Specialized Pharmacy Oncology Technician: DISCUSSION

With the ongoing shortage of pharmacists, implementa­tion of specialized roles for pharmacy technicians represents another way of freeing up pharmacists to perform the clinical duties for which they are trained. In addition to handling routine dispensary duties such as order entry and inventory management, 6 functions have been designated for the specialized technician at Ridge Meadows Hospital. Implement­ing the SPOT position has provided another independent check for calculations, which should reduce medication errors and improve patient safety. Quality assurance procedures, with the pharmacist performing a final check, are in place to ensure that the tasks delegated to the SPOT are performed as expected. Without such measures, the expanded roles of pharmacy technicians may pose risks to patients’ safety.

Empowering technicians in specialized areas such as oncology requires that the technicians develop skills in therapeutics. In addition, support is needed to undertake further education and training. One institution has reported using a structured classroom program to train pharmacists and technicians. Our experience indicates that one-on-one training with a pharmacist and a technician is also feasible. The training has upgraded the technician’s professional knowledge and has translated into great job satisfaction. The training has also enhanced communication among technicians, oncology nurses, and physicians, which has allowed integration of the technician into the collaborative environment of other health care professionals. Viagra Soft Tabs

In the United States, technician certification programs are in place to ensure a recognized level of competence in the handling and preparation of medications. Certification programs in the area of oncology have recently been developed in British Columbia for consistent competency; these are focused mainly on preparing and handling antineoplastic drugs. Such certification programs in conjunction with the regulation of technicians in Canada will ensure the provision of safe, effective health care services, especially in specialty areas.
Given the impending regulation of technicians in some Canadian provinces, we hope to spark interest in supporting their future roles and to allow them to demonstrate their strengths in advancing their role as health care professionals.


The SPOT position has been a useful addition to the oncology service at Ridge Meadows Hospital.