Lorah Hickman is a UK trained Pharmacy Technician, she completed her initial training in 2007 and later completed the training and credential required to work as an Accuracy Checking Pharmacy Technician (ACPT).
In 2010 she moved into a training and development role where she completed 2 further qualifications in assessment and internal verification to allow her to work as a NVQ assessor and verifier.
In this role she mentored and assessed pre-registration Pharmacy Technicians, verified the assessment decisions of allocated assessors, mentored and assessed trainee assessors, ensured training and development needs of the Pharmacy Technicians within the department were met, worked as an ACPT and worked as a Medicines Management Technician.
In 2013 she moved to Australia to work at the Alfred Hospital as the Senior Technician for Training and Development.
She ensures in house credentials for Technicians are fit for purpose and is currently mentoring 2 cohorts of staff through their certificate III/ IV.
Lorah is currently the National Pharmacy Technician Network chair and the Technician representative for the Vic branch of the SHPA.
Local and international evidence demonstrates that final checking of dispensed medications can be safely and accurately completed by a trained and credentialed pharmacy technician. This expanded technician role allows pharmacists to increase focus on clinical tasks, providing opportunities to improve patient care, and increasing job satisfaction for technicians and pharmacists. Although Victorian legislation restricts pharmacy technician duties, there is scope for technician role expansion including final accuracy checking of inpatient medication supplies in Victorian hospitals.
In order to implement a Tech-Check-Tech (TCT) program in the inpatient dispensary of a major tertiary hospital, standard operating procedures were developed, and a training and credentialing plan designed based on the UK’s nationally recognised Accuracy Checking Pharmacy Technician (ACPT) program.
Technicians with a Certificate IV in Hospital Health Services Pharmacy Support (or equivalent) and minimum 3 years full-time hospital pharmacy experience, are encouraged to apply to become technician checkers. Introductory readings include standard operating procedures, relevant publications and regulatory papers. Technician candidates attend structured workshops to establish underpinning knowledge, take part in discussion logs and assessed case scenarios, and observation of pharmacists completing checks. Following a practice period, the candidate must successfully complete timed 20-item tests, followed by a credentialing period where they must accurately check 500 items, maintaining up-to-date records of errors identified.
Following completion of training and credentialing the candidate becomes a TCT, and is able to work autonomously. TCTs are required to revalidate as per procedure and maintain a CPD portfolio, keeping up-to-date with best evidence-based practice.
Tech-Check-Tech programs, as part of technician role redesign, allow inpatient medications to be safely and accurately checked by credentialed technicians, freeing up pharmacists to focus on and expand clinical roles. Before TCT programs can be implemented, standard operating procedures, comprehensive training and credentialing programs must be developed, in order to ensure safety and accuracy.