Pharmacy Technician Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Our work is driven by our mission and vision. We help people become pharmacy technicians, and we strive to ensure anyone can do so without financial constraint. Recently, a student reached out to us highlighting a difficulty in learning from our lectures due to difficulty hearing. We realized we were not living our mission and vision if we didn’t correct this issue quickly.
Hearing Accessibility of the Pharmacy Profession
Careers in healthcare can be attractive options for individuals with hearing loss. This is becoming increasingly evident as technology advances healthcare into the digital age. This is particularly true in pharmacy. Even 10 years ago, phone and verbal orders were common methods of communicating prescription and medication orders. Even with the availability of TTY systems, the often urgent nature of communications made it difficult for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to work in some pharmacy environments. Trends have pushed the majority of prescription and medication orders into electronic form, reducing the need for phone and verbal communication. While verbal communication is still necessary, its decreased importance has made it easier for hard of hearing people to work in most pharmacy environments.
Additionally, there are many specialized pharmacy technician roles that are well suited to deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Sterile compounding, informatics, nuclear pharmacy, and inventory management are just a few examples of pharmacy technician specialties that may be a good fit. As organizations become more aware of the need to improve accessibility considerations for employees, many other roles that require significant verbal communication may be feasible as well.
Online Pharmacy Technician Education and Hearing Difficulty
Online, self-study based learning programs are inherently accessible for those with hearing difficulties. However, as we learned based on our student feedback we were missing a critical piece of the puzzle. Our references, study guides, flashcards, and exams all facilitate learning without audio. Video lectures are a key part of our learning program, however, and without the ability to hear the audio cleanly our students could not take advantage of the expert knowledge provided.
Closed captions are required for TV broadcasting. Standards are provided by the Federal Communications Commission. We decided that we needed to provide captions and do it correctly. This was no small task given that we had over 30 lectures in the program with complicated medication names and medical terminology. However, we are grateful for the experience of learning about closed captions to ensure that we can fulfill our mission and vision.
We are proud to announce that as of October 1st, all Pharmacy Tech Scholar lectures include closed captions that adhere to the FCC standards. We are also grateful to have students that hold us accountable to our company values, and look forward to finding other ways to advance us closer to achieving our vision.