Reviewer: Miriam A Mobley Smith, Pharm.D. (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy)
Description: This is a basic, uncomplicated workbook that contains a review of the most common mathematical concepts and skills that pharmacy technicians need in order to successfully perform their duties and responsibilities. The concepts presented also correlate well with the instructional competencies, specifically addressing math skills, as outlined in the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Model Curriculum for Pharmacy Technician Training.
Purpose: The purpose of this self-instructional book is to provide the pharmacy technician with a simple, interesting and complete workbook to improve overall math skills, not just those relating to pharmacy practice. A thorough grasp of math concepts is critical because of the importance of accuracy in pharmaceutical calculations. The potentially devastating result of even an "almost-correct" answer when preparing pharmaceuticals for patient administration underscores the need for a thorough grasp of the math concepts presented in the workbook. This book meets the author's objectives by providing an uncomplicated, complete, and somewhat entertaining book.
Audience: This book is written for individuals who are currently working as pharmacy technicians in order to solidify essential math concepts. It can also be used by those aspiring to this career by providing an educational tool that covers math concepts commonly used in pharmacy practice. Additionally, pharmacy technicians may use this book to review for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE). The author, a clinical pharmacy consultant, describes how he has used his knowledge of pharmacy practice over the years to develop this self-instructional book to serve as a reference throughout a pharmacy technician's career.
Features: The educational objectives, practice exercises and assessment instruments include all of the math concepts and skills addressed in the ASHP Model Curriculum for Pharmacy Technician Training. Each chapter uses everyday examples first, then incorporates pharmaceutical terms and concepts to make the problems relevant to pharmacy practice. The author prompts readers throughout to complete the previous chapters prior to proceeding to the next and to avoid skipping around. Each chapter includes problem-solving exercises that help to reinforce previously learned concepts. A brief statement at the beginning of each topic reviews the importance of the concept presented. One shortcoming is that some of the examples used in the intravenous flow rates chapter need to be updated to reflect actual current practice. Of special note, the sections reviewing the concepts of milliequivalents and alligation calculation procedures, which are usually difficult concepts to understand, are presented in easy-to-understand yet complete discussions. The book needs to make better use of visual separations between major concepts presented within each chapter. The multiplicity of fonts, font sizes, and bolding on a single page used to differentiate specific points prove to be inconsistently applied and potentially confusing. The use of color highlights to break up the monotony of black-and-white used throughout the book would help. Lastly, when solving a ratio and proportion problem, the use of a "?" instead of an "X" in an equation to symbolize the unknown value may prove confusing to the more traditional student.
Assessment: This book is of relatively high quality, with the exceptions I've noted. The material emphasizes the theme that the math concepts used in a pharmacy practice setting are quite similar to the everyday use of math; the process itself doesn't change, just the context and applicable importance. This book compares favorably in content to other similar self-instructional workbooks available (e.g., Powers and Wakelin, Pharmacy Calculations ( Morton Publishing, 2001) and Ballington and Laughlin Pharmacy Math for Technicians ( ECM Paradigh, 1999). The author of this book, however, has incorporated more everyday, practical examples that help to enhance the reader's understanding. The other texts are formatted to be potentially used in conjunction with a formalized pharmacy technician math course. The lack of this feature may make this book less practical for a pharmacy technician educator. Each of the books contains practice problems and assessment reviews at the end of each chapter, but the author of this book also includes a comprehensive assessment, incorporating all of the concepts presented, at the conclusion of this workbook. This gives the reader additional skill-building practice.