As the responsibilities of pharmacists expand, the role of the pharmacy technician is changing, and technicians are increasingly performing duties that allow the pharmacist time for direct patient care.
Within this process, education is imperative to keep patients safe. Since drug information is constantly changing, it is important to keep up-to-date on drug resources. By the same token, as innovation increases, it is essential for technicians to have multiple resources available to support their work.
Below are the six best online resources for pharmacy technicians:
According to its mission statement, “The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board develops, maintains, promotes, and administers a nationally accredited certification and recertification program for pharmacy technicians to enable the most effective support of pharmacists to advance patient safety.” Some highlights of this online resource include: access to practice exams that help students become familiar with the format of exam questions and provide an indication of areas to focus one’s study; access to The CPhT Connection, a free newsletter disseminated three times annually that includes CE courses, drug news and professional development information; and helpful links to other online resources relating to pharmacy and technician advancement
The National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA) is a professional society established for pharmacy technicians. Membership is open to pharmacy technicians, students and educators. Non-members can access, free-of-charge resources including an online career center, a frequent e-newsletter, recent drug news and updates as well as educational articles pertaining to the field.
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) is one of the largest accredited providers of continuing education for pharmacists and certified pharmacy technicians. Meetings and conferences are also scheduled throughout the year to provide networking opportunities and education. The ASHP website offers free CE publications; interesting topic-specific podcasts; self-study courses for CE credit; health system pharmacy news; and drug shortage and recall information, among other helpful tools.
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website offers endless drug information, including resources about drug shortages, approved drug products, therapeutic equivalence evaluations, drug indexes, common medication errors and more.
Another great resource provided by the FDA is Medwatch, a Twitter account that is continually updated with drug information. Find it at http://twitter.com/FDAMedWatch.
For pharm techs and students on the go, Epocrates Rx is a free mobile drug reference available for almost every smartphone on the market, from the iPhone TM to the Android. The application includes drug information, pill ID, tips on drug interactions, medical calculators and formulary information.
Postgraduate Healthcare Education, LLC provides educational programs through Power-Pak, a source that offers continuing education courses for pharmacy technicians in a variety of topics. These include pharmacy law, women’s health, pediatrics, infectious diseases, pain management and diabetes. Many courses are free of charge and offer a printable certificate of completion for the student’s records.
Finally, know that the drug information available online today can be overwhelming and often unreliable. As a pharm tech, it is imperative to remember to only use drug reference sources that are accredited by a nationally-recognized accreditation agency.