Even though we missed the opportunity to network, learn and develop at an in-person conference this year, PTSA members who attended the 2020 Virtual Conference got the chance to do just that in our “Altered Reality”. Over the course of two days, and through a modified program in an online environment, 270 pharmacy technicians from across Canada attended presentations and participated in discussions that informed, motivated and offered tools to transform the way we practice as pharmacy technicians.
The virtual conference would not have been possible without the diverse group of speakers, our sponsors and the dedication of a small group of volunteers building on the in-person planning committee’s work – and learning a few things along the way.
One attendee had this to say about the conference, “I liked how the topics were current and relevant to our practice. I really liked all the discussions between presenters and attendees. It felt as if it was more of a live discussion than just sitting and watching.” Another attendee said that “despite the lack of a large social gathering I still felt connected to the attendees at the conference and speakers.”
Two of the sessions that generated the most discussion were Lindsay Mark’s presentation on Saturday about “Maximizing the Role of the Pharmacy Technician in Community Practice” and Sunday’s “Town Hall: Are we There Yet? – Pharmacy Technicians under Review” facilitated by Morgan Lahl. During her presentation Lindsay shared that she created several tools within her own practice to help with screening for vaccine and care plan eligibility. We’re very pleased that Lindsay has agreed to make these tools available to all PTSA members to help others improve their practices. Once she has finished the necessary edits, they’ll be available on the website. The facilitated questions Morgan posed during the Town Hall sparked discussion that encouraged self-advocacy of pharmacy technicians and our role. By the end of the session a What’s App group was created to continue the discussion and share ideas for change. If you’re interested in participating in this group please contact us and we’ll share contact info. PTSA members can access Lindsay’s and Morgan’s, as well as all the, presentation slides and recordings from the conference until November 30, 2020 here: https://ptsa.ca/2020-conference-presentations/
Great education and discussion are definitely benefits of a conference regardless of how it’s delivered but it also wouldn’t have been a conference without prizes. Throughout the weekend several prize giveaways were awarded. Congratulations to our winners:
- Free Registration for the 2021 Conference: Pamela Litowski
- An Evening of Romance package (donated by the Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza Hotel): Tenzin Phunkhang
- Customized Conference prize pack: Sandra Rousseau
- PTSA prize packs: Geoffrey Maher and Emmanuella Oluwatomi
- Self-Care prize pack (donated by NorQuest College Pharmacy Technician Program): Terra Young
Through the conference evaluations, there was also some great feedback shared by attendees that can improve similar events in the future, specifically starting the conference a bit later in the day and having longer breaks between sessions. And as always there were great suggestions for future topics and ideas for developing a program that is applicable to various practice settings.
From the feedback we also heard that many attendees enjoyed the virtual conference but would prefer an in-person conference, while others were in favor of always having a virtual option. So what does that mean for future conferences? We’ll just have to wait and see. In the spring when the pandemic was declared and restrictions on gatherings were implemented, PTSA decided to postpone the 30th Annual Alberta Pharmacy Technician Conference to be held in Calgary in 2021. The success of the 2020 Virtual Conference reinforced PTSA’s priority of providing more opportunities for online learning. If you’d like to be involved in planning for next year, or have ideas for speakers to provide webinars throughout the year, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.