During a community and hospital pharmacy technician practice assessment, practice advisors focus on the following four key areas (categories):
Through a combination of observation and retrospective review of documentation (chart stimulated recall) practice advisors evaluate the processes in place for each of these areas with respect to drug distribution activities, compounding practices, best possible medication histories (BPMH) and patient education activities (i.e. education on devices, compression stockings etc.) as appropriate.
For instance, the practice advisor may have the pharmacy technician provide examples of their documentation from the work that the technician was involved in that day or has recently completed. These examples become the platform to discuss how the technician collaborated, made decisions, documented and communicated to others. Discussions about when the technician refers to or consults with a pharmacist are also very important.
Typically, after seeing some of the work the technician did that day, the practice advisor and technician may discuss other areas of patient care that the technician is involved in (i.e. compounding, BPMH, patient education on devices etc.). A private and confidential area will be sought for discussions.
Throughout the practice assessment, the practice advisor provides feedback outlining areas of practice where the pharmacy technician is doing well and meeting standards as well as areas where there is an opportunity for improvement. They offer support through coaching and conversation, pointing out opportunities to enhance practice, probing the thinking behind certain practice and decisions, and indicating where to access helpful resources
The practice assessment typically takes 40-60 minutes, however this is dependent on patient care tasks the technician is involved in.
The results of a practice assessment are confidential and are not shared with employers, owners, colleagues or any College committee, other than the Quality Assurance Committee.
Pharmacy professionals are expected to maintain a learning portfolio, which is a current document of their learning activities. The learning portfolio is a tool that assists pharmacy professionals in planning and documenting their learning activities. It is separate from the on-site practice assessment with the practice advisor. The practice advisor is able to answer questions you may have about your portfolio, but it is not part of this assessment.
No. Practice advisors will only assess the processes that a pharmacy technician is responsible for in their place of practice. If a pharmacy technician does not perform sterile compounding, for example, they would not be asked about it.
Yes, the self-assessment is a quality assurance activity required by the College. The self-assessment is an important tool that assists pharmacy professionals in identifying their learning needs (both those to maintain competency and those to advance professionally) and in creating a plan for learning. Every year, 20% of pharmacy technicians will be randomly selected to complete the Self-Assessment Tool. This means that every pharmacy technician will be selected to participate once every five year cycle.
The College will assess all pharmacy technicians every four to six years.
Practice assessments are a critical component of quality assurance, which exists to ensure that pharmacy professionals maintain appropriate skills and knowledge throughout their careers and is a core part of the College’s mandate. The transition to assessments at the individual’s place of practice reflects evolving public and patient expectations that the College regularly engages with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to ensure that safe and appropriate patient care is being provided.
Yes. A practice advisor will notify the pharmacy technician being assessed one to two months prior to their assessment date.
If the pharmacy technician does not meet the standards indicated on their first assessment, they are given the opportunity to spend time with a quality assurance (QA) coach.
This coach is not a College staff member, but rather a peer pharmacy technician who can provide support specifically in areas where there is room for improvement. This half-day interactive session is designed to enhance the professional’s practice. Following the session with the QA coach, the pharmacy technician will be reassessed by another practice advisor.
If there are still significant areas of practice that require improvement following this second assessment, a QA assessment will take place and the results will be sent to the QA Committee for consideration. The QA Committee may provide recommendations to help the pharmacy technician meet standards by identifying appropriate remediation, always recognizing that patient safety is the first priority.
With an emphasis on education, the goal of practice assessments are to increase adherence to practice standards, help pharmacy technicians practice to their full scope, and ultimately support optimal health outcomes.
Yes. The results will be available on the OCP member login portal within 48 hours of the completion of the assessment.
No. As a member of a regulated health profession, pharmacy technicians have a responsibility to ensure they maintain appropriate skills and knowledge throughout their careers. Demonstrating this is an expectation of the College. Assessments at the individual’s place of practice reflects evolving public and patient expectations that the College regularly engages with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to ensure that safe and appropriate patient care is being provided.