Important Survey to Inform Pharmacy Technician Practice


The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) is inviting pharmacy professionals to participate in a survey about the competencies for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists at entry-to-practice. This survey is part of the project to review and update the current competencies.

NAPRA-competenices-quote-1024x1024.pngA working group has developed a draft of what the new competencies will look like but broader input from the profession is needed. NAPRA entry-to-practice competencies form the foundation for the practice framework in Canada and it’s important for pharmacy technicians to have a say in the changes that will affect our future practice. There are separate surveys for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. Pharmacy technicians are invited to complete the survey regarding the pharmacy technician’s role. You can find more information about how to access the survey on NAPRA’s website here: Invitation to Participate in a survey regarding the Professional Competencies for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians at Entry to Practice in Canada – NAPRA.

The survey reflects the format of the proposed new competencies and asks respondents to confirm each competency’s level of importance for safe and competent performance of an entry-level pharmacy technician. It also asks about the frequency with which each competency is demonstrated in practice. The proposed draft reflects 5 competency areas in comparison to 9 areas in the current version.

In addition to an overall change to the number of competency areas, changes have been proposed that will impact how new pharmacy technicians are prepared to enter practice. Currently, pharmacy technicians must be able to demonstrate that they can prepare and compound non-sterile and sterile products at entry-to-practice. The new competencies state that pharmacy technicians must be able to compound non-sterile, non-hazardous products at entry-to-practice but only understand the general principles of sterile and hazardous compounding (proposed competencies 1.7.2 to 1.7.4).

At this year’s Townhall during the Annual General Meeting, PTSA introduced our plans to develop a position paper regarding sterile compounding competencies, specifically. From feedback collected by NAPRA in the Spring of 2023, it was apparent that changes to this competency were being considered. Through the passionate discussion, it was clear that the membership feels that compounding, including sterile compounding, is a core competency for all pharmacy technicians. More information about that work can be found here: Have your say! Sterile Compounding Competencies Position Paper – PTSA.

The proposed changes will mean that pharmacy technicians would no longer be authorized to compound sterile products when they first enter practice and would need to complete additional assessments and apply for additional authorization in order to practice sterile compounding. PTSA has concerns that these changes will negatively impact pharmacy technician practice. Read the Position Paper: Compounding Competencies for Pharmacy Professionals for more information.

Members of the PTSA advocacy committee, along with representatives from the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacy Technician Society of British Columbia reviewed the draft competencies. Generally, the proposed amendments create broad competency statements that reflect current competencies. There was consensus that competencies 1.7.2 to 1.7.4 must be further revised to reflect pharmacy technicians and pharmacists continuing to be required to safely compound quality hazardous and non-hazardous, sterile and non-sterile compounds at entry to practice. Additionally, the committee agreed that these competencies are critical for the safe and competent performance of an entry-level pharmacy technician. A letter has been sent to NAPRA to provide this feedback along with comments regarding several other competencies.

The survey also asks pharmacy technicians to assign a frequency rating for each competency that reflects how often the competency is demonstrated. Since practice settings and professional practices vary so greatly, the committee feels that ALL competencies have the potential to be demonstrated daily where applicable.

We encourage you to review the position paper and feedback letter so that you can be better informed when you respond to the survey yourself. The response deadline has been extended to January 3, 2024.

Drop a comment below when you’ve reviewed submitted your survey response.

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