Advancing the profession

As APTUK sets out their strategy for the next three years, Tess Fenn talks leadership, professionalism and future developments

Autumn and the new academic and parliamentary years are back in full swing, and at APTUK our leadership activities are gaining even more pace. As such, we are delighted that at the Pharmacy Show on 8 October, we published our strategic vision for the next three years – July 2018 to April 2021. The strategy sets out what we plan to do for our members and how we are – and will continue to be – advocates for pharmacy technicians, our profession and pharmacy. 

I have often mentioned in my columns how healthcare and healthcare policy is changing at a tremendous pace and how we as pharmacy professionals need to adjust to this. Our APTUK strategy recognises this and sets out our leadership goals ‘LEAP’ (Leading, Expanding, Advocating, Progressing), to take us forwards. It also tells our profession what we do and what our membership benefits are.

Professional commitment

We are often asked ‘why should I join a professional leadership body and what does it do for me?’ APTUK would contend that it supports you as a professional and aids your professionalism. There are some critics of pharmacy technicians who argue that we are not a profession and therefore not professional. I strongly reject this.

While there are varying definitions of a profession, they all state that a profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to professional and ethical standards; it attains a predetermined set of knowledge, education, training and skills; and it maintains knowledge and skills through continuing professional development and applies these in the interest of others. 

Pharmacy technicians are regulated and we therefore have to achieve a predetermined education standard to become registered and adhere to a professional set of standards. However, reflecting on this, how can the highly-valued trait of professionalism be demonstrated? What are the attributes of ‘professionalism’? The general consensus is that the attributes include demonstrating competence, having specialised knowledge, acting with honesty and integrity, being able to self-regulate yourself and be accountable for your own actions. 

Being trustworthy and acting with integrity means keeping to your word; not compromising on your values and doing the right thing even if this proves difficult and challenging. A vital aspect linked with this is holding yourself to account through your thoughts, actions and words particularly if and when a mistake is made. This also means keeping true even when under pressure and showing respect for others, no matter what the situation. This enables us to demonstrate a high degree of emotional intelligence, which involves understanding and considering the emotions and needs of others before our own. 

Although these attributes are personal and are individually displayed, it doesn’t mean that you are on your own. This is where your professional leadership body can help you. 

Leading the way

As part of honouring our LEAP goals, APTUK can help support your personal commitment to developing and improving your knowledge and skills, keeping up to date with all new aspects of pharmacy practice and widening your horizons. As a member of APTUK, you can add a post-nominal to your name, MAPharmT, which is a way of showing that you are a member of your leadership body and your professional commitment to your development and your profession. 

In order to reach as many pharmacy technicians as possible, we have challenged our members to the ‘Plus One #APTUK18 Membership Challenge’. This asks all existing members to publicise and recruit one new member during 2018/19 in order to increase the number of pharmacy technician members. That way, we can help support more pharmacy technicians with their continuing professional development and career progression and advance our pharmacy technician profession. 

There are some critics of pharmacy technicians who argue that we are not a profession and therefore not professional. I strongly reject this

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