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Applying the draft standards according to your role

May 14, 2024
Learning the standards: the draft Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians apply to all regulated members, unless a standard refers to a specific area of practice.

In 2007, the Alberta College of Pharmacy’s (ACP’s) Standards for Pharmacist Practice came into effect.  At the time, only pharmacists were regulated by ACP. As a result, the standards were written specifically for pharmacists. When pharmacy technicians became regulated health professionals in 2011, the standards were amended—under the new title Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians (SPPPT)—to include references to pharmacy technicians.

In ACP’s draft SPPPT, which will be considered for approval by Council in June 2024, the new standards are intentionally written to address all “regulated members.” The roles of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are clearly defined in the introduction and each profession is expected to apply the standards within the context of their role. There are certain standards where pharmacists or pharmacy technicians are referred to for specific areas of their practice, but in general, the standards speak to both professions as regulated members.

“In our current standards, pharmacy technicians were added after the fact when they became regulated,” said Jeff Whissell, ACP Deputy Registrar. “Pharmacy technicians have been regulated for 13 years now and are integral to pharmacy practice. Drafting new standards gave us an opportunity to apply the standards to all regulated members. We developed these standards from the beginning with both professions in mind and a distinctive understanding of the key and pivotal roles pharmacy technicians fulfill.”

When the draft standards take effect, each regulated member will need to apply the standards according to their scope of practice, along with the learning, skill development, and professional knowledge they have acquired throughout their career. Each regulated member will use critical thinking and self-evaluation to reflect on how the standards apply to their practices.

“The draft standards were written considering the best interests of patients and the public in the context of what pharmacy professionals are trained and able to do,” said Jeff. “The goal of the standards is to set the stage for how the two professions work together to provide quality patient care.”

Much like ACP’s Tenets of Professionalism, the draft SPPPT apply to all regulated members. Each regulated member reflects and evaluates on how to exemplify each tenet in their practice. It’s the same concept and approach when applying the draft standards.

“One of the tenets of professionalism is to be a collaborator,” said Jeff. “Part of being a collaborator is knowing when to collaborate with other members of your pharmacy team or other health professionals, and when to refer a patient to another health professional. Regulated members use their professional judgement to know when and how to do this.”

A key point to add is that not only will the new standards apply to all regulated members, they will apply in every practice setting

“We tried to fulsomely look at each regulated member’s role in every aspect of pharmacy practice,” said Jeff. “That’s why the language focuses on regulated members and not pharmacists and pharmacy technicians specifically. Regulated members are the focus. It’s about applying the standards in the context of your own scope, training, and experience.”

Watch for more about the draft standards in future editions of the Link.