When it comes to the pharmacy department at Delta County Memorial Hospital (DCMH), its contribution to patient care is vital. From mixing IV medications to completing medication reconciliation, pharmacy technicians are essential in providing high quality pharmaceutical care.
In June 2019, Gov. Jared Polis signed HB19-1242 to regulate pharmacy technicians. Effective March 2020, Colorado will require pharmacy technicians to pass a national certification exam and pass a criminal background check to obtain licensure from the Colorado Board of Pharmacy. With news of the bill, DCMH is excited to announce that all of its pharmacy technicians have passed the national certification exam ahead of the deadline.
Part of pharmacy technician’s effort to provide high quality patient care starts with maintaining a high level of knowledge and education about their profession. They will be required to complete the continuing education requirements to maintain licensure.
“The new certification definitely challenged my team to ask questions and prompted them to think differently,” said Mark Carlton, director of pharmacy at DCMH. “It is a challenge to pass the test, but it is great to have a requirement that raises the standards for providing pharmaceutical care.”
The new requirements will raise the professional standards needed for pharmacy technicians in Colorado. Prior to the bill passing, technicians were able to obtain certification in a few different ways like completing 500 hours of experiential on-the-job training under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist.
“Having the new certification process will only make our profession better,” said Kelly Morfitt, pharmacy technician and medical staff clerk at DCMH. “It will help our patients and will improve our overall patient care. Our top priority is always patient care at DCMH.”
”We’re handling medications that are extremely important for our patients,” said Sergio Corona, certified pharmacist technician. “With the new certification, it is important that we keep our knowledge up to date. It makes us feel more fulfilled and proud of ourselves.”
The pharmacy department plays an important role in patient care. Pharmacy actively participates in medication safety, dispensing medications, clinical rounds with providers, discharge counseling and medication reconciliation. The pharmacists promote evidence-based medicine working collaboratively with doctors. Pharmacy works to ensure patient safety by making sure that medication lists are accurate so the patient’s transition to home is as seamless as possible.
“When patients come to DCMH, a pharmacy technician will visit with new patients to create their medication list. Pharmacy technicians work hard to ensure the medication list is accurate. At every transition of care, there is an opportunity for error, so we really have to be diligent. Medication list accuracy is vital for any transition of care,” said Carlton.
Pharmacy works in partnership with nursing to ensure medication safety for its patients. The pharmacy team at DCMH continues to strengthen its commitment to quality patient care and it shows.
“We have the lowest turnover in any department in the hospital and have a great reputation on the Western Slope,” said Carlton. “People know this is a great place to work and they know that we are partners. When you create partnerships in a working environment where people can use their energy for positivity — it really pays off.”
Carlton said that he asks his team to grow beyond what they might be comfortable with, but it is all in an effort to maintain the high standards the team has created.
“We’ve built a staff where we hire the best people we can find. It feels like it’s a magnetic kind of place,” said Carlton. “People see that we are happy and they want to be a part of that. The barrier for entry is high, but once you are in, you are fully part of the team.”
“We’re really proud of our team. We see our techs as colleagues and we work together toward the same goals. We always include the whole team in our strategic planning. We’ve built this strong culture and it’s working,” said Carlton.