Working with medicines: Korina's story

Meet Korina. She's 24 and grew up in Yorkshire. Find out about her job as a medicine management technician for the NHS. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Korina at work
"I didn’t even know this job existed when I was at school."

What does a medicine management technician do?

I work in a small team dispensing medicine on a hospital ward. When a patient comes to hospital, I research their drug history to make sure they have the correct medicine for the duration of their stay. I also top up the ward’s medicine stocks.

What skills do you use in your job?

I need to pay close attention to detail. It's important not to make mistakes in my job because it might make someone more ill.

Good communication skills are also important as I work alongside multidisciplinary teams – that means teams made up of lots of different colleagues in a hospital, such as nurses, physiotherapists, and doctors – as well as patients.

I use maths and science skills every day for choosing and dispensing the correct medicine, and English skills to create accurate medicine labels.

Korina holding medicine
Korina makes sure patients have the right medicine during their stay in hospital.

What qualifications do you need to do your job?

I did an NVQ in Pharmacy Service Skills and then a BTEC in Pharmaceutical Science. My training took two years. I worked four days as a trainee and went to college one day a week. I think we had to do about 70 assignments, so it was quite intense, but I got a lot of support from my work colleagues at the hospital and my tutors at college.

Did you always want to do this job?

I didn’t even know this job existed when I was at school. I chose Health & Social Care for one of my A-levels because I knew I wanted to help people and do something within healthcare. I looked for jobs within the NHS and my mum, who's a pharmacist, suggested it could be a good career for me. So I applied for a pre-registration pharmacy technician job.

Top tips

  • If you aren't sure what you want to do, talk to other people – it was my mum who suggested a pharmacy job might be a good fit for me

  • On the job training can be tough, but it's worth it in the end

  • Keep an open mind about your career path and you can end up loving your job!

What to expect if you want to be a pharmacy technician

Korina is at the beginning of her career as a pharmacy technician. Pharmacy technicians prepare and supply medicines for prescriptions, under the supervision of a pharmacist. In time she will have opportunities to develop into more senior roles, including specialist clinical roles and leadership roles.

  • Pharmacy technician salary: £19,500 to £30,000
  • Pharmacy technician working hours: 37.5 hours per week
  • Typical entry requirements: You can apply for a trainee pharmacy technician position. Employers will often ask for four GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A to C), including English, Maths and Science, Level 2 Diploma in Applied Science, or equivalent qualifications. You'll do on-the-job training over two years and work towards qualifications which show your knowledge and skills, like a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills or Level 3 Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science. You could do an advanced apprenticeship in health pharmacy services. You'll need GCSEs (or equivalent) grades 9 to 4 (A to C) in English, Maths and Science. If you don't have the entry requirements, you can apply for a role as a pharmacy assistant and gain experience in pharmacy whilst completing foundation skills or re-sitting GCSEs before applying onto the pharmacy technician training programme.

This information is a guide (source: National Careers Service)

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