Valérie Roy was only 16 years old when she got her first job as a pharmacy technical assistant (PTA). After a few years, her boss appointed her head PTA. Today, as a pharmacy administrator, Valérie describes her experience as head PTA in a community pharmacy.
What did you find interesting when beginning the PTA profession?
I really like the contact with clients and being able to be helpful to them. I feel like I am making a difference in their life. I am also interested in the medical side of the profession.
Why did you become head pharmacy technical assistant?
I enjoy contributing to the ideas of all the team members, taking each one’s pulse and ensuring that we develop projects or procedures to facilitate the daily work. This aspect of the position of head PTA has always interested me.
In the pharmacy where I work, there was at first no head PTA. Over time, turnover increased and the needs began to be felt. My leadership side took over and it was natural for my boss to offer me the position of laboratory head.
Like any management position, handling conflicts, absenteeism and leave is a big challenge. On the other hand, this aspect allows me to be proactive, to stay tuned to my team and to ensure that all my employees are happy in their work.
What skills are sought for a head pharmacy technical assistant?
Before becoming a head PTA, the person must have a certain amount of experience as a PTA in order to understand the reality of a community pharmacy laboratory.
The head PTA must listen to his or her employees and be physically and mentally available for their team. Employees rely heavily on their boss, even for routine activities such as ordering drugs or managing more difficult customers. The head pharmacy technical assistant is therefore a resource person turned to in case of problems. Good communication with the head pharmacist and the owner-pharmacist is also essential.
In addition, the head PTA must demonstrate proactive leadership and acquire basic human resources skills, including in conflict and team management.
Finally, I consider the key to the success of a head PTA is their regular physical presence in the laboratory, which brings some cohesion to the work team.
Are there opportunities for the head PTA position?
I believe so. In my case, my official position now is director. In a pharmacy, when the team grows, there is always a way to specialize and broaden your skills. It all depends on the level of involvement you want to have in your environment. There is always something else to do in a pharmacy!
See our post about career transitioning to become a pharmacy technical assistant.