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Q&A with pharmacy technicians on Council

April 29, 2022
Pharmacy technicians who have served on ACP Council reflect on their experience as elected leaders.

The regulation of pharmacy technicians resulted in an important shift in ACP’s leadership structure, incorporating two pharmacy technicians as elected members of Council, representing Districts A and B. ACP’s Council is comprised of seven regulated members including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians (elected by their peers), and seven members of the public (appointed by the Minister of Health).

These leaders are tasked with directing the business of the college as well as governing the practice of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and the operation of licensed pharmacies in Alberta. Council deliberations focus on public policy that supports safe, effective, and responsible pharmacy practices. Overall, Council serves, supports, and protects the public’s health and well-being.

To date, five pharmacy technicians have contributed to the regulation of pharmacy practice through serving in elected roles on Council. These five leaders share what inspired them to get involved, their personal highlights, and their advice for other pharmacy technicians.

Kelly Boparai

Kelly became a pharmacy technician in 1995 and was the first technician elected to Council, serving as a representative for District A (northern Alberta) from 2012 to 2018.

What inspired you to join Council?

“I’ve worked as a pharmacy technician since 1995; when the profession became regulated, I completed the bridging program and wanted to gain a better understanding of ACP and what they represented. I also wanted to use my experience as a technician and felt this was the right time to contribute as a member of Council. Serving on Council helped me appreciate the ACP’s role as a regulator and allowed me to increase my understanding of all components of the wonderful profession of pharmacy.”

What is a personal highlight of serving on Council?

“It was so meaningful to be part of ACP’s historic name changing process to reflect the inclusion of pharmacy technicians as regulated members. This highlighted a monumental shifting of the times and an advancement in pharmacy practice. The change from ‘Alberta College of Pharmacists’ to ‘Alberta College of Pharmacy’ highlighted inclusivity for all members and our shared mandate to collectively protect the health of Albertans.”

Dana Lyons

Dana was the first pharmacy technician to serve as ACP’s president; she was first elected in 2018 and is currently serving as ACP’s past president, representing District B (southern Alberta). Dana became a pharmacy technician in 1995.

What is a personal highlight of serving on Council?

“My personal highlight on Council was my year as president of the college. The personal and professional growth during this time was unimaginable until I experienced it. The leadership growth and opportunities to develop these skills was an experience I will take with me and share with others for many years to come.”

Why should pharmacy technicians consider running for Council?

“Regardless of your profession, we have a moral obligation to strengthen the health system and build a system that serves Albertans’ health needs now and in the future. Those with experience in leadership coupled with strong practice skills and knowledge will be able to add value to the decisions facing Council in the next number of years. Self-regulation requires professionals to engage in the regulatory decision-making process. This is a real opportunity to step outside of your day-to-day comfort zone and to learn about how the regulatory system functions and, more importantly, to contribute to that system.”

Laura Miskimins

Laura became a pharmacy technician in 2003; she is a current member of ACP’s Council, elected in 2021, and is serving her first term in District A.

Why should pharmacy technicians consider running for Council?

“Pharmacy technicians have a valuable perspective and their voice needs to be represented on Council. Technicians are experts in drug distribution and there are many considerations in this area that contribute to patient safety and quality care, so this expertise is essential at the Council table.”

Is there any advice you would like to give to other pharmacy technicians?

“I would encourage pharmacy technicians to get involved in any way you can! Whether that includes Council, advocacy initiatives, or attending conferences and workshops, it is so important to put yourself out there and expand your network. Finding opportunities to get involved while keeping patients front-of-mind will ensure you are the best technician you can be.”

Don Ridley

Don became a pharmacy technician in 1983 and served as the pharmacy technician representative for District A from 2018 to 2021.

Why should pharmacy technicians consider running for Council?

“I felt an obligation to contribute to the profession. Serving on Council offered an opportunity to have discussions, encourage others, and bring understanding from a pharmacy technician perspective. Technicians and pharmacists working together in this leadership capacity supports strong relationships and encourages an appreciation for the value of technicians.”

What was your most meaningful contribution to Council to support the mandate of the college?

“I served on Council during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; being able to collaborate, build relationships, and work together with Council to manage challenges was so important.”

Jennifer Teichroeb

Jennifer served as the pharmacy technician representative for District B from 2014 to 2017; she was the first pharmacy technician representative for District B. Jennifer became a pharmacy technician in 2012.

What was your most meaningful contribution to ACP’s Council to support the mandate of the college?

“When I joined Council, the regulation of pharmacy technicians was still recent. I was proud to contribute to shaping the landscape to enable pharmacy technicians and pharmacists to work to their full scope and ensuring that Albertans receive safe and responsible health care.”

Why should pharmacy technicians consider running for Council?

“Reflecting on my own experience, my role on Council helped me grow both personally and professionally and made me feel more connected to my profession. There is still so much important work to be done, and the perspective of pharmacy technicians is crucial in advancing the pharmacy profession.”