Welcome to the Pharmacy Tech guide!
If you have questions or comments about this guide, please contact Emily Gilbert, Librarian for the School of Health Sciences, or Anna Phan, Learning Services Coordinator for the School of Health Sciences.
For career information, please see the Pharmacy Tech tab on the Career Information page in this guide.
If you are a new student, please see the Information for New Students page for important notes from your Department Chair.
This manual only applies to Pharmacy Technician students at Minnesota campuses.
Check the Easiest, Intermediate and Advanced Finding Articles tabs on the Research page of this guide for general health science article databases (Health Policy Reference Center, CINAHL, Consumer Health, Nursing Reference Center, etc.).
In addition to the all-purpose health science databases, you might also want to check the article databases below because they best cover the pharmacy-related legal issues you may need/want to explore.
In addition to the websites below, check the Reliable Websites tab on the Research page in this guide.
You can find general information on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PCTE) from the PCTB at the links below.
Want some help studying for your Pharm Tech certification exam?
Rasmussen provides two awesome resources for you--Learning Express and SkillSurfer. The video below will show you how to access the certification exam materials in Learning Express. See below for directions with screenshots on both Learning Express and SkillSurfer.
You can find the Learning Express Library in the A-Z Database list. Select L from the top of the screen and look for Learning Express.
Be sure to explore the different centers available to you by clicking All Centers at the top of the page.
In the Career Center, you can learn more about a career, prepare for an entrance exam, prepare for an occupation exam like the CMA or NCLEX, and more!
You can find videos, tutorials, practice tests, and more for your certification exam under Prepare for an Occupation Exam. From there, you can see the exams available listed on the left side.
You can also check out SkillSurfer for tutorials in your program
Click on Resources and then Tutoring from the Student Portal, or Online Tutoring Service from the Resources tab in any of your online courses.
From the main page, click on SkillSurfer...
Then choose Career Prep and Job Resources.
From there, you will see your options for certification exam prep. Click on the one for your program.
A new app for mobile devices, the PTCB Official Calculations Practice Questions App, is available for iOS and Android devices. The app features 90 calculation questions that have been asked on the actual PTCE and focuses on calculations commonly used by pharmacy technicians. In order to provide the best preparation experience, questions were selected from previous live PTCE exam questions based on a variety of calculation types, strong item performance, and similar style to the current PTCE.
Although the exact practice calculations questions are no longer on the actual PTCE, this app will help users develop a feel for the types of calculations they will encounter when they take the real PTCE, and strengthen their math skills. Test takers can take advantage of step-by-step explanations provided at the end of the practice questions to further enhance their study routine.
Boolean Operators connect keywords or concepts logically to retrieve relevant articles, books, and other resources. There are three Boolean Operators:
Example: The result list will include resources that include both keywords -- "distracted driving" and "texting" -- in the same article or resource, represented in the shaded area where the circles intersect (area shaded in purple).
Example: The result list will include resources that include the keyword "texting" OR the keyword "cell phone" (entire area shaded in blue); either is acceptable.
Example: The result list will include all resources that includes the term "car" (green area) but will exclude any resource that includes the term "motorcycle" (purple area) even though the term car may be present in the resource.
A library database searches for keywords throughout the entire resource record including the full-text of the resource, subject headings, tags, bibliographic information, etc.
Example: The keyword list above was developed to find resources that discuss how texting while driving results in accidents. Notice that there are synonyms (texting and "text messaging"), related terms ("cell phones" and texting), and spelling variations ("cell phone" and cellphone). Using keywords when searching full-text requires consideration of various words that express an idea or concept.
Example 1: In EBSCO's Academic Search Complete, clicking on the "Subject Terms" tab provides access to the entire subject heading list used in the database. It also allows a search for specific subject terms.
Example 2: A subject term can be incorporated into a keyword search by clicking on the down arrow next to "Select a Field" and selecting "Subject Terms" from the dropdown list. Also, notice how subject headings are listed below the title of the resource providing another strategy for discovering subject headings used in the database.
When a search term is more than one word, enclose the phrase in quotation marks to retrieve more precise and accurate results. Using quotation marks around a term will search it as a "chunk," searching for those particular words together in that order within the text of a resource.
TIP: In some databases, neglecting to enclose phrases in quotation marks will insert the AND Boolean connector between each word resulting in unintended search results.
Truncation provides an option to search for a root of a keyword in order to retrieve resources that include variations of that word. This feature can be used to broaden search results, although some results may not be relevant. To truncate a keyword, type an asterisk (*) following the root of the word.
Library databases provide a variety of tools to limit and refine search results. Limiters provide the ability to limit search results to resources having specified characteristics including:
In both the EBSCO and ProQuest databases, the limiting tools are located in the left panel of the results page.
The short video below provides a demonstration of how to use limiters to refine a list of search results.
Each resource in a library database is stored in a record. In addition to the full-text of the resources, searchable Fields are attached that typically include:
Incorporating Fields into your search can assist in focusing and refining search results by limiting the results to those resources that include specific information in a particular field.
In both EBSCO and ProQuest databases, selecting the Advanced Search option will allow Fields to be included in a search.
For example, in the Advanced Search option in EBSCO's Academic Search Complete database, clicking on the down arrow next to "Select a Field" provides a list of fields that can be searched within that database. Select the field and enter the information in the text box to the left to use this feature.
Stop words are short, commonly used words--articles, prepositions, and pronouns-- that are automatically dropped from a search. Typical stop words include:
In library databases, a stop word will not be searched even if it is included in a phrase enclosed in quotation marks. In some instances, a word will be substituted for the stop word to allow for the other words in the phrase to be searched in proximity to one another within the text of the resource.
For example, if you searched company of America, your result list will include these variatons:
This short video demonstrates how to create a search string -- keywords connected with Boolean operators -- to use in a library database search to retrieve relevant resources for any research assignment.