Up Your Game When Training New Technicians

You can help provide top-notch training for newly hired techs...to ensure they're well prepared and limit turnover.

Use a structured training plan. Ask trainees about their job experience...to find out what they know and where to spend more time.

Provide a checklist of tasks you're responsible for teaching...to ensure you don't miss anything and for the trainee to refer back to.

Share details they'll need to do their job...such as where to find phone numbers for patient care units.

And explain any internal lingo...to help avoid confusion.

Teach the trainee the right way to do things. Avoid showing them shortcuts...to drive home that safety is top priority in your pharmacy.

Encourage questions...and speaking up if anything is unclear.

Be sensitive to information overload. Build short breaks into your training plan...to ensure the trainee is "getting it."

For instance, after organizing IV batch labels, pause for questions...then move on to whatever's next, such as IV prep.

Take advantage of "teachable moments." For example, if you spot an issue with a med order, ask the trainee if they see the problem...then discuss what steps should be taken to fix it.

Give constructive feedback. Let your trainee know when they're doing a great job...and when something needs improvement.

Say something like, "You're doing really well with hourly deliveries...no delays or errors so far. Remember to keep an eye on the label printer for STAT doses that need to be filled immediately."

Be patient if a trainee doesn't catch on to something right away. Look for a solution...such as reviewing all steps of the process to pinpoint the problem.

Discourage bad habits and unsafe practices. For instance, don't tolerate a trainee checking their phone instead of listening or working.

Say something like, "Our policy only allows phone use at breaks. We take this seriously because distracted techs could cost lives. Do you need a break to tend to something important?"

Touch base with admin about serious issues...repeated mistakes, lack of core skills, etc. They'll need to intervene.

Get our new technician tutorial, Skills for Effective Training and Mentoring, for more useful tips for onboarding.

Key References

  • www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/01/25/onboarding-a-new-employee-follow-these-11-effective-strategies/#47cd511a5036 (10-21-19)
  • www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/06/19/15-ways-to-offer-truly-constructive-feedback/#702b78d86e9b (10-21-19)
  • https://hr.sparkhire.com/employee-engagement/the-4-best-ways-for-training-a-new-employee/ (10-21-19)
  • https://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2018/05/03/developing-effective-training-strategy/ (10-21-19)
Hospital Pharmacy Technician's Letter. November 2019, No. 351124

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