PTCB Honors Diane Halvorson, PTCB CPhT of the Year, at Special Event

Pharmacy Community Applauds Her Contributions to Advocacy and Patient Safety

April 25, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) honored PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) of the Year Diane Halvorson, RPhTech, CPhT, of Fargo, ND, at a special luncheon event on March 26. Ms. Halvorson was presented with a trophy and honorarium by PTCB Director of Strategic Alliances Miriam A. Mobley Smith, PharmD, FASHP. The ceremony took place during the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco.

Ms. Halvorson is a 6-year Member of the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy, and served as Board President for two terms. She is former President of and current state board liaison to the Northland Association of Pharmacy Technicians, and was instrumental in achieving required technician registration, accredited education, and PTCB Certification in North Dakota. “Ms. Halvorson puts her whole heart and soul into advancing, promoting, and leading pharmacy technicians. She is a model advocate for patient safety,” said Dr.Mobley Smith.

Ms. Halvorson told the audience, “As pharmacists are increasingly providing direct patient care, CPhTs must do even more of the important technical work in the pharmacy. Pharmacists need to know their technicians can step up to expanded roles. I am an advocate for standardized, consistent requirements across all 50 states that show all CPhTs have the baseline knowledge they need to perform effectively and safely.”

Ms. Halvorson described a rule recently adopted in North Dakota that permits technicians to identify patients who need counseling from a pharmacist. “In North Dakota, we now allow technicians to determine when a patient obtaining a refill needs counseling. This advances patient safety because patients often are unprepared for side effects from medications and they may not adhere to treatments if they aren’t counseled in advance. This is just one of the ways technician roles can expand to advance patient care.”

In her remarks, Ms. Halvorson encouraged the technicians in the audience to become leaders in advocacy. “Technicians need to have a voice, and we must use it to advance uniform technician standards to keep patients safe. Pharmacists need to know they can trust technicians in elevated roles, and that we are good at them. Medication errors can be fatal and they change lives. Our patients deserve to be safe.

Guest speaker APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Tom Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), told the audience, "Pharmacists cannot do their jobs without qualified and committed pharmacy technicians. I admire Ms. Halvorson for her commitment to standards for technicians. As pharmacists’ roles expand in direct care, we must be confident in technicians' knowledge and skills."
Special guest Mark Hardy, PharmD, Executive Director of the North Dakota State Board of Pharmacy, participated in the presentation. “Ms. Halvorson is truly deserving of this recognition. She is an outstanding leader in advancing public safety in North Dakota, where her dedication inspires both technicians and pharmacists,” he said.

Ms. Halvorson was named 2016 PTCB CPhT of the Year in October. She is the Lead Pharmacy Technician at Vibra Hospital in Fargo, a 31-bed, long-term acute care facility that serves patients coming from intensive care. Its pharmacy administers more than 18,000 medication doses per month.

Each year, PTCB recognizes a PTCB CPhT of the Year who has demonstrated excellence, innovation, and a commitment to advancing patient safety. PTCB will accept nominations for the 2017 PTCB CPhT of the Year this summer.