Technicians and the future of pharmacy.
Ways in which pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can grow professionally to fulfill pharmacy's fundamental responsibility for appropriate drug use in patients are described. From the 1985 "Hilton Head Conference" on directions for clinical practice in pharmacy, the idea grew that pharmacists' traditional functions should be melded with a clinical orientation to provide pharmacy's maximum contribution to patient care. When the focus shifts from discrete activities of individual pharmacists to overall responsibilities of the department, each pharmacist and technician can see his or her contribution to the clinical endeavor; technicians assigned with a pharmacist to a specific group of patients are likely to take a more active interest in their jobs. Instead of ratios, patient outcome and job satisfaction should be the determinants of staffing patterns. Delineation of roles as judgmental or nonjudgmental should be replaced by clear job descriptions and procedures and an understanding of the complementary roles of pharmacists and technicians. Important elements in technician training include seminars presented by professional staff members and planned jointly by pharmacists and technicians, departmentwide seminars, policies that encourage technicians to join and participate in professional organizations, and liberal tuition-reimbursement policies. For career advancement, the pharmacy organizational structure might contain three levels: technician trainee, technician, and technician specialist. Pharmacists and technicians can overcome barriers between them by realizing the enormous growth potential and value of the services that both provide.
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