Professional practice

In the first of a new series of articles, APTUK president Tess Fenn explains how the association gives pharmacy technicians the opportunity to network, keep abreast of changes and further their career

If you are a pharmacy technician, I am sure you are aware of all the changes that are happening within healthcare, regulation and pharmacy at the moment; changes that will affect you. I am delighted to be  writing articles from the Association of Pharmacy Technicians United Kingdom (APTUK) to help guide you through these challenges. For this first article however, let me introduce myself and tell you about APTUK.

So hello, I’m Tess Fenn, president of APTUK. I’m a pharmacy technician and have been since my first job as a student pharmacy technician in 1970. I have worked in many different pharmacy sectors: community, hospital, primary care trusts (that were) and in colleges that run pharmacy technician training courses. As my career progressed, I started to specialise in pharmacy education. I became an NVQ assessor and both an internal and external quality assurer, which I still do for City and Guilds. When I moved to a full-time pharmacy education post in 2000, I became a qualified teacher and taught pharmacy to pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians. I was also the manager responsible for the development of all pharmacy technicians and support staff in a large London teaching hospital.

I find helping others to progress extremely rewarding and my passion is the development of the pharmacy technician profession. This is one of the reasons why I became involved with APTUK. Being part of APTUK has helped my personal development and professional career, bringing me into contact with so many stimulating and inspiring people.

Looking ahead

As pharmacy services evolve to carry out the Government’s vision of integrated care set out in the Five Year Forward View and the Community Pharmacy Five Year Forward View, APTUK and I believe that pharmacy technicians will be crucial. They will be key in supporting the demand for pharmacy to serve the healthcare needs of an increasing population, especially an elderly population who have a prevalence of long-term conditions.

As new services and existing services increase, APTUK is at the table, speaking for and representing pharmacy technicians. We work with the General Pharmaceutical Council, the Department of Health, the education providers from the devolved UK countries and many more, making sure pharmacy technicians continue to be valued for our role in delivering high quality, person-centred care. So, what else does APTUK do? Our vision involves leading pharmacy technicians to deliver excellence for patient-centred care and our aims, too numerous to list here, focus on pharmacy technician education, raising professional standards and working with the many pharmacy organisations to support innovation and help deliver a safe and effective pharmacy service. Our focus is always on the patient and their medicines and, importantly, how we can help you in your role.

To help us help you, we need you and other pharmacy technicians to join us and be members. Communication and networking are important to all healthcare professionals as they allow the free flow of information, ideas and sharing of best practice. And keeping abreast of changes in practice and self-development will mark you out as a committed healthcare professional – did you know that APTUK members can put the letters MAPharmT after their name?

Whether you are interested in strengthening your network, furthering your career or maybe just in need of a few more friends, APTUK is a great option for you. As well as the national network, APTUK runs a series of local branches across the country where members can network and learn. If you would like to find out more, please contact us – all of our details can be found on our website.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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