I had the opportunity to represent PTSA at the 42nd Annual Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) Western Branches Banff Seminar in March. The event’s theme brought together over 300 pharmacists, students, pharmacy technicians and industry representatives “Seeking to find the answer to the ultimate question of Life, The Universe and Everything Pharmacy”. For those of you familiar with Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, you may remember that the answer to all things is 42.
Although this was a conference with sessions aimed at a pharmacist’s scope of practice, I still found the sessions to be informative and relevant to my practice as a pharmacy technician. Dr.Sheri Koshman (Associated Professor of Medicine and Clinical Pharmacist in Edmonton) and Kelly Babcock, (Director of Pharmacy for the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region) held a semi-formal debate over the future of hospital pharmacy, Inpatient vs. Outpatient. Mr. Babcock spoke about the importance of moving pharmacists out of the dispensing roles and having pharmacy technicians move into those roles. I introduced myself to him after the debate and thanked him for bringing forward a critical key point that we, as pharmacy technicians, already understand; that when a pharmacy technician is working to their full scope, it shifts the workload and allows the pharmacist to engage in more patient care activities.
In one of the Saturday sessions, titled “Pharmacist Prescribing in Alberta: A New Era of Evidence”, Dr. Tsuyuki presented several studies conducted on patients with hypertension, dyslipidemia and Type 2 diabetes when pharmacists prescribed and managed ongoing care for them in community pharmacies. These studies boasted significantly positive results and had me thinking about the roles that pharmacy technicians can play in supporting patient care. For example, pharmacy technicians can assist patients in selecting the appropriate blood pressure monitor, teach them how to properly take their blood pressure at home (or in the pharmacy) and discuss target ranges. We can work collaboratively with the prescribing pharmacists to provide ongoing care for a disease state that affects over 20% of Canadians.
I am thankful for the opportunity to have been able to attend the Banff Seminar. It allowed me to see some of the opportunities, challenges and successes that pharmacists face as they embrace their clinical scope of practice. It also allowed me to reflect on the pharmacy technician scope of practice, its evolution, and the ways we can work synergistically along side of our colleagues.
We are very happy to announce that 2016 Banff Seminar has been retroactively accredited for pharmacy technicians. The Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP) and PTSA have made a commitment to collaborate to advance the availability and access to quality continuing pharmacy education for pharmacy technicians. PTSA felt that The Banff Seminar stood out as an obvious opportunity to take learning that was already accredit for pharmacists and accredited it for pharmacy technicians as well. A big thank you to the CCCEP and the Banff Seminar Planning Committee for their follow through and commitment to increasing the amount of accredited learning available to pharmacy technicians.