Pharmacy Technicians Share Personal COVID-19 Stories

June 16, 2020

Via a new web platform, pharmacy technicians are sharing their personal challenges during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Via a new web platform, pharmacy technicians are sharing their personal challenges during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Confronted with the [COVID-19] pandemic, pharmacy technicians are demonstrating unwavering commitment, strength, and courage as they work alongside pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and emergency response teams across pharmacy settings,” said the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) in a press release.

PTCB launched #CPhTStrong, a platform for certified pharmacy technicians to share personal stories of their challenges during COVID-19.

“We help patients by providing meds so that they can go home instead of staying in the hospital. My fear of COVID-19 is there is no cure or vaccine yet, and that there aren't enough tests,” one pharmacy tech wrote on the website. “We come in, change our clothes and shoes, put on our PPE after scrubbing and begin our compounding for the day of chemotherapy, antibiotics, pain managements, and specialty drugs for our patients…”

Related: Pharmacist, Technician Safety and Mental Health Amid COVID-19

The first-hand accounts show pharmacy techs’ “heroic diligence, care, and hope as they manage unprecedented demands,” said PTCB Executive Director and CEO William Schimmel. ”In normal times, pharmacies already value CPhTs for their dedication and expertise across practice areas. In the midst of COVID-19, it’s even more clear how critical CPhTs are to the delivery of patient care.”

Plus, as pharmacy teams become more involved in the next phases of increased testing for COVID-19, techs are going to be called on to do even more,” said Ryan Burke, PharmD, director of professional affairs at PTCB.

Techs are multitasking more during the crisis to support dispensing, immunizations, compounding, and a plethora of services offered by the pharmacy, said Thomas Sherrer, PharmD, co-owner of Poole's, an independent family-owned pharmacy in Marietta, Georgia.

“Our model has always been that technicians learn everything, with a focus on certain areas, but now our work volume has increased so much they can’t be focused on 1 task,” he said. “Our technicians are able and willing to do whatever is called for and handle any aspect of the workflow. Some drop off deliveries on their way home. Others are visiting a long-term care facility to help organize and facilitate immunizations of residents who are due for flu or other vaccines.”

In response to COVID-19, PTCB introduced online proctored exam delivery to expand access to test taking for credential candidates “at a time when many in-person test centers have been closed or are limited in capacity due to the pandemic,” PTCB said.

To support the more than 288,000 PTCB CPhTs required to recertify every 2 years, PTCB extended deadlines for recertification and launched a new directory of free continuing education (CE) courses.