A Look Back at My First Semester

As my first semester in the Pharmacy Technician (PHM) program at Fleming College comes to a close, I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have always enjoyed learning, and to learn about something that I will actually have a career in is rewarding. I found it interesting to learn about where my diploma in Pharmacy Technician will take me after graduation, and about all of the possibilities that being a Registered Pharmacy Technician can offer. I am excited to start thinking of where I will do my field placements later in the program, and to hear about the upcoming courses where I will begin to apply my knowledge from first semester.

I have no regrets from my first semester, but I did have some challenges that I will work on for next semester. I am a quiet person who likes to keep to myself. I don’t mind spending my breaks alone, as I utilized them to get work done and study. However, I do take awhile to get to know new people. This presented as a negative thing when there were group projects. I did find it challenging to speak up and find a group, and I did have to end up doing one group project alone which meant extra work for myself. I definitely will self advocate a lot more next semester, and not be afraid to put myself out there more so I can get to know my peers better, and they can get to know me. I believe this program will be a great stepping stone for me to prepare for the workforce, after spending many years in the home raising kids. This semester and future semesters will not only teach me the knowledge I need to become a Registered Pharmacy Technician, but it will give me the skills to be more assertive and interact with people so I can do well with people in the workplace.

I am looking forward to semester two, and all that is to come after!


Professional Incompetence: Making Errors on the Job

When someone is guilty of professional incompetence, they have demonstrated poor judgment, knowledge, or skills on the job, and have possibly put someone’s welfare at risk. This can happen in any profession. I do not have personal experience witnessing professional incompetence in the workplace, but as a future Registered Pharmacy Technician I would like to consider what this could look like in the pharmacy industry, by drawing from an experience in my family.

Over 40 years ago, when my older sister was an infant, my mother picked up a prescription for her for oral antibiotics. However, when my mother got home and was about to administer the medication, she knew the prescription wasn’t correct as they had given her large pills that an infant would not be able to swallow, instead of the intended liquid medicine. After a trip back to the pharmacy, my mother realized that she had received the wrong prescription, as she had received someone else’s heart medication. Thank goodness the error was caught before any harm was done to my sister.

This is an example of professional incompetence on the part of the pharmacy, especially the pharmacist who would’ve been responsible for checking all aspects of the prescription, many years before Registered Pharmacy Technicians. However, I would like to consider what I would do if this happened today, and I was the Registered Pharmacy Technician responsible for checking the medication, but the wrong medication still made its way to the patient who later returned to make me aware of the mistake. I know it’s ethical behaviour to admit the mistake and take the necessary steps to rectify the situation, even if that meant I could get into trouble and be fired. I would have made a mistake that could’ve harmed a patient, and that is not something to hide, but rather is something to learn from, as well as reap the professional consequences. It would be my job as a Registered Pharmacy Technician to work to the best of my ability, and giving the wrong medication, though not intentionally, means I wouldn’t have been using my skills and knowledge wisely. I would be guilty of professional incompetence, and that should not go unnoticed, but be dealt with accordingly.

Humans will make errors; risking professional consequences for those errors is a small price to pay if those errors could have dire consequences to someone else’s health, potentially putting their life at risk.

Professional Misconduct – A Dilemma Worth Considering (by: Melissa Kellar)

As a future Registered Pharmacy Technician, there is a Code of Ethics we must adhere by, so that our job is carried out in a professional manner, with honesty and integrity, in a way that puts the patient first. However, from time to time we may face ethical dilemmas, such as witnessing professional misconduct, and we will have to decide how to handle it.

I have never personally witnessed professional misconduct at a job, as my place of employment has been in my home, as a mother to my three kids. However, when we were asked to reflect on a situation  when someone did not behave professionally, I remembered a situation my mother recently told me about from her line of work, as a Personal Support Worker (PSW).

A patient was to no longer receive diuretic pills (Hydrochlorothiazide) so the pills were to be removed from her blister pack of medications, and discarded in a special container. However, my mother noticed on her shift that these pills were in a different container, not the discard container, and set off to the side. When she inquired about the odd misplacement of the diuretic pills to one of her PSW colleagues, the colleague was not sure either why they were not properly discarded, so she asked the Registered Nurse (RN) on duty. The RN had no problem announcing that she was taking the pills home to use for herself as she was on them anyway, to save her from buying her own prescription and thus saving her money. The PSW colleague of my mother then preceded to tell the management about the stolen pills, and the RN was fired.

My mother did what I would do, inquire why there was the odd misplacement of the pills. However, would I do what the colleague did and run and tattle on the RN, and risk having her fired, especially over water pills? It was not a narcotic after all. However, it comes back to ethics. The pill may only be a diuretic, however is it still a prescription drug, and someone else’s prescription (even though it was not needed for them anymore), and it still equates to stealing. The bottom line, if I have put in the hard work to become a Registered Pharmacy Technician, I would want to be honest, and though I do not want to be a tattle, I would also not want to lose my license because I looked the other way. The RN should have known better from her own years of training. The ethical thing to do is to never steal prescription drugs; it is also ethical to not allow it to happen.

My Journey To Becoming a Pharmacy Technician (Melissa Kellar)

Hello, and welcome to my blog. Let me introduce myself. I’m Melissa, a single mother of three school aged children, living in the small town of Lindsay Ontario. For the past 12 years, I have followed my first passion, which was to stay at home and raise my children. However, now it is the time in my life to start a career and find my next passion, while still being a mother to my amazing kids, of course!

I have always had an interest in the world of pharmacy, and have desired to learn more about this field. I tried to apply for numerous positions as a Pharmacy Assistant, and I even sought out volunteering in a local pharmacy, but all to no avail. I knew that after years of being a stay-at-home mom, I needed to attain new skills to start a career, especially skills pertaining to my interest in a career in pharmacy. As a result, I took the plunge to go back to school and enrol in Fleming College’s Pharmacy Technician program.

I am starting this blog for one of my courses, Professionalism in Pharmacy, to log my academic journey over the next two years as a student in Fleming College’s Pharmacy Technician program. I also hope to track my progress on my path to becoming a Registered Pharmacy Technician, and starting a fulfilling career.

The Pharmacy Technician (PHM) program at Fleming College offers the chance for students to have hands on learning, as well as participate in classes which teach the necessary skills for a career as a Pharmacy Technician. This includes a lab which is a replica of a pharmacy, where students will simulate the duties that they will carry out in a real pharmacy. The PHM program is taught by friendly faculty with personal experience as Pharmacy Technicians, and they are there to help students excel.

I am excited to embark on both my academic, and professional pathway towards becoming a Registered Pharmacy Technician. I look forward to putting in the hard work to have an interesting career that continually challenges me to learn, that helps others through providing healthcare, and that will also provide for my family and give me a sense of accomplishment.