Annual Report 2021
July 1, 2021 marked a significant milestone for pharmacy in Alberta. It was the 10th anniversary of legislation coming into effect that would allow for the regulation of pharmacy technicians in our province. Just days before that on June 25, PTSA member, Dana Lyons was installed as the first pharmacy technician president of the Alberta College of Pharmacy. Dana was also the first pharmacy technician in Canada to hold such a position.
While there has been many changes over the past decade one thing has remained constant – PTSA continues to Advocate, Educate and Inspire! This Annual Report post will provide you with a look back on the year and the accomplishments made in alignment with the Strategic Plan.
Providing Continuing Education
Plans for an in-person Annual Alberta Pharmacy Technician Conference, that was to be held in Calgary, was postponed once again. With many restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 remaining in place, PTSA chose to host a virtual conference for a second time. Over the course of two days in September, more than 250 pharmacy technicians from 7 provinces across Canada, rose to the learning challenge. Read more about the conference here: That’s a Wrap! – 2021 Alberta Pharmacy Technician Conference – PTSA. Feedback about the format for the 2022 conference has been mixed – some of you are hopeful we’ll be able to get back to an in-person conference, and others would prefer a virtual option to remain available. Stay tuned over the next several months for more information about how the 2022 conference will look.
To help facilitate greater access to online learning, PTSA promoted many external webinars throughout the year. From Strategies to Prevent Medication Tampering and Diversion and Protecting Older Adults against Influenza to Staying Positive in a Difficult Time and Beyond Blood Glucose Readings, PTSA members had access to a diverse list of continuing education.
In addition to live virtual learning activities, PTSA’s online self-study courses remained available. A recording of a Techs in Touch Continuing Education (TTCE) webinar presented June 23, 2021 on Meaningful Implementation and Assessment Process was added to the list of available courses. Accreditation for the Using Knowledge and Research Application in Practice and Introduction to the Canadian HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Program (PrEP) was renewed for another year. Several new courses are in development.
Integrating Pharmacy Technicians into Practice
Integration of pharmacy technicians into practice will be achieved by promoting the value of pharmacy technicians and advocating for the expansion of scopes of practice so that more practice opportunities are available. One strategy PTSA has identified to achieve this goal is to develop tools to support pharmacy technicians to work to their full scope.
During her presentation at the 2020 PTSA Virtual Pharmacy Technician Conference, Lindsay Marks shared information about how she works to full scope every day in her community pharmacy practice. One tool she developed and uses to do that is a demographic collection document for Comprehensive Annual Care Plans. She also developed a flowchart that she uses to help screen patients for vaccine eligibility. Lindsay modified her documents into tools that all PTSA members can benefit from. More information about how Lindsay uses these tools in her practice is available here: Working to Full Scope of Practice: A Tool For RPhTs – PTSA. PTSA members can access the tools from the Members Only section of the website.
Work to develop a framework that will enable the injection of drugs and vaccines by pharmacy technicians was a priority for PTSA this past year. Alberta’s pharmacy technicians are ready to fulfill this role. When access to online injection training was launched in December 2020, more than 200 of Alberta’s pharmacy technicians registered for the program.
Despite having access to training, Alberta pharmacy technicians are not yet authorized to administer injections. As Alberta’s COVID-19 immunization program expanded, PTSA identified a need for as many trained immunizers as possible and requested that former Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro, grant Alberta’s pharmacy technicians authorization to administer injections. Read more about that here: Call to Action – Pharmacy Technician Injection – PTSA.
Having injection training available to Alberta pharmacy technicians is one strategy PTSA continued to pursue as part of overall advocacy efforts. After extensive evaluation of course delivery options, PTSA was ready to launch an “all-inclusive” program option in Alberta that would provide pharmacy technicians with access to practical training. Efforts to provide access to training continued in tandem with other advocacy efforts. To avoid misleading pharmacy technicians and align with direction provided by the Alberta College of Pharmacy, PTSA discontinued plans to offer injection training in June 2021. Work in this area is now focused on developing a robust proposal to the Alberta College of Pharmacy.
At a Townhall meeting June 28, 2021, PTSA Administrator, Teresa Hennessey and President, Morgan Lahl shared details about the advocacy work that has progressed over the last several years. Click here to read a summary of the discussion at the meeting. PTSA members may also access a copy of the slide deck through the Members Only section of the website.
PTSA is prepared to continue advocating for pharmacy technicians and we hope all Alberta pharmacy technicians join us in these efforts. Our voice is stronger when we are united!
Celebrating and Promoting Our Profession
By connecting through What’s App, a group of pharmacy technicians were able to come together to promote our essential role for #RxTechDay2020. Read more about how pharmacy technicians expressed pride in our profession here: Pharmacy Technician Day: How we Celebrated – PTSA.
Once again, pharmacy technicians were invited to submit posters depicting projects they’ve completed in the workplace. For the first time, the poster contest was held in conjunction with Pharmacy Technician Day. Posters were evaluated based on the poster contest rubric and a winner was selected. First prize of $500 sponsored by Fresenius Kabi was awarded for Patient Specific Medications by Samantha Bruun RPhT (Project Team: Michelle Smith, Lacey Yasinski, Randi Karlson, Bodil Schoendorfer). Check out all the posters submitted for last year’s contest here. There’s still time to enter the 2021 contest. More information is available on the website: 2021 Poster Contest – PTSA
Only a few months later, PTSA was able to “appreciate” the pharmacy team: pharmacy technicians, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants during Pharmacy Appreciation Month (PAM). Typically recognized as Pharmacy Awareness Month, PAM got a new name in 2021. PTSA members promoted their role and had a bit of fun in the process. Another Trivia Night contest was the highlight of PAM 2021.
PTSA continues to recognize the contributions to our profession by recognizing one member each year to receive the Professionalism Award. The 2020 winner of the award was Susan Iannuzzi. Read more about Past PTSA Professionalism Award Winners.
Engaging the Membership
As of this post, 658 pharmacy technicians, assistants, students and supporters of our profession are members of PTSA.
In addition to sharing information through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, the PTSA Blog and PTSA.ca are the most important tools PTSA uses for engaging with the membership. The membership and education courses databases are also controlled through our website. Updates to the website were needed to maintain the integrity of database information and respond to changes in cyber technology. In March 2021, PTSA launched a brand new website! The new site has all of the same information with an improved user experience. Click here for more information about how to access your new and improved membership dashboard.
Providing Good Governance
One of the first pieces of work the Board completed this year in order to meet its responsibility of providing good governance was to evaluate and update the Society’s code of conduct and conflict of interest policies. These policies outline the expectations for PTSA volunteers. Read more information about the policies here: New Policy – Compensation and Incentives – PTSA.
Actions related to implementation of the policies continued throughout the year. In June, the board drafted a list of services for which a PTSA volunteer may receive compensation for. Members were invited to provide feedback, letting the board know if you agree with the list and your suggestions for changes. Initial feedback was discussed during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) Townhall session. The board will now take all comments under review and consider any proposed revisions before approving a final list. Once the list has been approved, it will be communicated with the membership.
Information about the operational state of the organization was discussed at the virtual AGM, September 11, 2021. Members can access the AGM materials including minutes from last year as well as financial statements here.
When the Administrator position was introduced in 2019, the Board planned to evaluate how the position impacts our ability to meet the Society’s goals within two years. Due to competing priorities, the Board was not able to complete this evaluation and extended Teresa Hennessey’s contract for one year (end date of June 30, 2022). More information about next steps for the Administrator position will be shared over the next several months.
What strategy and work accomplished this past year is most important to you? Are there things you’d like to see PTSA work on that have not already been identified? Share your thoughts in the comments below or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org