Technician training

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Chapter: Hospital pharmacy : Work force development

Student technician training has evolved significantly over recent years since the introduction of the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level 3 in pharmacy services in 1997.


Technician training

 

Student technician training has evolved significantly over recent years since the introduction of the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level 3 in pharmacy services in 1997. This is a competency-based training programme, consisting of a total of nine (seven core and two optional) units that the student undertakes in the workplace. The student must demonstrate consist-ent competence in a range of activities and undergoes assessment by local work-based tutors. The tutors must gain formal qualifications that help to ensure that they are able to judge evidence fairly and consistently.

 

In addition to the work-based units, students must also gain evidence of their underpinning knowledge. This may be achieved in several ways – some hospitals use distance-learning packages, such as those provided by the National Pharmaceutical Association or the Buttercups scheme. Others attend Further Education Colleges to undertake specific Business and Technology Council (BTEC) courses in order to attain the required under-pinning knowledge.

 

After qualification, many hospital pharmacy technicians take up further structured postqualification training in order to develop new roles within and take on additional responsibilities. The need for formal training and accreditation to perform these new roles is well developed.

 

The first major development for technician training was the introduction of technician checking schemes, which have allowed technicians to perform the final accuracy check of dispensed items. Most NHS regions have now developed accredited schemes that specify the training that an individual must undergo, and the mechanisms for assessment. Upon completion of all stages they gain formal accreditation, which can be recognised by other NHS employers.

 

Pharmacy technicians also develop other roles working more closely with patients to improve medicines management. A range of schemes to enable accreditation of technicians in medicines management, technical services and medicines information is available.

 

Support staff

 

In tandem with the developing roles of pharmacists and pharmacy techni-cians, pharmacy assistants are offered appropriate support to underpin the roles that they are now performing within the pharmacy. This staff group undertake training relevant to their roles and to meet the requirements of the RPSGB for training of support staff,

 

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