Pharmacy professionals maintain competency in their practice through professional development and lifelong learning. ACP supports this with our continuing competence program (CCP). ACP and its registrants work together to identify competence goals to ensure that learning transfers into practice.
CCP for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
Pharmacy professionals are required to build on their competencies to assure themselves, their patients, and their healthcare colleagues that they are providing quality care throughout their careers.
All pharmacy professionals must complete the competence program requirements annually to earn practice permit renewal.
The CCP’s five guiding principles are the following:
Flexible – to accommodate different practice settings and learning preferences and to address the full spectrum of learning.
Engaging – to inspire career-long learning, peer-to-peer interaction, and opportunities to connect with mentors, thought leaders, and subject matter experts.
Forward-looking – to help meet the changing needs of Albertans, integrate with other ACP programs, and provide support throughout careers.
Sustainable – to anticipate growing and diverse populations and use evidence-informed tools that can be applied to a diversity of practices.
Responsible – to meet legislative requirements and provide reliable measures to ensure that regulated members are competent to provide safe and effective care.
Every year, all pharmacy technicians and pharmacists must complete the following requirements:
- complete a minimum of 15 continuing education units (CEUs*) and record all learning on one or more learning record(s) (* equal to one hour of learning);
- implement at least one CEU equivalent of learning into their practice and document this on an implementation record; and
- complete any prescribed learning activity that has been assigned by the competence committee.
Areas of learning fall under the following competency categories, as established by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities:
- Ethical, Legal, and Professional Responsibilities;
- Patient Care;
- Product Distribution;
- Practice Setting;
- Health Promotion;
- Knowledge and Research Application;
- Communication and Education;
- Intra/Inter-professional Collaboration; and
- Quality and Safety.
Learning outcomes demonstrated by pharmacists in 2017 included
- managing a patient’s drug therapy and completing a care plan;
- implementing a new or revised policy, procedure, or program within their pharmacy; and
- executing a health promotion activity or implementing a patient education program.
Pharmacy technicians’ learning outcomes included
- collaborating with pharmacists to provide/support patient care;
- developing, implementing, and/or evaluating a new procedure, tool, or program; and
- educating a patient or colleague.
Auditing professional portfolios
Each registered pharmacist and pharmacy technician must complete a professional portfolio—an online record that demonstrates how they have implemented at least one hour of their learning into practice, highlighting measurable outcomes.
Each year, ACP selects a percentage of professional portfolios for audit by peer assessors. Portfolios may be selected for audit through random selection, based on a late or incomplete submission, or upon the request of the registrar. The purpose of the audit is to ensure compliance with the requirements of the competence program.
In 2017, 493 pharmacist portfolios were audited. Of those, 84 per cent met or exceeded established requirements, unchanged from 2016. Twelve per cent did not meet the established requirements due to minor deficiencies. Another four per cent of portfolios audited had significant gaps, errors, or omissions, and were referred to the competence committee for support.
This was the first year pharmacy technicians’ portfolios were officially audited. One hundred and eighty-one pharmacy technicians’ portfolios were audited by peer assessors. Results of the audits were not available at the time of publication.
Overall, the peer assessors were inspired and impressed with the work pharmacy professionals are doing across practice settings. However, they did express a need for pharmacy professionals to provide more detail in their portfolios, including information about the desired outcome of the learning being implemented into their practice.
Additional prescribing authorization
Since 2007, pharmacists in Alberta have had the ability to adapt prescriptions initiated by another prescriber or apply for authorization to initiate drug therapy (i.e.: prescribe drugs). As of December 31, 2017, 2,181 pharmacists in Alberta have obtained additional prescribing authorization, up from 1,658 a year earlier.