For ACA graduate Henna Marie Dador, her life on the job has some significant rewards and challenges. After immigrating to Canada from the Philippines, Henna has found employment as a pharmacy assistant. Her typical duties include counting pills, processing prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist, overseeing the accuracy of inventory, preparing blister packs, and providing customer service. Despite the challenges of her everyday life as a pharmacy assistant, Henna says she loves what she does, and credits Algonquin Careers Academy’s pharmacy assistant program for helping to prepare her—even saying that she has “made her family proud” thanks to the school, and considers her studies there to be life-changing.
Here’s what Henna has to say about what a day in her life consists of as a pharmacy assistant, and how studying at ACA helped her get to where she is today.
What a Day in the Life of a Pharmacy Assistant Means for Henna
As a pharmacy assistant, multitasking is the name of the game for Henna. She typically finds herself responsible for certain duties every day, particularly processing prescriptions, counting pills, customer service, answering phones for refills, and ensuring everything is accurate before her work is looked over by a pharmacist. She also performs duties such as cashing out patients after they’ve picked up their prescriptions, as well as making sure inventory is accurate, preparing dosettes and blister packs, and delivering medication.
Furthermore, she has also found herself responsible for tasks like simple mixtures under the supervision of a pharmacist, preparing prescriptions for delivery, and preparing supplies to be delivered to a retirement home. “I like my job, because I know I am able to help our patients and I also provide a lot of help to the pharmacist, since they work a lot, too,” she says. “I also feel essential, and people value what we can do for them.”
The Challenges of Life as a Pharmacy Assistant—and How COVID-19 Has Impacted It
Although Henna appreciates what she’s able to do for her community and pharmacists in her life after her pharmacy assistant training, she also admits there are more difficult aspects to her career. For example, she considers the most challenging part of her role to be when she interacts with difficult patients, as they can give her and her colleagues a difficult time. “All we have to do is to handle it professionally, do our job, understand their situation, and to make sure they walk out the pharmacy getting whatever they need and being satisfied with our service,” she says.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has presented even further challenges, and Henna’s love for her job has kept her going despite the anxiety and uncertainty the pandemic has caused. Despite concerns for her safety and that of her family, as well as increased stress, fatigue, and drug shortages, she continued to work. “People were in panic mode and wanted to get their medication all at once,” she says. “The whole thing was making a lot of people freak out. But everything began to calm down as time went by with the precautions, and patients were following the rules and cooperating.”
How Her Pharmacy Assistant Training Shaped Her Before Entering the Field
To prepare herself for her eventual role as a pharmacy assistant, Henna enrolled in the pharmacy assistant program at Algonquin Careers Academy. During her training, she learned about concepts such as pharmacy ethics, software, terms and names of drugs, helping to give her the knowledge and confidence she needed before beginning work as a pharmacy assistant. Although she says almost every course in the program helped her en route to entering the industry, she credits the Pharmacy Software course as being particularly advantageous for her, saying her teacher made sure all students gained a strong understanding of the material.
Henna credits her pharmacy assistant training at ACA with helping prepare her
She adds that she appreciates how studying at ACA gave students of all backgrounds the opportunity to gain their diploma in preparation for work in a pharmacy setting. “I was an immigrant and never got the chance to finish my high school here, and I met a lot of people with the same story,” she says, adding that the school offers students a variety of class hours, as well as helping them with their OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) applications. “They are very considerate with everybody, and the most important thing is they’ll never leave you until the very end. They’ll make sure that you get employed after studying, when you can finally say that you succeeded.”
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