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Pharmacy students, provisional pharmacists (interns) and provisional pharmacy technicians during COVID-19

Pharmacy students, provisional pharmacists (interns), and provisional pharmacy technicians, who are anticipating moving forward in the registration process, are facing challenges to complete customary requirements, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting physical distancing mandates, and accompanying changes to practice.

ACP has considered options to allow these individuals to contribute to the workforce during the pandemic, while still being mindful of the core basis for certain registration requirements – an assurance of competent, safe pharmacy practice for all Albertans.

According to the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation:

  • 4(1) An applicant for registration as a regulated member on the clinical pharmacist register may be registered initially on the provisional pharmacist register if the applicant has successfully completed all of the requirements for the granting of a baccalaureate degree in pharmacy from a pharmacy program approved by the Council.
  • 17(1) A provisional pharmacist is authorized to perform, within the practice of pharmacists and in accordance with the Standards of Practice, the restricted activities referred to in section 16 under the supervision of a clinical pharmacist or courtesy pharmacist.
  • 4.1(1)An applicant for registration as a regulated member on the pharmacy technician register may be registered initially on the provisional pharmacy technician register if the applicant has successfully completed all of the requirements for the granting of a certificate or diploma from a program approved by the Council.
  • 21.1(1) A provisional pharmacy technician is authorized to perform, within the practice of pharmacy technicians and in accordance with the Standards of Practice, the restricted activities referred to in section 21(1) under the supervision of a clinical pharmacist, courtesy pharmacist or pharmacy technician.

Provisional pharmacists and provisional pharmacy technicians are recognized on the provisional register for training and evaluation of skills and knowledge and must demonstrate that they are competent to practise as a clinical pharmacist or pharmacy technician. To demonstrate their competencies, provisional pharmacists and provisional pharmacy technicians must successfully complete the following registration requirements to be eligible for the clinical pharmacist or pharmacy technician register:

  • Ethics and Jurisprudence Exam,
  • Structured Practical Training (SPT) program, and
  • PEBC Qualifying exam (Parts I and II).

Although provisional pharmacists and provisional pharmacy technicians are authorized to perform restricted activities within their scopes of practice and in accordance with the Standards of Practice, activities must be completed under the direct or indirect supervision of an appropriate supervisor.

Structured Practical Training (SPT)

The objective of the SPT program is for provisional registrants, through three levels of SPT, to develop competence and confidence in applying the skills required to be a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. The first two levels are intended to provide a foundation to Canadian pharmacy practice and provide opportunities to enhance a provisional pharmacist’s or provisional pharmacy technician’s knowledge and skills.

Level 3 is intended to confirm proficiency of the provisional registrants in all entry-to-practice competencies and assess readiness to practice. At this level, provisional registrants are expected to work independently, supervise other staff members as appropriate, and demonstrate a thorough understanding of all relevant pharmacy legislation and Standards of Practice.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique pharmacy environment, in which pharmacy teams are being challenged to adapt to rapidly changing public health directives and policy. While observance of emergency situations can be an integral part of health care education, it is important to note that these settings may not facilitate an optimal or comprehensive learning environment. For example, as a result of the pandemic:

  • temporary authorization/exemptions have been granted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • due to physical distancing, the frequency and nature of patient interactions have changed,
  • a preceptor’s availability to fulfill their role and responsibilities may be limited, and
  • provisional registrants may require additional support to ensure that they are providing safe and patient centered care.

Therefore, both preceptors and provisional registrants must reflect on and critically evaluate the appropriateness of their learning environment, before deciding to proceed with structured practical training.

Supervision

Who requires direct supervision and who can practise under indirect supervision?

Please see our updated supervision page regarding important considerations to keep in mind for preceptors, supervising regulated members, pharmacy students and provisional registrants.  

Registration requirements during COVID-19

ACP recognizes the challenges applicants to the clinical pharmacist register or pharmacy technician register face during the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges include delays of the PEBC Qualifying Exams and the Ethics and Jurisprudence Exam, and potential difficulties procuring an appropriate practice site where SPT activities can be completed and allow for appropriate evaluation. ACP is exploring options to ensure access to the Ethics and Jurisprudence Exam resumes as soon as possible. However, ACP holds the responsibility to ensure that all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have demonstrated that they are competent to practise as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician before they are registered. Therefore, all usual requirements to be eligible for the clinical pharmacist register or pharmacy technician register remain in force.