occupationsOther Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services (Assistants for Autopsy, Pharmacy, Orthopaedics, Opthamology)   (NOC: 3414)

This unit group includes workers who provide services and assistance to health care professionals and other health care staff. They are employed in hospitals, clinics, offices of health care professionals, nursing homes, optical retail stores and laboratories, pharmacies and medical pathology laboratories.

Alternate titles for this trade may include: autopsy assistant, blood donor clinic assistant, cast room technician, central supply aide, chiropractic assistant, clinical laboratory helper, lens grinder, ophthalmic, morgue attendant, occupational therapy assistant, ophthalmic laboratory technician - retail, optical laboratory assistant, optometrist assistant, orthopedic technologist, pharmacy assistant, physiotherapy assistant, rehabilitation assistant, therapy assistant

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The following are some of the employment requirements for this trade:

  • Orthopedic technologists usually require completion of secondary school and several months of on-the-job training or A college orthopedic technologist program.
  • Registration with the Canadian Society of Orthopaedic Technologists is available and usually required by employers.
  • Health care courses or short-term college programs related to the work of medical assistants, such as occupational therapy assistant/physiotherapy assistant programs or a program in central supply service techniques, are available and may be required by e
  • Pharmacy assistants require completion of secondary school and Several months of on-the-job training or A five- to nine-month college program in pharmaceutical services.
  • Completion of secondary school and several months of on-the-job training are usually required for other assisting occupations in this unit group.

Pattern of Interests   |   Skill Requirements

Pattern of Interests

The code determined by the results of your answers to the Interest Inventory questionnaire. Each possibility has a 3 letter variation that assesses the degree and range of your interests along Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social criteria variables.


Innovative interest in assisting in the application, maintenance and adjustment of traction equipment; and in repairing orthopaedic equipment


Methodical interest in copying established procedures for cleaning and dressing wounds


Objective interest in operating equipment to construct splints and trim and remove casts; and in applying and adjusting casts, splints and bandages, and in removing sutures and pins

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Skill Requirements

Below are Essential Skill categories and how they correspond to this occupation. This section will help you identify occupations where you have a good chance of succeeding. It can also help you see which Skills you may need to improve. Click on the Summary Analysis link above to view a complete analysis of how your Skills measure up to this occupation. This feature is only available for those Users that are logged in and have completed the self assessment component.

The most important Essential Skills for this trade are:

  • Numeracy
  • Oral Communication
  • Working with Others


Reading Text

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services:
  • Read hospital memos about changes to policy or procedures. (frequently)
  • Read journals and pamphlets with information about new products and procedures.
  • May read letters from the coroner's office, containing reports on accident victims. (frequently)
  • Read letters from provincial health departments about insurance coverage.
  • Read material safety data sheets (msds) which provide information about chemical products and their hazards.
  • Read policy and procedure manuals, safety manuals and orientation manuals.
  • Autopsy assistants also:
  • Read memos with information from the toxicology department about specimens such as stomach contents or lung tissue of the deceased.
  • Pharmacy assistants also:
  • Read the regulations of various health plans to determine eligibility criteria.
  • Refer to a manual, which lists all generic drugs and their uses, along with descriptions and side effects, using technical and medical terminology.
  • Orthopaedic technologists also:
  • Read notes from doctors giving instructions about a patient's injury and the type of cast needed.


Document Use

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services:
  • Take note of coloured stickers on client files which indicate the priority of jobs.
  • Read labels on chemicals and prescriptions and fill in labels to place on medicine bottles and vials.
  • Read a list of the day's patients and treatments to be performed.
  • Fill in forms, such as forms to obtain permission to conduct an autopsy. (daily)
  • Read patients' charts to determine what information about prescribed drugs should be entered in pharmacy records.
  • Add information to patients' computer files.
  • Obtain information from graphs about a patient's weight and temperature to calculate appropriate drug doses. (daily)
  • Refer to illustrations on how to apply splints. (frequently)
  • Orthopaedic technologists also:
  • Refer to x-rays to determine the degree and angle of bone fractures.
  • Ophthalmic lab technicians also:
  • Read invoices and prescription forms, to determine specifications or special instructions for lenses, such as if a special coating is needed.
  • Autopsy assistants also:
  • Fill in autopsy work sheet tables, with the weight and measurements of the deceased person's organs.
  • Pharmacy assistants also:
  • Read and fill in lists of prescribed drugs. these are computer lists, including patients' names, room numbers, account numbers, drugs, dosages, instructions and schedules.
  • Consult a table showing the generic versions of brand-name drugs to provide the patient with a less costly prescription.
  • Fill in claim forms for health benefit coverage.



Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services:
  • Write reminder notes to themselves or others about details or problems that must be looked after.
  • Record the work that has been done in the patient's chart and enter patient information in computer files.
  • May record appointments in daybooks.
  • Write phone messages to co-workers.
  • Leave messages for the next shift about uncompleted work such as preparing a repeat prescription for a patient.
  • Pharmacy assistants also:
  • Write faxes to drug companies about medicines which they are returning.
  • Make a note that a particular drug is nearly out of stock and should be re-ordered.



Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Note: This is an important skill
  Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services:
  • May enter product prices on invoices. (money math), (1)
  • May calculate the percentage of a bill that is to be charged to a client, take payment and make change. (money math), (2)
  • Pharmacy assistants:
  • May measure the height and weight of patients. (measurement and calculation math), (1)
  • May calculate dispensing fees and taxes. (money math), (2)
  • May schedule the purchase of inventory over the period of a budget. (scheduling or budgeting & accounting math), (2)
  • May calculate and measure the quantity of compounds to mix to fill a prescription, halving or quartering the quantity as required. (measurement and calculation math), (2)
  • May use a lensometer to check glasses prescriptions. (measurement and calculation math), (3)
  • Morgue attendants:
  • May estimate the amount of time needed to prepare a prescription. (numerical estimation), (1)
  • May calculate the areas of body wounds and measure the weight and length of bodies, recording the results for the autopsy report. (measurement and calculation math), (2)
  • May calculate the average number of prescriptions filled, number of medications mixed or generated or the number of items delivered. (data analysis math), (2)
  • May estimate the amount of stock needed for a specific amount of time. (numerical estimation), (2), (frequently)
  • May estimate time of death, considering the temperature of the room where the body was found and the temperature of the body. (numerical estimation), (2)
  • Orthopaedic technologists:
  • May estimate the angle at which to set a cast. this depends on the location and type of the break. (numerical estimation), (2)


Oral Communication

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-2
  Note: This is an important skill
  Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services:
  • Respond to patients' questions.
  • Receive instructions from doctors or co-workers regarding care and treatment.
  • Listen for beepers and buzzers on equipment.
  • Explain medical procedures to patients and their families.
  • Take phone messages for co-workers.
  • Interact with co-workers and supervisors to provide information, to ask questions about procedures and problems and to co-ordinate work.
  • May talk with suppliers to order supplies and to learn about products.
  • Participate in group meetings to discuss departmental issues.
  • Pharmacy assistants also:
  • Interact with customers and pharmacists about prescription orders and directions for medication.
  • May telephone doctors to clarify prescriptions or consult the pharmacist if there is a problem with a drug side-effect.
  • Orthopaedic technologists also:
  • Interact with patients to provide them with information about how to care for their casts.
  • Discuss options with a physician when unsure of a casting.


Problem Solving

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Pharmacy assistants:
  • May experience difficulty reading a prescription because of a doctor's illegible handwriting. they contact doctors or their staff to verify information. (frequently)
  • May deal with potential drug abusers. in such cases, they check with the pharmacist or with doctors before filling orders. (occasionally)
  • May suspect that a prescription is false. they then verify its accuracy with the physician. (occasionally)
  • May find that a pharmaceutical product is not available from a particular supplier. they search for alternate suppliers. (occasionally)
  • Orthopaedic technologists:
  • May be unable to put a cast on a patient at the angle required. they must determine what is limiting the movement. if the angle is unachievable, they find another angle which will ensure that the bone will heal properly. (occasionally)
  • Ophthalmic lab technicians:
  • May experience problems with misshaped lenses. they must find a way to reshape the lenses without destroying them. (occasionally)


Decision Making

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services:
  • May decide which product to use in filling an order when different companies make the same generic product.
  • Determine how much stock to order.
  • Autopsy assistants also:
  • Decide which body to conduct an autopsy on first, based on the availability of the doctors and coroners who will participate in the autopsy.
  • Pharmacy assistants also:
  • Decide whether to fill or refill a prescription which seems to be incorrect without first checking with the pharmacist. (occasionally)
  • Decide how much gravol and asa to send to ward nurses, when they are working in hospital pharmacies.
  • Decide whether to serve a customer who seems to be confused.
  • Decide whether to tell the pharmacist about a suspected drug abuser.
  • Orthopaedic technologists also:
  • Decide how much plaster to put on each patient, based on the patient's age, weight and the type of break or injury.
  • Decide what kind of padding to put under a cast, based on skin condition, weight, season and humidity.
  • Ophthalmic lab technicians also:
  • Make decisions about the quality and acceptability of lenses.


Job Task Planning

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-2
  Most of these aides and assistants set their own priorities, organizing their work around patient appointments. They may have to reprioritize their tasks when emergencies occur, causing a disruption to orderly planning of the day. Pharmacy assistants' job tasks are determined by the pharmacist and are affected by the number of walk-in and telephone orders received.


Finding Information

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-3
  Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services:
  • Ask supervisors for clarification of instructions.
  • May read about herbal remedies in trade magazines or compendia.
  • May refer to product sheets or pharmaceutical manuals to find the generic name of brand-name products.
  • May use special phone listings to consult medical departments in other institutions about how they have handled certain types of cases.


Computer Use

Desired Skill Level Range: 1-2
  Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services:
  • Use word processing. for example, they may enter patient information into templates.
  • Use a database. for example, they may access the hospital's patient information records using specialized software, such as pharm net.
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software.
  • Use other computer applications. for example, they may use computer-controlled blood culture machines to determine if specimens are positive or negative. pharmacy assistants may print computer-generated dispensing orders. ophthalmic lab technicians may use computer-controlled microscopes to automatically measure the power of lenses.


Critical Thinking

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A


Use of Memory

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A
  Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services:
  • Remember instructions from doctors.
  • Remember any reactions patients have had to previous procedures or drugs.
  • Pharmacy assistants:
  • Remember the generic and trade names of drugs.
  • Remember the faces of customers whom they suspect of misusing prescriptions.


Working with Others

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A
  Note: This is an important skill

Other assisting occupations in support of health services in this group mainly work independently, as part of a team. they may work with a partner.



Continuous Learning

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A

Some other assisting occupations in support of health services in this group receive regular training from their company or institution. this may take the form of a self-paced study guide, day-long seminars or workshops or informal training from doctors or other health care professionals. the purpose of this training is to learn about new products and procedures. they may also learn about new products through reading materials such as pharmaceutical catalogues.



Other Information

Desired Skill Level Range: N/A

Some other assisting occupations in support of health services in this group bend or stoop to reach materials or to tend to patients. morgue attendants bend over bodies to perform their work. orthopaedic technologists bend, kneel, crouch, stand and sit to assess, position and place a cast on a patient.

The other assisting occupations in support of health services in this group who were interviewed felt that workers in their jobs should be easy-going, patient, efficient and self-motivated. they should have a positive attitude.

Changes which may affect the essential skills used by these workers in the future include new types of equipment and new techniques and procedures. new technology and more use of computers will increase the need for computer training in new applications.


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