Transfers in a Community Pharmacy: Changing the Dialogue
“Who’s the Pharmacist on today?” A familiar line heard by many Pharmacy staff. Last week ACP released an article on guidance for the transfer of patient care, and it got me thinking about an advocacy topic that I am faced with almost daily. I currently work in a community Pharmacy and transferring care for patients is common. When I have to call another Pharmacy and request a transfer to our store, the conversation usually begins something like this: “Hi! This is Lindsay calling from Sandstone IDA Pharmacy in Blackfalds Alberta for a transfer please”. After confirming the patient name, date of birth and medication needed, the Pharmacy team member on the other end usually then confirms our fax and phone number. It is after this that we always get the question “and Who’s the Pharmacist on today?”.
Fair enough that this is the next question, as it has always been the norm. Even up until a year ago… I myself asked that exact same question when sending a transfer out. Here’s the thing – according to the Scope of Practice for Alberta Pharmacy Technicians, Registered Techs can transfer prescriptions that can legally be transferred to another pharmacy (and receive them as well). We can also receive a verbal order from a prescriber for a schedule 1 drug, and document changes to prescription as a result of authorization from the original prescriber.
Sometimes it is a little uncomfortable at the start to politely respond with “I’m a Technician, and my name is Lindsay” when asked, “Who’s The Pharmacist On?”. This can always be done in a kind and positive way, but I feel that it is important. Equally so it is important to ask “Who is the Pharmacist or Technician?” when sending a transfer out. Since I began doing this, with the help of my Pharmacy Manager, our whole Pharmacy Team has begun to implement this change in dialogue. This helps continue to create awareness and understanding for the Technician role in a gentle, but meaningful way.
So in closing, I would like to challenge all of my fellow Technicians to change their dialogue when dealing with prescription transfers. Whether in a community pharmacy or otherwise, I think this one small change in interaction with other Pharmacy teams and healthcare professionals that would have a great impact on our profession!
Lindsay began her career as a Pharmacy Assistant in 2010. Since then she has obtained a diploma in Medical Lab Technology from NAIT, and also became licensed as a Registered Pharmacy Technician with the Alberta College of Pharmacy in 2016. She currently practices at Sandstone IDA in Blackfalds, AB.
If you had the privilege of attending the 2018 Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia’s Annual Conference, you would have had the opportunity to attend a presentation Lindsay provided about how pharmacy technicians practice in Alberta.