BACKGROUND: Within the last decade and given the context of ever-growing complexity in pharmaceutical care the new profession of Pharmacy Technicians (PT) was added to the pharmacy team. Until now, pharmaceutical organizations worldwide are searching for the best way to educate and employ future PTs.
OBJECTIVE: This empirical study set out to gain insight into the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to perform as a PTs. A further aim was to develop a PT competency framework on the basis of experiences and opinions of stakeholders from the Dutch pharmaceutical field.
METHODS: A multi-method qualitative research design was used to develop a competency framework between 2015 and 2017. Data were collected using focus group interviews. Iterative thematic analysis led to an initial framework, which was refined using a modified Delphi-method. A competency domain was considered relevant if a minimum of 70% consensus was reached.
RESULTS: Both PTs (n = 27) and pharmacists (n = 12) participated in the focus groups. The Delphi-panel consisted of PTs (n = 8), pharmacists (n = 12) and representatives of other stakeholders like patient organizations, health policy makers and all levels of pharmacy education (n = 14). The developed competency framework comprises 6 domains: Communication in patient care, Interdisciplinary collaboration, Pharmaceutical expertise, Organization of care practice, Collaborative leadership and Personal development. A detailed description about the practical implications of each domain was added to the framework.
CONCLUSION: The PT competency framework provides a solid foundation for both PT training and curriculum development and is based on several rounds of scientific research. The proposed competency framework may help understand the PT role and how to best prepare for practice within pharmaceutical care.