Accommodating Pharmacy Technicians with Motor Impairment(s)
A pharmacy technician is a person who assists a pharmacist with the practice of pharmacy. A pharmacy technician performs various functions, depending on how the pharmacy is organized. Possible job functions include taking prescriptions and entering them into a computer, selecting and counting medication, running a cash register, keeping track of and ordering supplies, and delivering medication. Pharmacy technicians with motor impairments may have difficulty performing one or more of these tasks.
JAN provides this publication as a way to share accommodation ideas and situations and solutions for pharmacy technician jobs. For a more in depth discussion, access JAN's publications at AskJAN.org/media/atoz.htm. To discuss an accommodation situation with a consultant, contact JAN directly.
- First, a pharmacy technician is typically required to work at a standing height. Many motor impairments result in lower extremity weakness or fatigue. One possible solution is to use a stand/lean stool.
- Second, a pharmacy technician must count pills. Fine motor limitations can inhibit one's ability to do this effectively. A pill counter with an automatic dispenser is a remedy.
- Third, entering information into a computer is common practice for pharmacy technicians. If an individual has limited use of the hands, alternative input devices and speech recognition software will help.
- Fourth, a pharmacy technician operates a cash register when filling prescriptions and dealing with customers. A coin/bill counter is one solution for individuals who have difficulty gripping and pinching.
- Fifth, a pharmacy technician often orders supplies. This job function involves completing forms. If one has difficulty performing this function due to limitations that inhibit writing, an individual may benefit from a writing aid or using a computer and form software.
- Sixth, a pharmacy technician must deliver medication. If an individual has difficulty walking distances to distribute medication, the individual may benefit from a scooter.
Examples of JAN accommodation calls involving pharmacy technicians:
A pharmacist technician with a foot disorder who was unable to stand for long periods was accommodated with a stand/lean stool so he could work at a standing height but have his weight supported.
A pharmacy technician with tendonitis who was having difficulty reaching items on high shelves was accommodated with a reacher.
A pharmacy technician with carpal tunnel syndrome who was having difficulty opening vials of medication, placing orders into bags, and sealing the bags was accommodated with an assistive bottle opener, an electric stapler, and a jig to hold the vials of medication in place.
A pharmacy technician with a back injury who was having difficulty carrying supplies was accommodated with a motorized cart.
A pharmacy technician with multiple sclerosis needed to use a wheelchair but could not reach the counters and shelves in the pharmacy. He was accommodated with a stand-up wheelchair.
A pharmacy technician with lymphedema of the arms due to breast cancer had difficulty sitting at a desk and holding her arms horizontal for long periods of time to complete paperwork. She was accommodated with forearm supports.
A pharmacy technician with arthritis was having difficulty accessing lower shelves to retrieve medications. She was accommodated with a stool, and the employer rearranged the storage area so that frequently accessed materials were reachable from a standing position.