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Big day approaching for pharmacy technicians

October 2, 2017

If you’re a pharmacy technician in Alberta, November 30 is a big day.

And this year, it’s even bigger than before.

Of course, November 30 is the deadline to renew your registration. And for the first time, pharmacy technicians are required to submit their continuing competence program portfolio, which includes completing the prescribed learning activity, taking the Jurisprudence Self-Assessment, recording 15 continuing education units (CEUs) achieved throughout the year, and completing an implementation record. The implementation record must describe how you implemented at least one CEU into your practice.

Pharmacy technicians had a practice run with a pilot program last year. This year, they’ll be submitting their portfolios for real.

“It’s very exciting to be in our first year, coming out of the pilot,” said ACP Competence Director Pam Timanson. “Everything went very smoothly with the pilot last year so we’re looking forward to the full program and finding out what pharmacy technicians have learned and what they are implementing.”

Implementation records require specific information with details about:

  • what learning you have implemented into your practice,
  • what your objectives were, and
  • how you implemented your learning.

Because this is required for pharmacy technicians for the first time, Pam said “there is some anxiety, and that’s understandable.”

“I’m hearing that some pharmacy technicians may be nervous about what learning activities will work for an implementation record and how they’ll document it,” she said. “Is this what ACP is looking for? Is this right? There’s some worry being expressed around that.”

If you’re unsure, it’s a great idea to chat with a peer or manager about what you’re thinking of implementing and how you plan on documenting it in your record. And once you’ve started writing, run it by someone to make sure what you’ve written makes sense and answers the questions.

“Maybe even get your spouse or partner to read it and see if it makes sense to them,” said Pam. “If they don’t understand, a bit more detail is probably needed.”

And that’s Pam’s most important piece of advice: clearly articulate your answers to every question in the implementation record.

“Remember, we’re not there with you,” she noted. “When your peer assessor assesses your record, they can only read what’s on the paper. They need to understand what you were doing, what you hoped to achieve, and how you achieved it. Use as much of the space provided as possible. It’s hard to get a sense from what actually happened if the explanation is just one sentence.”

Make sure you answer every aspect of each question. For example: Who was your audience (patients, colleagues, students)? What was your timeline? And align the learning activity with your objective.

When completed, you’ll be proud to submit what you’ve learned and how you applied it to your practice.

“It’s a sense of accomplishment,” Pam said. “It shows us that you’re engaged in your professional work, you’re excited about it, you’re learning, and you’re growing.”