Jade Carter is the Pharmacy Technician Team Leader, at one of the largest private hospitals (Hollywood Private Hospital) in WA. Jade has worked with Epic Pharmacy for the past 10 years and has been at Hollywood Private Hospital for 5 years . Throughout her time with Epic Pharmacy, Jade had many different roles and enjoyed the different challenges she was faced with.
Earlier this year Jade was fortunate enough to be selected to be a part of a steering committee on one of the SHPA projects. The project was looking at the Role Redesign of the Pharmacy Technician in a hospital setting. This is something Jade is extremely passionate and enthusiastic about, the thought of expanding the scope of practise for Pharmacy Technicians in Australia is extremely exciting and something she would love to continue to be a part of. In the future Jade hopes to be able to continue to assist in developing different roles for Pharmacy Technicians and enhancing the roles Pharmacy Technicians already complete.
Aim: To identify the perceived barriers and challenges of expanded roles of pharmacy technicians working in Australian Hospitals.
Method: Barriers and challenges associated with expanded roles for pharmacy technicians were investigated using a qualitative survey administered to six Directors of Pharmacy (DOP) working in private and public hospital settings across Australia. The questionnaire was designed to explore opinions regarding barriers and challenges associated with expanded technician roles in (1) Final dispensing checking, (2) medication histories, (3) basic medication counselling, (4) medication reconciliations and (5) ordering medication for inpatient supply.
Results: All DOPs were very positive about change and considered this essential and inevitable. The most frequently identified barriers were (1) the lack of a nationally recognised qualification and defined scope of practice (2) lack of formal accountability through professional regulation. Potential barriers raised also included whether technicians were confident to accept the responsibility associated with extended roles. Issues associated with workforce redesign were also raised such as potential changes in skill mix as a result of differential labour costs and what this could mean for pharmacist posts. Potential concerns were expressed around ensuing the training did equip technicians with the skills to identify potential medication safety issues. Of all areas reviewed, participants felt technicians providing basic medication counselling was least favoured.
Conclusion: The DOPs identified a number of potential challenges and barriers. These issues will require consideration in order to provide reassurance to pharmacists and improve acceptance of change.