The Self-Advocating Pharmacy Technician


Self-advocacy is something that we hear a lot about, especially in the context of resolving issues at work that may be impacting us negatively. Often when thinking of self-advocacy we focus on representing our views or interests, but it is important to remember that self-advocacy means representing oneself as well.

As pharmacy technicians we have a number of opportunities to advocate for ourselves on a daily basis to ensure that we are representing our profession well. Whether we want to take on additional responsibility at work, practice to full scope, or educate our patients on our role, self-advocating can go a long way to facilitating meaningful change.

This is a skill we must hone and practice every day if we want to see pharmacy technician practice continue to grow and evolve. Here are some ways you can become a self-advocating pharmacy technician:

Believe in Yourself

How confident are you? Co-workers and patients alike are going to have a hard time placing their confidence in you if you are not sure of yourself. Unfortunately the old adage “fake it till you make it” will only get you so far (and, if taken to the extreme, it may put your patients and your teammates at risk). Confidence is something that you gain over time with experience.  The self-advocating pharmacy technician is someone who sees learning opportunities as the building blocks of confidence; they take every opportunity to build themselves and others up.

Are you confident in pharmacy technicians as a whole? Do you see value in our role? Do you believe in our potential? If not, you need to ask yourself why. Has something happened to shake your confidence? Perhaps because pharmacy technicians are a new profession you haven’t had the opportunity to see many examples of what a successful, confident pharmacy technician practicing to full scope looks like. Don’t let this keep you from reaching your full potential. The self-advocating pharmacy technician is a leader and a trailblazer who inspires others to follow in their footsteps.

Set an Example

Every day at work you are showcasing not only yourself, but your profession.  Arrive on time prepared to work. Know what is expected of you and meet or exceed those expectations.  Keep your conversations work-related whenever possible; when making small talk ensure your conversation is still professional and would not offend or cause discomfort to anyone that may be within earshot.

Do your teammates view you as a dependable hard worker?  Do you get your work done accurately and on time? Do you ask for help when you need it and then offer help to others when you can? The self-advocating pharmacy technician has a reputation for being someone who takes pride in their work and gets the job done.  Their patients and their peers see them as knowledgeable, dependable, and approachable.

Know Your Role

The self-advocating pharmacy technician is prepared to exceed expectations when the opportunity arises. They are familiar with the pharmacy technician scope of practice and work within it. They aren’t waiting for a pharmacist to tell them what they can do; instead they are always looking for opportunities to support their team.

If one of your teammates asks if a particular function can be carried out by a pharmacy technician you should know the answer. If you don’t know, you need to find out. There are a number of resources available to you including our Scope of Practice Checklist, Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) Standards of Practice, and the NAPRA Model Standards of Practice for Pharmacy Technicians. If you are still unsure after checking those resources, you can reach out to us or ACP for further clarification. The self-advocating pharmacy technician certainly isn’t afraid to say “I don’t know”, but they follow it up with “I will find out!”

I believe in our profession. That is why I went to school and obtained a pharmacy technician diploma in the first place. That belief pushed me to complete bridging and write my PEBC exams. It is what motivated me to register with ACP. It is this steadfast belief that keeps me volunteering many (many) hours with PTSA.

What are you doing to self-advocate? If you have any suggestions on how we can advocate for pharmacy technician practice in our day to day lives, let us know in the comments. We want to hear from you!