President’s Report – Strengthening our External Partnerships

More than ever, partnerships with external stakeholders are important in meeting PTSA’s goals. At a meeting in November, the executive members of PTSA, the Alberta Pharmacists Association (RxA), the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) and the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Alberta Chapter (CSHP-AB) met collectively for the first time to begin to explore our organizations’ partnership potential. With an agenda set to discuss the vision for pharmacy in Alberta and current issues – including the need to improve intra-professional practices and provide seamless care for patients – we learned that we have a number of priorities in common as well as some work to do to understand how each organization operates.

A clear outcome of the meeting was that we need to work together to build practice environments that enable pharmacy technicians and pharmacists to be recognized for the valuable health services we provide. This includes pharmacy technicians working to their full scope, a quality drug distribution system that is focused on the patient, and professional relationships with each other as well as other healthcare providers. More in depth discussions about how we do this together are still to come.

The PTSA executive took the opportunity to reinforce the message with ACP about the need for a change to the College’s name. One of ACP’s and PTSA’s mutual priorities involves incorporating pharmacy technicians into practice. PTSA suggested that a name change for the College, that is inclusive of pharmacy technicians, would be enabling in achieving this goal. It would reinforce to pharmacists, pharmacy owners, the public and pharmacy technicians that we are an important part of our profession and should be recognized as such.

With RxA, PTSA identified opportunities to collaboratively advocate for practice changes like revisions to the Pharmacy Services Framework. In a survey conducted by ACP in 2014, 36% of pharmacy technician respondents reported that supporting medication reviews is currently part of their role. With pharmacy technicians taking on more responsibility in this area, there is opportunity to redefine how that work is being done in community pharmacies across the province. The PTSA executive is planning to meet with the RxA board later this month to identify areas of mutual focus.

We also had the opportunity to discuss the barriers and challenges that pharmacy technicians and pharmacists face in improving their practices and meeting the health needs of patients. To CSHP-AB representatives we shared that pharmacy technicians from all types of practice settings, hospital included, are struggling with finding opportunities to work to full scope of practice. We identified that there may be opportunities to jointly promote the role of hospital pharmacy technicians during Pharmacy Awareness Week.

Overall, I found that the meeting was successful in setting the foundation for PTSA’s ongoing relationships with ACP, CSHP-AB, and RxA. It is now recognized that discussions about pharmacy practice in Alberta must be inclusive of pharmacy technicians. I see this as a step in the right direction!

What issues are you having in practice? Do you have ideas or suggestions for what PTSA should focus on in collaboration with our external partners?

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