College Introduces Practice Assessments for Pharmacy Technicians


Practice assessments for pharmacy technicians in community and hospital practice settings follow the successful roll out of practice assessments for community pharmacists.


Beginning in January 2019, the College will expand its practice assessment program – an important part of the College’s quality assurance activities – to pharmacy technicians providing patient care in both hospital and community practice settings.

Practice assessments are designed to help pharmacy professionals identify areas for improvement in their practice so that they can develop, maintain, and enrich their skills and knowledge to support better patient health outcomes. As with community pharmacist practice assessments that are already part of the College’s quality assurance process, practice advisors will apply a collaborative approach to assessment visits with pharmacy technicians, using coaching and feedback to support the identification and implementation of opportunities to optimize their practice.

Routine practice assessments are scheduled every four to six years. During the assessments, practice advisors provide feedback outlining areas of practice where pharmacy technicians are doing well and meeting standards as well as where there may be potential for improvement. They probe the thinking behind certain decisions, offer recommendations, and share helpful educational resources.

The results of a practice assessment are confidential and are not shared with employers, owners, colleagues or any College committee, other than the Quality Assurance Committee. As with community pharmacist assessments, if a pharmacy technician does not meet the standards indicated on their first assessment, he/she is given the opportunity to spend time with a quality assurance coach (peer practitioner) before being reassessed by another practice advisor.


AREAS OF FOCUS DURING A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN PRACTICE ASSESSMENT

During a pharmacy technician practice assessment, practice advisors will focus on four key areas: patient care, collaboration and decision-making, documentation, and communication and education. Each focus area has specific performance indicators which describe the minimum practice requirements for pharmacy technicians.

More information about these four key areas and how technicians can prepare for an assessment will be posted to the College’s website in January 2019.

2018 PILOT PROGRAM AND FEEDBACK RECEIVED

The full roll out of the practice assessment program for pharmacy technicians follows a preliminary phase that was implemented in the Fall of 2018 which helped the College make final adjustments to the program that will ultimately reach all 4,000+ practicing pharmacy technicians in the province. Pharmacy technicians who were part of the preliminary phase told the College that they found the assessments helpful in validating the work they are doing and in recognizing areas for improvement and ongoing professional growth.

The roll out of the pharmacy technician assessment program also follows the successful implementation of community pharmacist assessments in place since 2016. Pharmacists who have undergone practice assessments have responded positively to the coaching approach and have shared that the assessments provided an opportunity for self-reflection and are instrumental in providing valuable practice insights.

Next Steps

Pharmacy technicians will be notified by the College in advance of an assessment. Practice assessments for pharmacists who practice in hospital and other care settings are expected to be implemented in 2020. Stay tuned for additional information about pharmacy technician practice assessments in eConnect, on our website and in future issues of Pharmacy Connection.


Point of Care symbolAll pharmacy professionals providing patient care must identify a place of practice upon renewal of their registration with the College. This is key in ensuring the requirement to undergo a practice assessment every four to six years is met. Upon renewal, you will be required to specify a place of practice where you provide patient care for your practice assessment.


PRACTICE ASSESSMENTS FOR PHARMACISTS AND PHARMACY TECHNICIANS IN ALL PRACTICE SETTINGS – TIMELINE

Pharmacist practice assessments in community Implemented in 2016
Pharmacy technician practice assessments in community Commencing January 2019
Pharmacy technician practice assessments in hospital Commencing January 2019
Pharmacist practice assessments in hospitals & other settings Planned for 2020