NAPRA News: Standards, Scope and Stats
It’s been a busy month for the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA). NAPRA has recently published several documents that will help guide pharmacy practice. Read on for a summary of what’s new.
Model Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians
The separate model standards documents have been combined into one Model Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. The new document outlines the core roles for pharmacy professionals practicing in Canada, even though there may be differences between jurisdictions. The standards are based on five domains which are summarized in a Quick Reference Guide:
- Providing Care
- Knowledge and Expertise
- Communication and Collaboration
- Leadership and Stewardship
Within the five categories of activities are standards and indicators of what one would expect to see when the standard has been met. The document reflects the core role for pharmacy technicians of providing technical aspects of pharmacy services to support optimal pharmacy care for patients. Where expectations for performing this role differs from the pharmacist role of using their medication expertise to provide care, the indicators have been separated.
The standards reflect newer practice areas for pharmacy technicians that were absent in the former document, including administering medications and performing point-of-care tests. It is now up to each provincial regulatory body to decide how to use the model standards of practice. Whether that will mean changes to how we currently practice in Alberta – we’ll have to wait and see!
Updated Scope of Practice Charts
The Scope of Practice charts for both pharmacy technicians and pharmacists have also been updated to reflect changes in the practice framework across Canada. With the exception of our pharmacy technician colleagues in Manitoba, who are not authorized to transfer prescriptions, scope of practice for dispensing is the same in all jurisdictions that regulate pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy technicians in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have the broadest scope when it comes to compounding, which includes developing a master formula and determining beyond use dates.
The task for performing a procedure on tissue below the dermis has been removed from the chart and more appropriately replaced with two separate activities – conducting tests and administering. Ontario and New Brunswick remain the leaders in terms of providing the broadest scope of practice for pharmacy technicians overall.
National Statistics for 2022
Stats on the number of registered pharmacy technicians and pharmacists, as well as licensed pharmacies in Canada are now available on the NAPRA website. Next to Ontario (5298), Alberta has the most registered pharmacy technicians (1779). In most of the provinces that track practice setting, about 60% of pharmacy technicians practice in hospital pharmacies (BC, NL, ON, PE, SK). In contrast, the majority of pharmacy technicians in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are practicing in community pharmacies. Alberta does not track this information.
There are still not enough pharmacy technicians in Canada for there to be a pharmacy technician practicing in every licensed pharmacy. Based on the numbers reported in the Alberta College of Pharmacy’s 2020-21 Annual Report, licensed pharmacies in Alberta have increased by 4.7% whereas the number of pharmacy technicians has only increased by 3.4%.
What do you think about this information? Share your comments below.
About the author: Since receiving her pharmacy technician diploma in 1998, Teresa Hennessey has practiced in front-line and leadership roles in both community and hospital pharmacies. Teresa is dedicated to helping pharmacy technician practice evolve and will share her ideas and opinions on this topic with whomever will listen.