Dispenser or Pharmacy Assistant
What is a Dispenser or Pharmacy Assistant?
A Dispenser, or Pharmacy Assistant, supports a registered Pharmacist with the preparation and dispensing of prescription medications. Their role involves ensuring that prescriptions are filed correctly and delivered to patients and healthcare providers, alongside handling over-the-counter sales transactions and liaising with patients face-to-face.
Dispensers and Pharmacy Assistants receive and store medications coming into the pharmacy, maintain stock of prescription medications, keep records and maintain an inventory of drugs to facilitate the role of a Pharmacist.
Why become a Dispenser or Pharmacy Assistant?
People choose to become Dispensers or Pharmacy Assistants with New Directions Pharmacy for a variety of reasons:
- To gain a wide range of experience
- To try different work settings and new ways of working
- To build up industry knowledge
- To have flexibility and a good work/life balance
- To experience best practice and pick up new skills
- To network and build up industry contacts
- To gain confidence
- To work as many or as few days as you want
Where do Dispensers and Pharmacy Assistants work?
Dispensers and Pharmacy Assistants work as part of the wider healthcare team in hospital or community pharmacy settings. You may work in a range of locations, including:
- Large, high-street retail pharmacy chains
- Supermarket pharmacies
- Small, independent community pharmacies
- Hospitals (NHS or private)
When do Dispensers and Pharmacy Assistants work?
Working patterns can vary depending on the location in which you work, and some pharmacies are open for extended hours and out-of-hours services. Therefore, shift work, long hours, weekend work and rotas may be involved.
Role and responsibilities of a Dispenser or Pharmacy Assistant
The day-to-day tasks and work activities of a Dispenser or Pharmacy technician are varied.
What does a Dispenser or Pharmacy Assistant do?
As a Dispenser or Pharmacy Assistant, you will be responsible for assisting licensed Pharmacists and working under their supervision to:
- Dispense prescription medication and pharmaceutical products to patients
- Prepare prescriptions by counting pills, labelling bottles and compounding medications
- Carry out administrative duties to ensure the smooth running of the pharmacy
- Gather, organise and assess patient information, maintain electronic patient information, and receive and input prescription orders
- Ensure compliance by monitoring the prescription-filing process
- Inform and educate patients, answering their questions and offering advice
- Liaise directly with healthcare providers and patients
- Take an inventory of drugs and place orders to maintain stock, keeping detailed records
- Price medications, prepare billing information and complete patient sales and transactions for over-the-counter medications
Person specification and requirements of a Dispenser or Pharmacy Assistant
What do I need to do to be a Dispenser or Pharmacy Assistant?
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) requires that all staff working in a pharmacy environment are appropriately trained for the role they are carrying out.
Qualifications and training
Dispensers and Pharmacy Assistants are required to hold an NVQ level 2 in Pharmacy Service Skills.
The GPhC recognises several awarding bodies that deliver the Level 2 knowledge and Level 2 Competency- based dispensing/pharmacy assistant qualifications. There are also a range of distance learning courses available which are equivalent to units of the Level 2 NVQ in Pharmacy Service.
You must be employed in a pharmacy to take one of these courses and it usually takes between six and 12 months to complete.
Candidates are required to have a minimum of 6 month’s experience working in a dispensary setting in the UK before we can register them for work.
- Team player
- Attention to detail
- Excellent customer-service skills
- Great communication and listening skills
- Reliable and willing to follow Instructions
- Highly organised
- Willing to adapt and learn
- Computer skills
- Understanding of drug regulations
- Knowledge of professional codes of practice
- Interested in people and their health
- A people-person
- Interested in science
- Patience and a calm demeanour
- Sensitive, discreet and understanding
For more information about working as an Accuracy Checking Technician with New Directions Pharmacy, get in touch with our helpful team today.