Career Pathways Play Key Part in Retention

SupplementsApril 2023 Technician Supplement
Volume 6

Redefining technician roles boosts workflow efficiencies, strengthens pharmacies' bottom lines.

Pharmacy technicians are undeniably vital to the success of community pharmacies. And as community pharmacies continue to transform their practices by implementing clinical patient care services, success depends on the support of technicians and other nonpharmacist team members now more than ever. Yet, how can pharmacies lean on pharmacy support staff members more without losing them altogether? It is not easy, and the environment is challenging.

Overwhelming workloads and a lack of professional development opportunities leave technicians across the country feeling stuck and unfulfilled in their roles.

Backfilling qualified technicians is a challenge for most community pharmacy managers and owners.

Here are 3 important steps that community pharmacists-in-charge and pharmacy owners should implement to build a committed and energetic staff with high levels of engagement:

  • Create meaningful roles and outline career pathways.
  • Foster professional development through continuing education.
  • Recognize accomplishments and provide feedback and support.

Defining new technician roles will vary among pharmacies, depending on state regulations and the variety of services the practice provides. Pharmacy managers and owners should work to align next-level responsibilities with specific skill sets and talents among nonpharmacist staff members.

Some example areas where technicians can take the lead include adherence programs, inventory management, marketing, medical billing, medication synchronization programs, and service implementation. To create advancement opportunities for technicians, it is important to understand that the pathway to success is an individualized approach.

This open-ended concept can be frustrating for pharmacy managers and owners who are searching for cookie-cutter directions. However, it can be viewed as an opportunity to get creative. A successful tactic is to analyze the needs of the pharmacy and observe technician abilities in each area. Another way to identify what roles best suit technicians is to bring them into the conversation. The position does not have to be one that already exists; pharmacies can create new titles and optimize the pathways to fit.

Some advanced technician roles to reference include a billing analyst, a clinical pharmacy services technician, an inventory specialist, and an operations manager.

Once new roles are established and clear expectations are defined, leaders should communicate the advancement opportunities within the organization. This means setting specific goals and objectives that technicians can work toward, along with providing the educational tools and resources to be successful in their efforts.

One of the most effective ways to help motivate technicians is by supporting their continued education. Pharmacy leaders can prioritize trainings that help develop certain competencies and skills. This can include technicians attending online work groups and pharmacy conferences to gain insights into best practices and industry trends.

For community pharmacies searching for technician-focused resources, the Flip the Pharmacy program aims to transform community pharmacies away from point-in-time prescription-level care to longitudinal patient-level care. One domain in this initiative concentrates on developing the roles of pharmacy services support staff (PS3). Technicians can get involved by participating in PS3 educational webinars and social-learning communities, allowing them to help expand pharmacy services and improve patient care.

Flip the Pharmacy resources are publicly available through funding from the Community Pharmacy Foundation, along with local and national team sponsors. Further engagement opportunities are available for Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN) member pharmacies through the pharmacy technician Beacon network. Much like pharmacist CPESN pharmacist luminaries, Beacons are lighting the path for technicians to actively participate in pharmacy practice transformation.

As technicians move along their tailored career paths, it is important to recognize accomplishments and provide feedback and support. This is the arguably the most influential piece. Pharmacy managers and owners can offer incentives and rewards to technicians who reach certain milestones. This could include paid time off, performance-based bonuses, public recognition, and timely promotions to advanced leadership positions. Praise and recognition go a long way toward helping technicians feel confident and valued.

Overall, creating career pathways for technicians in the community pharmacy setting is an important step toward improving staff loyalty and retention. By providing technicians with advanced roles that are tailored to their skills and talents, pharmacies can ensure that nonpharmacist support staff members can further develop their abilities and skills while also gaining recognition. This benefits both pharmacies and technicians, as it leads to a greater sense of purpose and increased job satisfaction. The benefits of redefining the technician role into one that is better suited for growth not only fosters staff retention but also boosts workflow efficiencies and strengthens the pharmacy’s bottom line.

About the Author

Tiffany Capps, CPhT, is the pharmacy operations manager at Galloway-Sands Pharmacy in Southport, North Carolina.


Flip the Pharmacy. Accessed February 28, 2023.

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