Assistant School

February 08, 2019

February 8, 2019

pharmacy student crossing hands

Pharmacy assistants are an important part of a pharmacy’s healthcare team. They work under the direct supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician to provide valuable services to their community, and may be tasked with certain responsibilities including filing information, ordering and receiving deliveries, and handling paperwork. They may even manage some customer-facing aspects such as answering phone calls or greeting customers as they approach the counter.

If you’re interested in working as a pharmacy assistant, read on to find out what skills can take you to the top of the class, and help you start your career off strongly.

1. Organization Is an Important Factor in Pharmacy Assistant School
Being organized can often be more of a mindset than a skill, but it gives you a valuable advantage whether you’re in the classroom or behind the pharmacy counter.

Organization helps students stay at the top of their pharmacy assistant course because it helps keep them prepared, whether that means having their coursework finished before a deadline or keeping their notes in good order before a test. A pharmacy is a fast-paced work environment, and being
organized during school helps students better transition into the responsibilities of their new career as they carry their good habits into the workplace.

Organization is a skill that can help you both in class and in your future pharmacy career

2. Paying Attention to Detail Helps Future Pharmacy Assistants Succeed
If you’re good at spotting small details, or enjoy taking the time to make sure that a task is well done, your skills could shine during and after pharmacy assistant training. A sharp eye for detail helps students perform well during pharmacy assistant training because it allows them to spot mistakes early and correct errors on homework or exams.

Paying attention to detail closely in pharmacy school helps students improve their performance in their coursework, and also becomes a valuable skill they can use throughout their future career. Assisting with the daily activities at a pharmacy means you may often be checking inventory, filing existing orders and client information, and assisting with many other tasks under the supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. A good eye for detail can help you avoid mistakes and ensure that work is carried out smoothly.

3. Top Pharmacy Students Have Good Communication Skills
If you love meeting new people and enjoy communicating with others, that skillset could be a true asset once you become a pharmacy assistant. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively can even help you long before your career begins. Good communication skills allow students to express their ideas, talk with their classmates or teachers, and actively participate during class discussions. It also benefits them during their practicum experience, because it can help them feel comfortable asking questions and building up their network.

Pharmacy assistants work closely with their supervising pharmacist and colleagues, and communication is a key aspect of keeping everyone up to date and informed. Whether they are talking to coworkers or customers, students who have practiced good communication skills in school have an advantage because they know how to express themselves clearly in a way that is easy to understand and comprehend.

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4 Ways to Improve Customer Service Skills after Pharmacy Assistant School

November 08, 2018

pharmacy assistant with hands folded

Potential customers often have many options for where they can go to pick up their medications. They might have a pharmacy near their workplace, another near their home, and a third where they buy their weekly groceries. This is one of the reasons why customer service in pharmacies is so important. Products might be very similar from store to store, and smaller community pharmacies in particular might be limited in how much they adjust prices. What sets a pharmacy apart and keeps loyal customers coming back, then, is not just the products or prices, but the service and expertise of the pharmacy’s employees, and the valuable relationships a customer forms with them.

If you’ve worked in other customer-facing positions in the past, then you might already be familiar with some of the principles of good customer service. If you haven’t, don’t worry, because the skills involved can all be learned with a little practice. Either way, here are four quick tips for how to improve your customer service skills after pharmacy assistant school.


Follow the 30 Second Rule to Make a Positive First Impression

The first impression a business makes on a potential customer is very important. Not only is it likely to colour all of their future interactions with the pharmacy, but it can be decisive in terms of whether they come back at all, and what they might tell their friends and neighbours.

One way to improve the first impression you’re giving customers is to follow the 30 Second Rule, which states that you should always greet a customer within 30 seconds of their walking up to the counter. This sets every customer interaction off to a good start, and lets them know that you see them and are available if they need anything.


Really Listen to Your Pharmacy’s Customers

Listening to a customer is one of the best ways to make sure they feel valued and respected, so always take the time out to hear whatever they have to say. This is especially true after pharmacy assistant school, when you’ll be helping people as they navigate sensitive concerns regarding their health and well-being.


Let Your Customers Know That You Appreciate Their Business

You should always make a point of showing your appreciation for your customers. Whether this means thanking them for their business on their way out of the pharmacy, or sending cards on their birthdays or the anniversary of their first visit, it will let customers know that you value their business.


Build Relationships With Your Customers After Pharmacy Assistant School

In the long term, building relationships with your customers is one of the most important elements of customer service there is. By going the extra mile and really listening to your customers after you finish your pharmacy assistant course, you can begin to build these valuable long-term relationships. Try to learn customers’ names and take an active interest when they tell you about their experiences. If you can build an authentic connection with your customers, they will keep coming assistant talking to patient

Building relationships with your customers is a key goal of good customer service

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How to Avoid Drug Dispensing Errors After Pharmacy Assistant Training

August 10, 2018

female pharmacy assistant smiling

Pharmacies play a vital role in the healthcare system by distributing necessary medications to the public. The responsibilities of those employed in such a business vary, with pharmacy assistants working under the direct supervision of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. These assistants carry out important duties such as the filling of prescriptions. Once this task has been fulfilled, then the pharmacy technician or pharmacist carries out a final check of the product before it is handed over to the customer.

The information associated with each prescription or medication type can be quite technical, so attention to detail is needed to prevent errors from occurring. Here are some points to keep in mind once you enter the workplace.

Check Prescriptions Thoroughly before Passing them on to the Technician or Pharmacist

One of the primary dispensing errors to be aware of is the distribution of incorrect medication. Students in pharmacy assistant training should therefore pay close attention to the prescription details and stocked medication before it is passed on to the pharmacy technician or pharmacist for final approval. Ensure that the prescription details and the prescription label on the drug container match up correctly.

There’s much more to a prescription than just providing the right medication. Patients should be aware of the drug strength, dosage, and directions before consumption, and these details must be visible on the labelling. Double and triple check that the prescription details and prescription label contain the same information before passing on the product to the pharmacy technician or office scheduling appointment”/> <p class=”contentpitalics”> Thoroughly check all details of a prescription </p> <br/><br/> <h2 class=Beware of Duplicate Patient or Drug Names After Your Pharmacy Assistant Course

When working in a busy pharmacy, it’s not unusual to come across numerous people with the same name. Their details are often stored in a database where their prescription details can also be accessed. Don’t assume that the first person which pops up in the database with a certain name is the right person you’re searching for. Use another identifier such as their age to ensure that the correct patient is found in the database.

The same problem commonly occurs with sound-alike drug names. Remove the risk of incorrect drug dispensing by notifying others of potential confusion on the computer system or the medication itself. Pharmacy technicians and pharmacists often admire such attention to detail. Prevent Errors by Creating an Organized Workplace

The key to error prevention comes down to attention to detail. This is much easier to maintain if you limit the distractions around you and create an efficient workspace. Grads of a pharmacy assistant course therefore play their part by creating and maintaining workplace systems where medication stock is easily found and effectively divided.

Avoid working on more than one prescription at once, as this runs the risk of incorrect labels being placed on medication containers or boxes. Once an effective routine has been established, the possibility of medication errors quickly decreases.

Set yourself up for this rewarding career by studying for a pharmacy assistant diploma in Ontario.

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Career Paths You Can Unlock With the Help of Pharmacy Assistant School

June 15, 2018

pharmacy assistant standing with arms folded

Graduates of pharmacy assistant classes learn important practical skills, such as maintaining inventory and filling prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist. These skills are necessary for anyone who wants to thrive in a fast-paced pharmacy environment. Graduates who have developed these skills can look forward to rewarding careers in healthcare. In fact, there are several options for students to pursue.

Here are some of the exciting careers that students of pharmacy assistant programs can consider after they graduate. Read on to learn more!

Pharmacy Assistants Are Ready for Careers in Community Pharmacies

One of the great qualities of a pharmacy assistant is their interpersonal skills, which makes them ideal for building careers where they can engage regularly with the public. Good people skills come in handy for pharmacy assistants when working in a community pharmacy setting, as they may often be responsible for welcoming clients, updating files, and more.a package of blood donation

Maintaining medical stock is applicable to a number of pharmacy related careers

Graduates of a pharmacy assistant course know how important it is to remain cordial and friendly with clients, and are well prepared to answer any questions they may have, unless they require the specific expertise of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. Excellent pharmacy assistants will also be well organized, allowing them to properly receive shipments and file paperwork. Some pharmacy assistant programs, like the one offered at Medix College, require their students undergo an externship placement as part of their training. This helps to give them the hands-on experience they need to excel with these tasks after graduating.

Graduates of Pharmacy Assistant School Can Build Great Careers in Hospitals

With the help of a pharmacy assistant program, graduates gain the skills and practical knowledge that make a rewarding career in the pharmacy department of a hospital possible. Pharmacy assistants are detail oriented and highly accurate, working hard compounding medication, receiving shipments, maintaining inventory, and more under the careful direction of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.

A pharmacy assistant school can also help provide graduates with expert training that can be applied to some of the daily tasks they will be responsible for in a hospital setting. The day-to-day activities of a pharmacy assistant working in a hospital are varied and rewarding, as they help with the preparation of medications for patients in need of attentive care—always working under the supervision of a pharmacist. As hospitals can be notoriously busy, pharmacy assistants working in this environment enjoy being part of a fast-paced team. Excellent communication and teamwork skills help recent graduates thrive in this role, as they work hard to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Pharmacy Assistants Can Upskill and Further Their Careers

Once you’ve completed your pharmacy assistant training, you’ll have all the skills and knowledge to benefit from the many careers available to pharmacy assistants. In addition, there are opportunities for you to advance and upskill as you progress through your career. For example, with further training and education you can progress to the role of pharmacy technician, which allows for a greater scope of duties and responsibilities. With a pharmacy assistant diploma under your belt, there is no limit to the opportunities that await you!

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Considering Career Training in Healthcare? 5 Signs You Should Become a Pharmacy Assistant!

May 04, 2018

pharmacy assistant standing by counterBecoming a pharmacy assistant can be quite the rewarding career for those interested in the pharmaceutical industry. As a pharmacy assistant, you’ll work under the direct supervision of a trained pharmacist or a pharmacy technician, assisting the former with preparing different medications, all while performing various clerical duties.

Are you curious as to whether you have the skills needed to really thrive in the role of a pharmacy assistant? Below are five clear signs that you’d be a perfect fit for this career path!

1. You’re Well Organized and Can Multitask

As a pharmacy assistant, you’ll have many different responsibilities. These can include ordering inventory, greeting clients, and even helping to fill prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist. Being able to perform all of these tasks requires that a pharmacy assistant be organized and detail oriented to avoid errors. If you’re able to manage multiple tasks effectively, then it’s a good sign that you could be a great fit for this rewarding career.

2. You’re Highly Responsible and Alert

Responsibility and alertness while on the job are important qualities to cultivate for any kind of career, and becoming a pharmacy assistant is no exception. Good pharmacy assistants need to be diligent and detail-oriented, given the important nature of their work. You may need to help fill out prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist, or help ensure that pharmacy inventory is at optimal levels. Both of these tasks necessitate for a pharmacy assistant to act responsibly by routinely checking stock, as well as double checking that the medications they pack and label are correct for each client, so that supervising pharmacists won’t come across errors in their work.

3. Good Pharmacy Assistants Work Well in Teams

If you’re looking to pursue pharmacy assistant training , you’ll need to be able to work well as part of a team while occasionally immersed in a high pressure environment. When pharmacies get busy, and pharmacists are overwhelmed, you will need to be able to work effectively with them to ensure clients are served appropriately. If you’re a good communicator and work well with others, there’s no doubt you’ll thrive in this career.

celery, carrots and orange pepper

Working well as part of a team is important to success as a pharmacy assistant

4. Good Customer Service Skills Are a Good Sign That You’d Make a Great Pharmacy Assistant

Great interpersonal and people skills are an important part of being a pharmacy assistant. Since pharmacy assistants will often process transactions and answer phones, they need to be polite, patient, and customer oriented.celery, carrots and orange pepper

Pharmacy assistants process transactions, so good customer service skills are a must

Pharmacy assistants also greet customers and get important information from them. As a result, pharmacy assistants should also be good listeners. Good listening skills also help pharmacy assistants properly follow instructions from customers as well as the pharmacist. If you have had previous experience with customer service, that experience could give you an edge as you pursue this career path.

5. An Interest in Healthcare Can Help Get Your Pharmacy Assistant Training Started!

Probably the most obvious indicator that you’re ready for a career as a pharmacy assistant is that you may already have an interest in healthcare and helping others. If healthcare is what you like, then you’ll thrive in an environment that stimulates your interests. A good pharmacy assistant course , like the one offered at Medix College, will give you all the training and confidence you will need to prepare yourself for this role, and turn your passion into a reality!

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3 Interview Questions to Master if You Want to Become a Pharmacy Assistant

November 10, 2017

pharmacy assistant in an interview

Without pharmacy assistants to help run the show, your neighbourhood pharmacy would more than likely be pretty inefficient. Pharmacy assistants help ensure that inventory is ordered correctly, help fill prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist, and do a number of other important tasks necessary to the activities within a pharmacy.

The fact that there are so many pharmacies around means you’re likely to enjoy a fair amount of opportunity after finishing your training. Of course, getting the job of your dreams still involves completing an interview.

Want to make sure you’re ready to answer some of the toughest questions interviewers have for aspiring pharmacy assistants? Here are a few of the questions you’ll want to master.

Expect Questions About How You’d Deal With Stressed Customers

From time to time, customers can feel stressed or worried when they’re picking up medications at a pharmacy. They might be coming to terms with a new condition or illness, or simply not be feeling at their best. Occasionally, their frustration might manifest itself as they talk to the pharmacy assistant on duty. For this reason, employers want to know that you can remain professional in the face of a stressed customer. An interviewer might ask you to either give an example of a time you interacted with a difficult customer, or else to explain how you would behave in that type of situation.

What employers want to hear in this situation is that you were able to remain calm and professional enough to uphold your responsibilities. If the situation looked like it was spiralling out of control, they will want to know that you had the presence of mind to seek out assistance from a manager. To demonstrate your professionalism in the interview, you’ll want to make sure that you convey to the employer either that this is how you behaved in the past or it is how you would behave in the future.

pharmacy assistant talking to patient

Employers want to know you can behave professionally if faced with difficult customers

Applicants for Pharmacy Assistant Roles May Be Asked About How They Work in Teams

Taking on a career as a pharmacy assistant means entering a world in which teamwork is an essential part of the job. Pharmacies are tightly regulated and employ a structure where the pharmacist is at the head of things, overseeing the work done by the pharmacy assistants under their supervision.

A good pharmacy assistant training program will provide you with all the hands-on skills you need to complete your tasks efficiently and correctly. In addition, the off-site externship placement component of your program will allow you to apply these skills in a real work and team setting, helping you develop your teamwork skills. A capacity to thrive within a team dynamic is necessary for proper coordination with the professionals you will work with. This is particularly true when dealing with multi-step processes around potentially sensitive information and products, such as when filling prescriptions.

Often, employers will approach this subject by asking whether you prefer working alone, or as a part of a team. It’s appropriate to say you enjoy both, but make sure you express a fondness for being a part of a well-functioning group. If you have an example of a time you succeeded in a group dynamic, be sure to bring it up as backing evidence.

Graduates of Pharmacy Assistant School Face the Dreaded “What Is Your Weakness?” Question

At some point, pretty much everybody faces the “What is your greatest weakness?” question in a job interview, and that includes graduates interviewing to become a pharmacy assistant.

It’s a tricky balance to achieve a good answer to this question, and there’s no single correct approach. As a rule, be truthful—getting caught in a lie is never a good thing—and express an actual weakness, but also explain how you are working to address it.

Here is an example for inspiration: Saying you sometimes underestimate the amount of time a task will take to complete. This weakness has repercussions, as you might find yourself struggling with an unmanageable workload—but isn’t insurmountable. You could say that you now make an effort to give yourself a little wiggle room so that you aren’t surprised by a task’s length.

If you want a little help figuring out a great answer to this question, consider reaching out to career services professionals at your school. Top schools like Medix College employ caring and expert staff devoted to helping students prepare for interviews and applications, and could be a great resource to help ensure you nail tough interview questions.

physio assistant helping patient

Career services professionals can help you prepare for tricky interview questions

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