Transfers in a Community Pharmacy: Changing the Dialogue

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“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!

About Lindsay

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.

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Our scope of practice includes the transfer of prescriptions. The Standards of Practice state that we assist the pharmacist with transfers. We must provide information to the ‘receiving pharmacist’, so it makes sense that ‘who is the pharmacist’ is asked. In my interpretation, we cannot simply give the other pharmacy our name, as a pharmacy technician receiving (or giving) the transfer. The name of the pharmacist we are receiving or giving the transfer on behalf of is still required.

    This is a good opportunity for advocacy, though. Similar to advocating for pharmacy technicians to be able to order and sign for narcotics, or have 2 technicians be responsible for destroying and witnessing destruction of narcotics, perhaps we should be advocating for the Standards of Practice to be modified so that we are actually responsible for transfers, rather than ‘assisting’ with transfers.

  2. Good point, Susan. It’s federal legislation that requires a transferring pharmacist’s name to be documented when a transfer is completed by the pharmacy technician. There’s advocacy opportunities to see this piece of policy changed as well.

  3. Great point, Susan! As Teresa said, would be interesting to see how the Standards of Practice develops! My thought was – the same way that Technicians perform final checks on prescriptions, we sign our own name and license number and not the Pharmacist that we are being supervised by. Same goes for transfers, and some pharmacy systems have now added the option for “Licensed Technicians” as an option in the drop down for the one sending or receiving a transfer. That being said – perhaps we could do a follow up post on where on the transfer do we include the pharmacist that is on staff? All such awesome points and so happy to have discussion around this! :))