Pharmacy Assistant Program Outline & Career Information
In the Pharmacy Assistant Program students receive comprehensive training to assist Pharmacists. Duties involve prescription requests, managing inventory, and maintaining patient data and profiles. In addition, communicating effectively with patients, suppliers and health care personnel is an important and an acquired skill. Furthermore, students practice critical-thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, and sound judgment techniques.
Throughout the program general concepts of pharmacology and the principles of drug action are studied. Topics include pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and toxicologic aspects and applications. In addition, knowledge of drugs used in the treatment of various diseases and disorders are gained. For example, drug classification, therapeutic effects, side/adverse effects, brand/generic names, dosage forms, routes of administration, commonly used dosage strengths, directions for use of these medications and proper use of auxiliary labels.
- Theory Length – 32 weeks
- Internship Length – 8 weeks
- Total Length – 40 weeks
Introduction to Pharmacy Practice
This module introduces the practice of pharmacy within the Canadian Health Care System. In short, topics include health care and pharmacy team members and their roles, responsibilities and interrelationships. Furthermore, an overview of the history, professionalism, standards of practice, code of ethics, professional associations and regulatory bodies, career opportunities and current trends are studied.
Human Anatomy & Physiology, Medical Terminology
Human anatomy provides the basic knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of body systems and their associated disorders with an emphasis on the anatomical areas mostly affected by drugs. Furthermore, introductions to the study of normal body system structure and function, the recognition of various homeostatic imbalances, basic chemistry, common diseases and disorders, medical terminology and medical abbreviations.
Computer Applications / Keyboarding
Computer applications provide an overview of Microsoft Office, developing skills that permit work with several MS modules as they relate specifically to project management. Overall, knowledge is gained in Microsoft Office, Excel, PowerPoint, MS Project, and Outlook.
Interpersonal Skills / Communication
Effective interpersonal communication skills for managing personal and work relationships are crucial. And, is useful to gain voluntary compliance with managing conflicts within a multicultural society. In addition, a solid review of English grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure helps improve written communication.
Calculations are used in pharmacy on a regular basis. It begins with a review of basic mathematical operations covering fractions, decimals, ratios, proportions, and percentages. Later, it progresses to performing more complex calculations required for medicine dosages and solutions, prescription pricing and retail mathematics.
Pharmaceutical Law and Ethics
Ethical issues include classic bioethics and contemporary healthcare. These topics are challenged to reflect on student values and beliefs and are analyzed through numerous discussions held by others. In addition, students are introduced to Federal and Provincial drug legislation as it relates to pharmacy practice, including patient privacy requirements.
Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Fundamentals
General concepts of pharmacology and the principles of drug action include pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and toxicologic aspects with applications. Furthermore, drug classifications as related to their action on the body and the therapeutic classifications as defined in the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary are taught. In addition, common side effects such as contraindications and drug interactions are investigated.
This module provides skills in compounding a variety of non-sterile products including various mixtures, creams and ointments, solutions and suspensions. Students become familiar with the types of equipment used in compounding products and how to properly use and care for it. Furthermore, students learn to calculate the appropriate amount of each ingredient, use the correct compounding techniques, apply corresponding quality assurance procedures and compound according to those laws, regulations, and standards that govern the preparation of non-sterile products.
Sterile Products and Introduction to Institutional Practice
A focus on aseptic techniques and sterile product preparation as they apply to institutional care setting, including an introduction to the delivery of pharmacy services in a hospital setting. Topics covered include microbiology and disease transmission, infection control and methods to prevent the spread of disease, W.H.M.I.S and handling of bio-hazardous materials.
Introduction to Pharmacy Management Software
Students learn pharmacy management software systems and the role of computers in pharmacy practice including the history of computers in pharmacy practice, current practice applications and future trends.
Retail Pharmacy Practice
Retail pharmacy involves effective practice in a community pharmacy setting. Students learn how to completely fill a prescription in a laboratory setting. An emphasis is placed on correct dispensing techniques, including interpretation of the prescription, creating/updating patient profiles, calculations, measuring, labeling, packing and product presentation.
Employment and Career Management
Career management helps prepare students for employment, conduct a successful campaign to find employment, and be successful in their career as a Pharmacy Assistant. Topics include preparation of a résumé, cover letters and thank-you letter to use in job search.
Students complete 200 hours of clinical work placement in a community pharmacy or similar organizational setting. Activities performed vary depending on the clinical placement site, however, key responsibilities of each student include being supervised by a clinical placement host at all times.