The pharmacy technician shortage is a significant challenge facing the health care industry. It is putting a strain on pharmacists, pharmacy operations, and patient care delivery. However, there are 2 options to consider when pharmacy decision makers and other health care professionals are looking to fill their pharmacy technician vacancies: hiring with the intention of training new hires or upskilling existing employees.
Fill Vacancies By Hiring With the Intention of Training
One option is hiring candidates who have little or no experience but who demonstrate promising professional skills. They can then learn the necessary skills to work as a pharmacy technician, which is time-saving and cost-effective.
In addition to being more cost-effective, there are other benefits to hiring with the intention of training. For example, these employees may be more adaptable to change and more open to new ideas. Additionally, they may be more loyal to their employer because they are grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow, which is a bonus for retention.
To support this option, it is also important to use a comprehensive learning solution to train new hires who have no previous pharmacy experience. The solution should be built to supplement existing on-the-job training or pharmacy technician education programs to avoid starting from scratch. The resource should also allow learners or employees to build key technician skills through engaging, interactive content so they can excel in the profession and become valuable members of the pharmacy team.
Fill Vacancies By Upskilling Existing Employees
This article was submitted in partnership with NHA. NHA is building the next generation of allied health professionals. Since 1989, we have helped over 1.25 million people access a better future in healthcare. From innovative learning solutions to certification and career development, we partner with individuals, educators, and employers to elevate the learning experience, ensure practice and career readiness, and drive positive outcomes for the industry, allied health professionals, and ultimately patients.
Another option to fill pharmacy technician vacancies is to upskill existing employees from other departments. Upskilling allows employees who are already familiar with the workplace culture to be trained, which can make the transition to their new role smoother and more efficient. It also can provide a career path for a strong employee to learn and grow within the company, strengthening the ability to retain good employees.
Providing new hires with on-the-job training opportunities is also a proven way to immerse them in pharmacy technician skills. This can be done by pairing them with a certified pharmacy technician who can help them learn the ropes of new duties. If demands make it challenging to pair noncertified staff members with certified pharmacy technicians, be sure to use a preassessment tool to take inventory of their current skill set and to identify areas where they might need additional training. The assessment can then be used to create a customized learning or training plan tailored specifically to their needs, allowing them to quickly reach their full potential.
In addition to a preassessment and pairing with a mentor or preceptor, partnering with a learning solution provider that provides all the necessary learning tools and support can also help streamline and maximize the learning process.
Benefits of Either Approach
Using strong resources to assess, educate, and train technicians ultimately increases the efficiency and effectiveness of the pharmacy. A few benefits are listed as follows:
- Properly trained, skilled, and certified pharmacy technician staff members can help improve patient safety.
- Employees who are appropriately trained are less likely to make medication errors.
- Upskilling members of your team can help boost morale and productivity.
- Employees who feel they are being given opportunities to grow and develop are likely to be engaged and more productive in their work.
- Upskilling existing employees is a great way to retain valuable employees and allow them to advance their careers.
Using a preassessment tool for hiring and training also has multiple benefits, including evaluation of skills, performance benchmarking, streamlined training, and improved patient safety (see Table).
TABLE. Benefits of Preassessment Tools
To support pharmacy technician education, training, and hiring efforts, the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) offers a full pharmacy technician learning solution, including one of the most popular products: PharmaSeer, a digital learning resource built to supplement a pharmacy’s existing on-the-job training or pharmacy technician education program. It empowers technicians with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to succeed. NHA customers can also use PharmaSeer’s new preassessment tool that evaluates an individual’s current knowledge and helps streamline the training process (see Figure). Once you know their strengths and weaknesses, you can direct them to the appropriate areas within PharmaSeer to focus on their training. Once they are ready, they can take the NHA ExCPT prep and certification to become fully qualified and certified pharmacy technicians.
FIGURE. Individual Performance Profile