President’s Report – Expanding Continuing Education Opportunities

In my last post I reported on PTSA’s efforts to enhance professionalism through collaboration with our external partners. That work continues, but for the last several months the PTSA board has been focused on working to enhance pharmacy technicians’ access to relevant and quality continuing education.

A big priority for the board has been deciding how to allocate the $25,000 granted to PTSA from the Alberta College of Pharmacists to help support professional development opportunities for pharmacy technicians. We realize it’s not a decision that we can make alone, so earlier this year we asked for your suggestions. From the responses to our survey, it was very clear that pharmacy technicians want access to more online and self-study types of programs, as well as more accredited learning opportunities. You can access the survey results summary by clicking here. While the grant money has not yet been allocated to a particular project, your feedback has not gone unheard. PTSA is putting significant effort into building a web-based learning platform that will help improve the availability of continuing education to pharmacy technicians across the province.

Like the pharmacy technicians that responded to the survey, PTSA also cares about offering learning opportunities accredited for pharmacy technicians. Our Annual Pharmacy Technician Conference was the first, and is the longest running, conference accredited for pharmacy technicians in Canada. We see value in pharmacy technicians not only having access to continuing education accredited for pharmacy technicians, but also having CE that is authored by pharmacy technicians. Last month, PTSA held a pilot workshop in partnership with the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP) and Ensemble IQ, the publishers of TECH Talk newsletter and CE. The workshop introduced pharmacy technicians to Basic Research and Writing Skills. The goal was to provide pharmacy technicians with the knowledge and skills that they can use to begin authoring publications and self-study continuing education articles. While the face-to-face pilot session was only available to 16 PTSA members, it was a huge success. The board is now evaluating the pilot results and considering how availability of the workshop can be spread. You can read more about the workshop’s success in a recent Canadian Healthcare Network article.

In developing a robust and sustainable education plan, PTSA has also been considering if changes are needed to the annual conference or Techs In Touch CE (TTCE) events. We have discussed leveraging the considerable time and effort that goes into planning local TTCE events on a more provincial scale by streaming these events live online or recording them to view at a later date. We’ve also been discussing whether we should hold a future annual conference at a venue outside of Calgary or Edmonton.

I hope to have more news to share on the availability of new education opportunities in the months ahead. Until that time, let us know what you think. What are your priorities for education and professional development?

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