Specialized Pharmacy Oncology Technician: DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNICIAN’S ROLE

Ridge Meadows Hospital is a 302-bed community hospital. The outpatient oncology unit was created in 1997 with a focus on adult patients with solid tumours and malignant hematologic conditions. On average, 15 patients are booked to undergo chemotherapy in this outpatient unit each week. The oncology team, consisting of an oncologist, a nurse, a dietitian, a social worker, and a pharmacist, meets once a month to discuss patient care.

When the clinic was first created, the main roles of the pharmacist consisted of computer order entry, preparation of chemotherapy admixtures, and patient counselling. During the past few years, oncology protocols have become increasingly complex, and it became challenging to have one pharmacist perform all these tasks. Because recruitment of technicians is relatively easier than recruitment of pharmacists, it was suggested that a technician trained to a higher level of competency could help to ease the workload of the oncology pharmacist. The pharmacist could then focus on providing supportive care in the management of adverse effects of treatment, such as chemotherapy- induced nausea and vomiting, neutropenia, diarrhea, or anemia. canada drugs online

A decision to create the SPOT position was made in October 2008, and the position was created shortly thereafter.
The candidate selected for the SPOT position (D.S.) was a graduate from a pharmacy technician program with 4 years of experience as a hospital pharmacy technician. The technician was also proficient in order entry and had been certified under the in-house tech-check-tech program. The SPOT had also completed a standard British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA) examination designed for pharmacists. In addition to preparing chemotherapeutic admixtures, a total of 6 functions were assigned to the SPOT: collecting laboratory data, printing patient profiles, performing calculations, triaging oncology- related calls, submitting drug approvals through the Compassionate Access Program, and interviewing patients.