A first-of-its-kind framework has been launched to help pharmacy technicians develop their career pathways.
The advanced practice framework, developed by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), is currently being piloted by 17 pharmacy technicians from across England, Scotland and Wales.
The framework sets standards for the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to reach advanced levels of practice. By mapping their practice against these standards, pharmacy technicians can identify where their skill gaps lie and what to focus on to progress professionally.
Pharmacy technicians on the pilot will be mentored to develop a portfolio evidencing their advanced level of practice that can be used when applying for a promotion, a career change, at interviews and to support secondment applications.
Pharmacy technicians from across the UK and in all sectors (including community, hospital, prison and primary care) were involved in the design of the framework, along with input from educational providers, professional leadership bodies and the General Pharmaceutical Council.
This collective approach has resulted in a broad and inclusive framework that can be used by pharmacy technicians in all sectors and aims to reconcile the differences in practice and opportunities between England, Scotland and Wales.
Margaret Allan, HEIW pharmacy dean, said: “I am delighted that this extremely valuable pilot of the advanced practice framework, which has been developed and led by HEIW, has been launched.
“The development of our pharmacy technician workforce is critical to Wales’ ambitious agenda laid out in Pharmacy: Delivering a Healthier Wales. As pharmacy dean, I am committed to supporting the whole pharmacy workforce across healthcare settings in Wales to have the skills, confidence and competence to provide enhanced patient services at every point of contact.”
While pharmacists have benefited from an advanced practice framework for many years, this is the first time pharmacy technicians will be supported in the same way; an important step in the recognition of the evolving and vital role of technicians providing high quality patient care as part of the pharmacy team.
Emily Wardle, a specialist pharmacy technician taking part in the pilot, said: “The framework enables a clear definition of ‘advanced practice’ for the pharmacy technician profession and facilitates self-assessment to identify and develop needs. This is so important as our profession moves forward, allowing us to focus on skill development rather than role development”.
Katherine Sheen [pictured above], a medicines management technician also involved in the pilot, said: “I am excited and proud to be included in the HEIW pharmacy technician advanced practice framework pilot. Personally, it has given me the chance to evaluate and validate my work. It has also enabled me to focus on my development and growth for the future whilst actively participating in the future development and recognition of the diversity of the pharmacy technician role.”
The initial pilot phase will allow HEIW to test the effectiveness of the framework, including how easily pharmacy technicians can align their skills to it and whether it realistically reflects what practicing at an advanced level means day to day.