The College is exploring whether to adopt or adapt new Model Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in Canada. These new standards were approved by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) in November 2021 and, if adopted or adapted by the College for Ontario registrants, would replace the existing separate standards for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. This is the fourth in a series of five articles to help registrants, pharmacy stakeholders and patients understand each domain in the new model standards.
Most of the new Model Standards of Practice are well-aligned with existing practice standards. And in a few instances where changes have been made, they remain consistent with expectations already articulated in the College’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Operation. This means that putting these new model standards into practice should be relatively straightforward for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. For now, Ontario’s current practice standards remain in effect.
Overview of Domain 4 – Leadership and Stewardship
Pharmacy professionals demonstrate leadership in accordance with their particular role, by taking responsibility for their actions, providing appropriate support to colleagues, being accountable to the regulatory authority, and acting as role models. Pharmacy professionals also have a duty to preserve and support community and population health and the overall healthcare system in Canada.
Domain 4 includes two standards:
- 4.1: Pharmacy professionals support colleagues and students and provide appropriate oversight, supervision and leadership;
- 4.2: Pharmacy professionals contribute to public and community health and safety.
As part of standard 4.1, pharmacy technicians would be expected to monitor performance and contribute to the assessment of others where appropriate – this is a new expectation not currently included in Ontario’s Model Standards of Practice for Pharmacy Technicians.
And while contributing to public and community health and safety is a newly articulated expectation within Domain 4 (4.2) for both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, it is consistent with the College’s Code of Ethics and its principle of beneficence (the obligation to actively and positively serve and benefit the patient and society).
This Domain in Action
There is perhaps no more poignant example of this domain in action than the leadership role pharmacy has played throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While many healthcare providers transitioned to delivering healthcare services virtually, pharmacies adapted to public health guidance related to infection prevention and control measures, including masking and physical distancing, to ensure continuity of care and maintain access for patients. Pharmacy professionals from all settings were actively involved in the province’s COVID-19 testing, vaccination and Paxlovid treatment programs. And, as medication experts, they provided evidence-informed advice about how vaccines could protect patients, their families and their communities.
In this example, drawing on the standards from Domain 4, pharmacy professionals had a direct, positive and profound impact on community health and safety in addition to their patients’ health outcomes and their access to safe, quality pharmacy care.
This article provides a high-level overview of Domain 4 of the new standards of practice and does not cover all aspects of the standards and indicators included within the domain. For more information, refer to NAPRA’s Model Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in Canada.