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 fifth 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 5 – Professionalism
Pharmacy professionals work with patients to prioritize their needs and earn the trust of the public through their actions, regardless of practice setting. For pharmacy professionals, there is an expectation that professionalism permeates all of their day-to-day activities and that they will strive to continually align their individual practice with the principles of professionalism for the profession of pharmacy. Over and above this, there are specific standards that must be met to preserve professionalism.
Domain 5 includes four standards:
- 5.1 Pharmacy professionals practise in compliance with the code of ethics applicable in their jurisdiction and all relevant legislative and regulatory requirements.
- 5.2 Pharmacy professionals maintain appropriate professional boundaries.
- 5.3 Pharmacy professionals respect and maintain the confidentiality and privacy of patients.
- 5.4 Pharmacy professionals promote and maintain a safe workplace environment.
Domain 5 (5.4.4) speaks to creating a workplace environment that supports physical, cultural and emotional safety for patients, pharmacy team members and others who use the space. Although this expectation is not currently included in Ontario’s Model Standards of Practice, it aligns with the College’s emerging focus on equity, diversity and inclusion and supports existing obligations under the College’s Code of Ethics. Pharmacy professionals are expected to provide fair and equitable access to pharmacy services and deliver consistent quality of care to all patients regardless of ability (or disability), culture or any other related factor that might unfairly bias patient care.
Domain 5 speaks to creating a workplace environment that supports physical, cultural and emotional safety for patients, pharmacy team members and others who use the space.
This Domain in Action
By embodying professionalism in everyday practice, pharmacy professionals prioritize their patients’ needs in all practice settings and treat all patients equitably. For example, pharmacy professionals should regularly assess their workplace environment through various lenses, including:
- Cultural Safety – is the pharmacy welcoming to everyone?
- Emotional Safety – are pharmacy teams trained to be non-judgmental?
- Physical Safety – have environmental concerns been addressed related to patient safety and confidentiality?
In this example, Domain 5 had a direct, positive impact on patients’ health outcomes and their access to equitable and safe pharmacy care.
This article provides a high-level overview of Domain 5 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.