Specialized Pharmacy Oncology Technician

Pharmacy Oncology


During the past 40 years, the roles of the pharmacy technician have expanded to services beyond traditional duties within the pharmacy department, correlating with the ever-changing needs of the health care system. In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the roles of pharmacy technicians go beyond those of their Canadian counterparts to include advising patients about medications, reviewing medication charts, and identifying medication-related prob­lems, which can then be referred to pharmacists for resolution, which is more commonly known as follow-up for drug-related problems. In the United Kingdom, pharmacy technicians can also participate in discharge planning, can work in anticoagula- tion clinics, and can provide medication information to patients. In that country, voluntary registration to become a pharmacy technician started in 2005 and will be mandatory by 2011. Pharmacy technicians who are not registered by 2011 will no longer be able to call themselves pharmacy technicians or work in that capacity.

In Canada, a national initiative is under way to regulate pharmacy technicians. Once regulated, pharma­cy technicians will have an expanded scope of practice, for which they will be accountable and responsible. As in the United Kingdom, current technicians who choose not to go through the transition processes will not be able to call themselves pharmacy technicians. Starting with the definition of a national scope of practice in 2005, initiatives that have been explored include education outcomes, entry-to-practice compe­tencies, accreditation of training programs, evaluation and entry-to-practice examinations, and bridging programs to support individuals currently employed as pharmacy technicians. The Canadian Council for the Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs is currently accrediting pharmacy technician programs in Canada in anticipation of the regulation of these allied health professionals. viagra jelly

In 2007, the Health Systems Improvement Act was passed by the Ontario Legislature, which enabled the regulation of pharmacy technicians by the Ontario College of Pharmacists. In British Columbia, initiatives are also under way for the regulation of technicians by the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia. The BC legislation allows pharmacists to manage, supervise, teach, or train others, including technicians, to provide pharmaceutical care.

Recently, there was an opportunity to place a technician in the oncology unit at Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. No previous publications have described an enhanced role for technicians working in specialized areas. We describe here the unique position of a technician at Ridge Meadows Hospital who specializes as a clinical support techni­cian in oncology and is known as the Specialized Pharmacy Oncology Technician or SPOT.