NHA was honored to not only attend, but to participate in multiple industry panel discussions at this summer’s Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) sesssion and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Total Store Expo. Both conferences focused on current pharmacy technician workforce topics and the role they play in optimizing care within the pharmacy profession.
It is well understood within the industry that pharmacy technicians have long been critical members of the pharmacy team. Technician education, certification, and registration have been a key point in pharmacy policy for the last decade or longer. Additionally, as pharmacists’ roles have evolved to include more clinical activities, there has been an increasing emphasis on utilizing pharmacy technicians to ease workflow challenges.
Some of the key takeaways we want to share from the summer sessions are:
- The philosophy of optimizing care centered around the patient relies heavily on the concept of all healthcare professionals working to the top of their license or credential. For expansion of the pharmacy profession to happen, both groups need to evolve in this philosophy simultaneously – the pharmacist and the pharmacy technician.
- As pharmacists take on more clinical responsibilities, they must have increasing confidence in delegating certain tasks to technicians. This confidence has the opportunity to grow with expanded technician experience while demonstrating on-the-job performance and education.
- Within the healthcare profession there is a need to re-imagine the way entry level and advanced practice technicians are positioned. There is often talk about the challenges that exists as the profession looks to formalize a next step for pharmacy technicians with barriers still existing around technician entry into the profession (education, training, and certification).
Both the NASPA and NACDS TSE were energizing and featured great information. As we continue to reflect on the future, NHA believes in and supports the following objectives for the pharmacy technician profession:
- A need for multiple pathways to career entry in the pharmacy technician profession.
- Certification eligibility requirements that reflect and recognize those pathways as viable options for professional success, with certification as the validation tool.
- Pharmacy technician certification providers must secure and maintain NCCA accreditation.
- Certification serves as evidence that individuals are committed to the profession and have invested in their training – a training investment that can be measured in tuition, experiential hours or military service – therefore eliminating the need to mandate a singular training approach.
- Re state registration or licensing of pharmacy technicians in all states.
- National certification as a requirement for registration or licensure of pharmacy technicians.
- The advancement of pharmacy technicians in expanded roles with the appropriate guidelines regarding experience and training.
- Developing and delivery “just-in-time” training products to the industry to help transition certified pharmacy technician to advanced technician roles.
We look forward to attending conferences like the NASPA summer session and NACDS Total Store Expo every year so we can join in the conversation around the evolution of the pharmacy technician profession. We will continue to advocate for pharmacy technician regulation that supports technician advancement and will continue to provide support, tools and resources for their development.