President, North Dakota State Board of Pharmacy; Pharmacy Technician, Vibra Hospital Pharmacy, Fargo, ND
Diane Halvorson, CPhT, is in her second term as President of the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy, a position she has held since she was unanimously elected in May 2013 by fellow Board members. The North Dakota Board is one of six state boards that includes a pharmacy technician member seat. As the first technician member, Diane was appointed to the Board with full voting privileges in January 2011 by North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple.
“It’s rewarding to lead the Board and realize the impact of the pharmacy technician voice in our state,” says Diane. “On a national scale, I want to help advance the cause for standardized certification requirements. In North Dakota, standardization has improved patient care and safety, and demonstrates the value of consistent requirements. As pharmacists are taking the lead in defining their clinical patient care roles, pharmacy technicians must be leaders in supporting standardized technician qualifications to ensure our nation’s pharmacies are safe, efficient, and productive environments.”
“The North Dakota CPhT community is a good role model for what pharmacy technicians can do across the nation. Every state should be advocating the value of having a technician on their state board.” The effort to procure a board seat in North Dakota took years of work by passionate technician volunteers, says Diane. “We technicians stepped up to the plate in North Dakota. We realized we could let others decide our path, or we could determine it for ourselves.”
Serving as a leader is not new to Diane. Early in her pharmacy career about 25 years ago, she became actively involved in a group of technicians who were confident about their essential roles in the pharmacy. With direction and encouragement from pharmacists, the trailblazing technicians collaborated to establish the Northland Association of Pharmacy Technicians (NAPT)*. Diane serves on the NAPT Executive Board today and previously held every board position, including president and vice president. NAPT’s mission is to provide interaction among healthcare providers and promote pharmacy technicians as an integral part of the care team.
The State Board worked closely with NAPT years back to finalize and adopt the 1995 standard requiring pharmacy technicians to be registered and complete continuing education. With continued input from NAPT, the Board later approved the current standard requiring pharmacy technicians to complete an ASHP-accredited pharmacy technician education program and be PTCB certified in order to register and be eligible to work. Today, the North Dakota Board is looking closely at expanding technician roles. “We have raised the bar for North Dakota technicians, and we want to be sure we are using them to the fullest,” says Diane.
Diane is employed as a pharmacy technician at Vibra Hospital of Fargo, a 31-bed, long-term acute care facility that serves patients coming from intensive care. The facility specializes in mechanical ventilation weaning and transition to rehabilitation. Diane’s many responsibilities include ordering, cart fills, inventory, dispensing, and filling IV mixtures. Diane became PTCB certified four years ago.
“In the near future, I would like to see more CPhTs across the nation get involved in raising awareness of the essential role of CPhTs on the pharmacy team and the value of standardization,” Diane says. She is a past recipient of the NAPT Pharmacy Technician of the Year award and the NAPT Diamond Award. She coordinated NAPT’s annual fall conferences, the American Association of Pharmacy Technicians’ (AAPT) regional meetings, and co-chaired an AAPT convention.
Read about other outstanding CPhTs featured in Spotlight.
*All registered pharmacy technicians in North Dakota are members of NAPT. Membership is also open to technicians in Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana.