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Be the Best Pharmacy Technician You Can Be

  • January 30, 2013
  • RPh on the Go

Be the Best Pharmacy Technician You Can Be 


The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has published a new pharmacology text designed specifically for pharmacy technicians in the modern workplace: Understanding Pharmacology for Pharmacy Technicians by Mary Ann Stuhan, Pharm.D.  The organization and language of the text is aimed directly at pharmacy technicians and offers over 700 pages of practical applications, safety issues, error prevention techniques, and illustrative cases that go beyond simple explanations of “how” and delve more into the question of “why.”

The book’s author, Mary Ann Stuhan, Pharm.D., has been a pharmacy program manager in Cleveland, Ohio, since 2002 where she directs an ASHP-accredited technician training program and advises pre-pharmacy students.  She began her career as a technician and has practiced professionally in a variety of settings including retail, government, behavioral health, and a teaching hospital.  These experiences have combined to give her an outstanding perspective on pharmacology as it pertains to student technicians and she has authored this book to help the next generation of pharmacy technicians on their way towards a career in the industry as well as to provide a targeted reference text to those who have already entered the workforce.

The book discusses anatomy and physiology as it relates to various disorders and associated pharmacotherapies to give technicians a context for how drugs work within the body.  Students using the book will discover both the therapeutic and adverse effects of many commonly used prescription medications as well as over-the-counter medications and alternative therapies.  In addition to these working examples of medicines in action, an emphasis is placed on practical applications for the technician such as what types of issues they should expect to encounter in the workplace, what the technician’s role is in patient education, and how their working relationship with the pharmacist should develop.

Each chapter of the text opens with an example case that illustrates one of the main points of the chapter as well as questions for discussion.  Difficult to pronounce words throughout the text such as disease names or complex pharmaceuticals are shown with phonetic pronunciation guides to facilitate ease of use.  There is a plethora of figures and illustrations to highlight the critical elements in the text with visual aids as well as alert callouts that indicate areas of potential dangers or errors (such as look-alike or sound-alike drugs).  Practice points highlight critical elements for the student to practice with such as FDA-required patient medication guidelines, special drug storage and dispensing considerations, commonly used and comprehensive drug tables, and chapter review sections to check for comprehension.

The book is written to meet ASHP accreditation standards and is therefore one of the most comprehensive books on the market related to pharmacology for technicians.  The ASHP is a national professional organization whose over 40,000 members include pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students who provide patient care in hospitals, health systems, and ambulatory clinics.  The Society has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety for over 70 years.

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