Precautions For All Pharmacy Technicians Working In A CSTD Pharmacy

A CSTD is a "closed system drug transfer device." It is a means of delivering medication directly into the body and avoiding any and all possible contamination because the patient may have a weakened immune system and/or has cancer. As a pharmacy technician working in a CSTD pharmacy for the first time, there are a few precautions you need to follow when you are starting work in this type of pharmacy. 

Full Protective Clothing

Some of these medications contain low doses of radioactive substances. Be sure to don all of the necessary personal protective equipment (i.e., PPE) that is provided for employee safety when handling these medications. You do not want any such substances to leach into your body when you are not the one who needs these medications. 

Handle All Medications with Gloved Hands

All of these medications are potentially toxic and lethal to the person who is not sick. While they can also make the sick person sicker, the ultimate health benefits and goals of these medications (i.e., saving someone's life) outweigh the dangers and risks. Understandably, you should never handle any of these medications without gloves because sometimes they can leak, and accidentally touching a leaking liquid medication puts your health in jeopardy. You should handle dry medications in both powder and pill form with gloved hands as well so that the residues are not accidentally inhaled or ingested. 

Special Precautions for Female Technicians

If you are female, pregnant, or intending to become pregnant, alert the pharmacist and pharmacy supervisors of either of these situations. As someone who is already pregnant, you will need to remain away from most of these medications to err on the side of caution. If you intend to become pregnant, and are actively trying to become pregnant, it is also a good idea to avoid some of these more dangerous medications.

You may remain in the job you have, but the pharmacist and/or pharmacy supervisor may put you on "desk duty" until you are ready to handle medications again. This generally means that you will answer calls to the pharmacy, create script orders for other staff to fill, and place medication supply orders to the pharmaceutical companies that supply your CSTD pharmacy. You may have to wear extra protective gear if you are in close proximity to the other staff as they fill medications and prepare them for delivery to the patients.