Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Perceptions of Pharmacy Technicians and Students regarding Technicians as Pharmacy Instructors

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Perceptions of Pharmacy Technicians and Students regarding Technicians as Pharmacy Instructors

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In 2007, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) instituted new standards to guide pharmacy curricula, which included a minimum of 300 hours of introductory pharmacy practice experiences (IPPEs) to occur in the first 3 years. (1) This new requirement significantly increased the number of student pharmacists doing early practice experiences in hospital and community pharmacies. The goal of IPPEs is to provide student pharmacists opportunities to explore different career paths, apply knowledge learned in the didactic setting to real-world situations, and increase their ability and confidence before entering advanced pharmacy practice experiences in their fourth year.

Several of the competencies from the Center for Advancement of Pharmacy Education for student pharmacist on IPPEs align with distributive functions (Table 1). (2) As pharmacists move toward providing pharmaceutical care and spending more of their time identifying and resolving drug-therapy problems and counseling patients, pharmacy technicians are positioned to teach distributive competencies. Efforts are under way by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and many state boards of pharmacy to ensure consistent training among technicians. ASHP has developed a Model Curriculum for the training of pharmacy technicians, but it does not mention their role as educators and is not yet mandatory. (3) Based on this model, we can justify that several of the competencies of early student experiences fall within the professional responsibilities of a technician; however, little of the professional literature assesses technicians' motivation and confidence regarding teaching these skills or student pharmacists' receptiveness to it.

METHODS

The 55-item technician survey instrument was developed to gather data about demographics, working environments, technician-perceived importance of specific skills and tasks, and confidence in ability to teach those tasks to IPPE students. The 35-item student pharmacist survey instrument was designed to collect information pertaining to experience working as a technician, experience with technicians while on IPPEs, comfort level learning specific tasks from pharmacy technicians, and top items students would like to learn from a pharmacist while on IPPEs. To solicit the tasks that students had learned from technicians and what they would like to learn from pharmacists, the survey allowed them to manually enter up to 3 additional items.

For both survey instruments, items soliciting attitudinal information were collected using a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. (4) A 5-point scale was selected based on a consensus that having 5 response options allows respondents a sufficiently wide range of intensities from which to choose. (5)

Demographic variables were collected using dichotomous responses, multiple-response items, and fill-in-the-blank statements. Data included gender, age, experience as a technician, whether they were certified by PTCB, and for the technician survey, whether their worksites host pharmacy students.

On both survey instruments, the sections pertaining to specific skills and tasks mirrored the types of basic knowledge functions that are represented on the Pharmacy Technicians Certification Examination (PTCE). (6) Variables were drawn from all 3 areas of this examination: assisting the pharmacist in serving patients, maintaining medication and inventory control systems, and participating in the administration and management of pharmacy practice.

After the first draft of the student survey instrument was created, a focus group of 5 students was convened to ensure the survey was clear, comprehensive, and acceptable. After the focus group had reviewed the survey instrument, several revisions were made before the final version was distributed. …

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