ASHP’s Surveys Shed Light on Pharmacy Technician Shortage; New Technician Training Program Launching Soon
Pharmacy technicians play a critical role in our pharmacy workforce, yet we face a growing shortage of pharmacy technicians in hospitals and health systems. These important members of the healthcare team are essential to achieving optimal medication outcomes and patient care.
To better understand how ASHP can promote technician development through the advancement of patient care roles and increased responsibilities, and address recruitment and retention issues within the technician workforce, we recently conducted two surveys. One survey was sent to nearly 2,000 hospital and health-system pharmacy administrators. More than 5,000 pharmacy technicians completed the second survey. Highlights from the results of the surveys include:
- The majority of pharmacy administrators reported turnover rates of at least 21% in 2021, and nearly 1 in 10 noted they had lost 41% or more of their technicians.
- Nearly all pharmacy administrators reported that they had increased the use of overtime to address the shortage.
- Nearly 9 out of 10 pharmacy administrators said they asked pharmacists to perform responsibilities usually performed by pharmacy technicians.
- Pharmacy technicians generally reported strong job satisfaction, with 54% citing their desire to help patients as a motivation to stay.
- Even with strong job satisfaction, pharmacy technicians are often frustrated with heavy workloads, inadequate staffing, and inadequate compensation.
- Three-quarters of technicians said higher pay would help retain technicians.
- Nearly a third of technicians would like to see employers offer retention bonuses.
- Twenty-five percent of technicians desire a career ladder with clear pathways to promotion.
For more information about the surveys, I invite you to read the executive summary.
ASHP has a longstanding history of providing a membership home to the various pharmacy practice areas within ASHP—including technicians. Pharmacy technician membership in ASHP has grown by an impressive 700% since launching the ASHP Pharmacy Technician Forum in April 2018.
Hospitals and health systems are in need of strategies, tools, and resources to assist in the recruitment and retention of pharmacy technicians. The results of the two surveys helped shed light on solutions and services ASHP can offer to this current workforce challenge. Through additional roundtable discussions, feedback mechanisms, and high-level engagement of the Pharmacy Technician Forum Executive Committee and the Section of Pharmacy Practice Leaders, ASHP has identified products, tools, and resources to demonstrate that we can support our members in meaningful ways so that organizations can recruit, retain, and advance their technician workforce.
According to the technician survey, 38% of health systems are implementing internal technician training programs to support technician professional development and training. As the most trusted source for pharmacy and medication safety-related information, ASHP will soon be launching PharmTech Ready, a solutions-based approach to pharmacy technician training. PharmTech Ready is an off-the-shelf solution for the didactic component of a technician training program that is aligned with the ASHP-ACPE accreditation standards. It is applicable to a variety of healthcare settings and methods of delivery for technician training programs, including large health systems, individual hospitals, and colleges of pharmacy. The product will officially launch in the first week of May. Individuals interested in learning more can reach out to Kathleen Pawlicki, ASHP’s vice president of business development and strategy.
ASHP is pleased to offer a wealth of resources to pharmacy technicians that are included free with ASHP membership. This includes PharmacyTechCE, a CE service designed specifically for pharmacy technician learning and education. The Connect Community for Pharmacy Technicians connects our technician members so they can discuss professional issues such as advanced technician practice roles, improvements in workflow or operations, and new and evolving roles for pharmacy technicians. ASHP created the Resume/CV Review Program to assist pharmacy technicians and pharmacy technician students in developing an effective resume or CV. I encourage you to listen to the Technician Tuesday podcast series, which focuses on professional development, clinical and innovative practices, and other topics important to pharmacy technicians. Last week, we also published Strategies for Technician Retention and Recognition, which is the second in a series of new podcasts from ASHP’s Section of Pharmacy Practice Leaders focused on pharmacy technicians. We also have a special collection of AJHP articles that describe pharmacy technicians’ contributions to pharmacy practice and patient care, as well as a series of pharmacy technician profiles on ASHP InterSections. These are among a myriad of services created to support and advance the member needs of pharmacy technicians.
Our focus and action around the needs of the pharmacy technician workforce supports ASHP’s strategic plan for the profession. ASHP has a robust history of facilitating the preparation of the pharmacy workforce and advancing the creation of a well-defined professional career path for pharmacy technicians. It is a priority for ASHP to lead the profession in these efforts.Thank you for being a member of ASHP and for all you do for your patients and our profession.
Posted on April 19, 2022