Pharmacy Technician Program Focuses on Practical Application of Theory

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    Feb 07, 2014
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Pharmacy Technician Program Focuses on Practical Application of Theory Photo by Jason White

While other post-secondary Pharmacy Technician programs tend to focus on theoretical knowledge, Centennial College’s undertaking prides itself on being project-oriented. Not only do students get to work in a mock pharmacy setting to apply what they learn in their courses, they also get to experience two separate work placement experiences.

These placements (the first in a community pharmacy and the second in an institutional pharmacy) introduce students to the different settings and allow them to become comfortable with the computer system, dispensing, multi-tasking, trouble-shooting, patient profiles, customer service, cash handling, front-shop layout / merchandising, loss prevention methods and schedule III policies. It is also an introduction to drug ordering systems, third party billing and on-line adjudication.

Here are some other courses that prepare students to receive their Ontario College Diploma.

Introduction to Pharmacology: Presented in the second semester, this course teaches students the pharmacological and therapeutic classifications of drugs. Performing tasks in a particular order, specific drugs with a discussion of their general properties, mechanism of action, pharmacologic effects, therapeutic uses, and adverse effects are covered.  The course is followed up in semester three with Advanced Pharmacology. The Advanced topics include: Health Canada prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, natural health products, and diagnostic and monitoring devices that are linked to the medical conditions in relation to hospital and community dispensing. 

Compounding: Students work with common compounding formulas, drug stability and drug compatibility reference materials as well as product storage requirements and documentation practices. They also get to practice ingredient calculations, measurements, preparation techniques and independent checking while utilizing pharmacy software.

Aseptic Technique Principles (1 and 2): Presented as two courses, this aspect of the offering begins by having students develop the skills necessary for the safe manufacturing of parenteral pharmaceutical products. Students learn and practice the various techniques necessary in product manipulation and preparation, while performing precise calculations when dealing with medications and adhering to pharmacy manufacturing protocols.  In the second of the two courses, students learn concepts of TPN, chemotherapy, pain control devices and specialty sterile compounding.  By using doctor’s orders, worksheets and manufacturing records, students have the opportunity to practice reading, interpreting and preparing a variety of orders while adhering to pharmacy and manufacturing protocols. 

Institution Communications and Operations: Students become familiar with various types of institutional health care settings, and the pharmacy practice settings that are utilized within each institution. The interrelationship of various health care professionals practicing within the institutions is examined with an emphasis on the laws and regulations and ethical standards that govern institutional operations.

After completing each Pharmacy Technician course, students may begin the process to become a Registered Pharmacy Technician (RPhT) with the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP). The Pharmacy Technician program at Centennial College is accredited with the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs.

Author's Profile

Jason, the author of this article, focuses on the Pharmacy Technician offering at Centennial College. It is a two-year program that ranges from theory and practical courses to two field placements in pharmacy settings.

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