2019 Conference Session Descriptions


Friday, September 13th

PHARM Reduction

Essi Salokangas

This presentation intends to explore practical approaches to reducing stigma and implementing harm reduction in pharmacy practice.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define stigma and understand its impact on patient care.
  • Understand harm reduction strategies and their principles.
  • Explore the role of the pharmacy team in the context of reducing stigma, building relationships, and implementing harm reduction.

Rise & Shine: Accountable Ownership to Dispensing & Dispensary Activities

Dana Lyons

Together, we will explore how Pharmacy Technicians can best position themselves to support the full scope of practice for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians alike, by understanding what technicians can be fully accountable for in the operational and technical aspects of the dispensing and dispensary activities. Why we must be accountable to activities, and how this accountability will take us into the future.

Together, we will gain clarity on the role of pharmacy assistants, and discuss supervision, oversight and accountability related to dispensing and dispensary activities.

Together, we will explore opportunities for technicians to work as autonomous professionals, and how the relationship and teamwork within the dispensary alongside clinical activity can be optimized.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe three benefits of Technicians working to the top of their license
  • Describe two critical behaviors related to taking accountability
  • Understand supervision requirements of non-regulated pharmacy personnel

Preceptorship: New Standards and Training

Loren Voice

Attendees of this presentation will gain a deeper understanding of what being a preceptor entails. We will investigate the three levels of structured practical training (SPT) and roles of preceptors at each stage. We will examine the new Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) standards around pharmacy practice experiences and possible effects of the increased hours. This presentation will cover how to become a preceptor and the training that is available to you.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will gain an understanding of the three levels of SPT for pharmacy technicians.
  • Attendees will examine standards around SPT in Alberta
  • Attendees will learn how to become a preceptor and properly prepare for this important role.

PrEP Alberta: Developments and Challenges in our Provincial Rollout

Thomas Trombetta and Mark McAllister

This session will explore what PrEP is, mechanism of action, and the current PrEP context in Alberta. The presenters will begin with an introduction to PrEP and outline the drugs role in HIV prevention. After which, the presenters will go more in depth about developments and challenges around PrEP access in Alberta, exploring subjects related to baseline and ongoing monitoring, DINs, sites of access, etc.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will understand PrEP background in an Alberta context, mechanism of action, and current progress in the field.
  • Participants will be able to navigate the PrEP system as pharmacists and understand ongoing processes associated with PrEP delivery.
  • Participants will be able to communicate the above accessible ways to members of communities impacted by HIV (people who inject drugs, queer men, trans people, people of African, Caribbean and black backgrounds, indigenous peoples, sex workers, etc)

Safely Utilizing Pharmacy Assistants in Practice

Teresa Hennessey

As the pharmacy practice environment continues to grow in complexity there remains a place for pharmacy assistants in our profession. Shortages in the pharmacy technician workforce, escalating patient demands, and financial constraints are some of the reasons for the use of pharmacy assistants. When unregulated pharmacy employees are utilized to assist with certain pharmacy tasks it must be done within clearly defined limits to ensure the quality of pharmacy services and the safety of patients.

Learning Objectives:

  • Interpret the practice parameters that apply to pharmacy assistants
  • Distinguish between activities appropriate for pharmacy assistants to perform and those requiring the expertise of pharmacy technicians
  • Demonstrate ways pharmacy professional can provide appropriate supervision to pharmacy assistants

Networking Dinner, Awards Ceremony and Vendor Exhibit

Join us to welcome new pharmacy technician registrants, and celebrate pharmacy technician award winners.

Then take time to meet and speak with our generous sponsors without whom the conference would not be possible.

Poster contest participants will also be sharing their posters during the evening; please visit the presenters and see their posters.

Also at this time we will have our annual silent auction.. All winning items must be paid for at the end of the auction.

Saturday, September 14th

You Can’t Fake Caring

Russell Sheppard

The premise of the Grizzlies program, and the underlying theme that created the cultural shift, can be summed up in a phrase: you cannot fake caring. In Kugluktuk, we had a group of teachers and a group of students who opened their hearts to each other, and trusted each other. That type of relationship takes time and is never faked. The students knew that I cared, and because of that, they embraced the opportunity to push themselves out of their comfort zones, knowing they had support when needed. I always think that the accolades that the teachers in Kugluktuk are misplaced in many ways, this is what teaching and working with students should be about.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand how trust plays an integral role in team building
  • Examine the first-hand experience of implementing and maintaining a cultural shift
  • Greater understanding of indigenous and remote rural patient experience work of pharmacy technicians

Meaningful Implementation & Assessment Process

Tiana Cunningham and Pam Borth

Through this session, participants will be provided with information on how to choose objectives, write meaningful implementation records and how they are assessed in their annual Continuing Competency portfolio.

Learning Objectives:

  • How to choose a Continuing Competency Implementation objective
  • How to curate a meaningful implementation record
  • Relevant rationale and outcomes of assessment

Lunch and PTSA Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA) provides an opportunity for PTSA members to come together and discuss the maintenance of the Society and the issues affecting pharmacy technicians. All conference delegates are encouraged to participate in the AGM.

Medical Cannabis: A Physician’s Perspective

Dr. Robert Sealey B.Sc. M.D.

Dr. Sealey has been involved in both the clinical and research aspects of Medical Cannabis since 2001 when it became legalized in Canada. Numerous general practitioners and specialists have referred over one thousand patients to Dr. Sealey for the consideration of medical cannabis management in conditions that have not responded to standard therapy. With this extensive background, he is able to not only review the available evidence behind medical cannabis but also shed light on the practical considerations behind the application of this therapeutic option.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review medical cannabis evidence
  • Discuss administration and dosing of medical cannabis in specific conditions
  • Review potential complications of medical cannabis

Short and Snappy Presentations:

Communicating with Patients

Dena Osmond

Language barriers can make communicating with patients difficult. In this presentation we will explore tips and tricks to help pharmacy technicians communicate with patients who may have language and/or literacy barriers, and those who are hearing and/or speech impaired.

Learning Objectives:

  • Share tools and technology that can be leveraged to bridge communication barriers
  • How to effectively explain and communicate drug shortages, insurance issues, and other common issues that impact pharmacy patients
  • Explore tactics to support patients with literacy barriers

Hazardous Medication Preparation: Patient Focus or Staff Safety? Finding the Balance

Tana Yoon

This session will explore many of the operational changes to hazardous medication management that have come as a result of the inception of the NAPRA Model Standards, USP Chapter 800 and NIOSH directives. Historically pharmacy staff have focused mainly on patient safety. More and more, staff safety initiatives have come to the forefront. Understanding risk levels and safety strategies in combination with our primary focus of patient care, has brought us closer to optimized practice. Careful consideration must be given to finding the balance to ensure that the focus on one group does not present risk to the other. The presentation will identify some of the easily misunderstood concepts and grey areas of interpretation, and will include thoughtful scenarios and discussion.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learners will distinguish between safety strategies intended to protect patients from those intended to protect staff and the environment.
  • Learners will understand how protection strategies for one group may be detrimental to the other group if not thoughtfully applied.
  • Learners will describe how the risks presented by reproductive hazard medications differ from the risks presented by other hazardous medications. Because of this, unique protection strategies are required.


Samantha Russell

Bas(ic)s looks at USP <1151> chapter on dosage forms, specifically topical semi-solids. We will explore the 4 classes of ointment bases, creams and gels. Participants will be able to explain the differences between topical and transdermal preparations and understand the other factors that determine the effectiveness of topicals, excipients used and skin conditions.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the difference between topical and transdermal preparations
  • Identify the 4 different USP classes of ointment bases
  • Recognize the other factors that affect the quality of a topical preparation such as skin condition and excipients.

Reverse Lens

Sharon Van Wert

Sharon is a Technical Practice Leader for AHS, and prior to that she was a front line pharmacy technician for many years. The technician role has changed over the years but one thing that has not changed is our caring for people. In 2018 Sharon’s world changed when her 18 year old daughter was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). She went from working to develop pharmacy technicians and improve pharmacy practice to being a full time caregiver. The journey her daughter has been on has given her many moments of “I get it now!! I really get how we impact patients daily”, as she is seeing what we do from a different lens. She will share with you her story and the impact pharmacy technicians had and can have on a patient every day.

Learning objectives:

  • Review the pharmacy technician’s role in ensuring safe medication is available for patients
  • Outline how the role of a pharmacy technician impacts patient care and patient experiences
  • Understand the role of the pharmacy technician in providing indirect patient care