Pharmacy technicians discuss different continuing education requirements around the world


Q: What kind of continuing education is needed to help meet these growing responsibilities?

Joao Jose Joaquim: We are looking for that, and we are also looking for certification for certain tasks, and continuous development [is] Very important. Vaccination is one of the examples, we are preparing because we do not have the skills and knowledge during the graduation on the subject. We have a special course on vaccination in community pharmacies for our professionals. We also have a master’s degree here in Portugal. We also research patient safety issues. We have a master’s degree in applied pharmacotherapy with advanced pharmacotherapy topics in pharmacology, drug safety, pharmacovigilance, medication errors, so we seek to develop a new level of skills and a new level of responsibility, especially when we talk about the relationship with patients. Because we have to do more, do more, we have to do more at that level to educate people to deal with medication, drugs, because the level of knowledge in the normal population is very low. I think that’s one of the challenges of the profession and also of the sector to be aware of these kinds of drug issues and to try to have more development conferences on this subject to develop . We seek the continuous development of the profession as a very important tool for the future.

Samantha Quai: In the UK there are different CE cost providers. We have government funded programs in each country for training to provide basic services, eg medication, consultations, with the patient and also for extended services in nursing homes and primary care. There are formal qualifications such as postgraduate degrees and certificates to develop the clinical skills and knowledge of people in patient and public facing roles. These are technicians financed with specific qualifications. Then, as people progress, there are programs to develop knowledge and skills in specialist areas, eg procurement, public health. Along with this, there are also various leadership and management programs tailored to each level of practice. During your career, you will have something to learn from a leadership and management perspective. These are not necessarily pharmacy-specific, but some are.

I think it’s really important to recognize that there needs to be an equal opportunity for pharmacy technicians to access all of these types of programs and funding, there’s always a need for the profession to amplify the demand for parity as a system with fellow pharmacists if we are to achieve the collective goal of providing the best possible care to people who use pharmacy services. There are things there, but it’s not always accessible. I think that’s something we need to continue to champion for pharmacy technicians, given all of the roles that we’ve talked about from antimicrobial stewardship, policy development, supply, asepsis, preparation, all of these things require an increased level of education and training to give birth safely. There are things there, others need to be developed, and certainly just access to funding and the ability to undertake them.

Tiffany Kofroth: At the state level, so I’m in Texas, we have to have 20 hours of continuing education. With this, whatever topics you want to cover, it can be something you don’t really know or something you work on day to day, but you need to earn 20 hours of continuing education every 2 years to the state. Now, if you are in a prep area or performance septic technique, you should have 2-4 hours depending on your level of expertise in sterile prep topics. It is a requirement for the State of Texas to practice here. It’s every 2 years. At the national level, or your pharmacy technician certification, it is also 20 hours of CE. One hour should be dedicated to patient safety, which is very important, and then 1 hour should be dedicated to pharmacy law. The other 18 hours can be for content you want to use, plus a 2-year recertification cycle.

For technicians who have also completed the role or completed the training and certification requirements to be an advanced pharmacy technician, called CPhT-Advanced. These technicians have received specialized training and have completed at least 4 specialized certifications, which, then they will have this title and when they recertify, they must have 25 hours of continuing education, therefore 5 additional hours, and if one of these technicians is also a nationally certified sterile preparation technician, they also have during these 25 hours, 10 hours of continuing education for sterile preparation subjects. That’s how the role is here.

In terms of recertification and the institutional level, I work in pharmacy education, so I actually create educational activities for our technicians. We do at least 2 hours per year, so every two years for sterile preparation, then we also offer other continuing education activities throughout the year depending on the competence requirements or any type of requirements organizational.


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