14 Things Pharmacists Should Never Say to Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians are the backbone of the pharmacy.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: pharmacy technicians are the backbone of the pharmacy.

Being a pharmacy technician can be a stressful, thankless job, which is why it’s so important for pharmacists to treat their technicians well and recognize them for everything they do. A good technician keeps everything running smoothly and is a valued member of the pharmacy team, but sometimes, pharmacists don’t realize that the things they say to their techs suggest otherwise.

We asked 12,000 technicians what they wish pharmacists would stop saying to them. Here are their top 14 responses:

1. “You’re just a technician.”

Although technicians aren’t paid as well as pharmacists and have less training, their job is still important. Don’t agree? Try to do your job without a technician’s assistance for a day or 2, and I suspect you’ll soon be singing a different tune.

2. “Don’t bother me.”

Pharmacists should invest in training their technicians, which means taking the time to listen and answer questions. Technicians’ relationship with their pharmacist directly correlates to how well they perform their job duties and how long they’ll stick around.

3. “I’m cutting your hours.”

Techs are often promised full-time positions during the job interview, only to find that their hours are reduced after being on the job for a few months. Although this is sometimes unavoidable, it’s nonetheless frustrating for techs who are trying to make ends meet.

4. “Did you hear what [insert coworker’s name] did yesterday?”

Putting aside the issue of how crass workplace gossip is in general, technicians don’t want to engage in gossip with pharmacists. It’s just too weird and inappropriate.

5. “You don’t know what [insert medication] does?”

Belittling your hard-working technicians is just foul. Instead, take the time to take advantage of the “teachable moment” and offer your technicians some training or advice.

6. “I get paid too much to do that.”

Acting as though a salary determines an individual’s worth is just another form of belittling. Just because someone makes less money than you doesn’t mean they must always do the less important work.

7. “It’s the ones you trust the most who will steal from you.”

This is a nasty stereotype. If you don’t trust your techs, they won’t trust or respect you, and before long, they’ll be leaving your pharmacy for greener pastures.

8. “Why are you working on that? I need this done now!”

It’s one thing to ask a tech for help with a task that needs to be taken care of right away, but it’s another to watch your tone and demeanor. When you brusquely change priorities, it can lead to confusion and leave your tech walking on eggshells, wondering when your next outburst will occur.

9. “Don’t interrupt me unless it’s urgent.”

Techs thrive in work environments where pharmacists are helpful and approachable. Issuing this directive will make your techs feel like their problems aren’t worth your time.

10. “Our manager is an idiot.”

Badmouthing and blaming other team members isn’t the way to develop cohesive working relationships. If you want your techs to have a positive attitude and refrain from gossip, you have to lead by example.

11. “Don’t you understand?”

No one wants to admit that they don’t understand something. A better approach might be to say, “If you have questions, please see me,” and actually mean it.

12. “Just figure it out.”

Failing to help a tech who has a problem and issuing such a vague directive could have potentially disastrous consequences. A better approach might be to say, “I know you can handle this,” and then suggest some resources that the tech can employ to solve the problem.

13. “That’s a dumb idea.”

Your techs have their finger on the pulse of the pharmacy, so chances are they’ll have some great ideas. Dismissing good ideas—no matter where they come from—is just bad business.

14. “You must be a Class III because you got my heart racing.”

Any type of sexual harassment is a quick way to end your career. No matter how friendly you are with your technicians, remember to keep it professional. All it takes is one complaint to leave a stain on your employment record.