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Pharmacy technicians encouraged to precept students

March 21, 2018

Pharmacy technicians, here is a chance to give back to your profession: Be a preceptor for a student.

There are five colleges in Alberta with accredited pharmacy technician programs, and all of them are looking for preceptors to give their students an opportunity to complete the practicum portion of their programs.

Pharmacy technician preceptors are encouraged to give students opportunities to experience all aspects of the role, including compounding, compliance packaging, checking prescriptions (which would also be checked by a pharmacist or pharmacy technician), and ordering supplies.

Victoria Olthof, a pharmacy technician at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, finds the experience rewarding to not only teach the students, but offer advice to the programs themselves.

“There’s a lot of interaction between us and the programs with our mid-point and final evaluations,” said Victoria. “We pass on knowledge to the programs to let them know some of the new things we’re starting to do and encourage them to update their curriculums. We’re able to help progress our students’—and potential co-workers’—education.”

Clarice Stewart, a community pharmacy technician in Edmonton, helped train pharmacy assistants before becoming a preceptor for technicians this year. She works mostly with students from Norquest College.

“I like to see who’s coming out into the workforce,” said Clarice. “It’s great to see the different skills and strengths they have and think about where they would fit best. There are certain students who you think would be really great in hospital and others who are meant to be in a community pharmacy.”

Tracey Schmidt is an operations manager of Pharmacy Services at the South Health Campus in Calgary. She has worked in pharmacy for 30 years and has spent much of that time training new technicians and precepting students. She encourages pharmacy technicians to get involved in precepting and help nurture the profession.

“Go for it,” said Tracey. “It’s really rewarding for both parties. I tell students this is their learning, to show initiative, and be appreciative of the time and effort their preceptors are investing. To the preceptors, I say it is definitely worth their time and energy, because these students are going to be the face of pharmacy.”

To become a preceptor for pharmacy technician students, please contact an of the following college programs:

Norquest College, Edmonton

CDI College, Edmonton

Red Deer College

Robertson College, Calgary

Bow Valley College, Calgary

In the April 4, 2018, issue of the Link, we’ll share details about how to become a preceptor for pharmacists on the provisional register.