Last year, 75 pharmacists became the first members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Faculty. Claire Anderson, professor of social pharmacy at Nottingham University School of Pharmacy and a member of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, was in this first wave of Faculty members and was designated a fellow of the Faculty. Here, she describes her experience of the assessment process and her plans for the future.
What preparation did you do before submitting your portfolio for assessment?
I updated my curriculum vitae and considered what my major entries would be. This included peer-reviewed papers, research, work I had done for the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and my position on the RPS English Pharmacy Board. I also got a copy of my job description.
I then mapped my entries against the advanced level framework competencies using the web-based forms. I also asked a number of people to provide peer-reviews; these included my head of school, an FIP leader and some past and present PhD students.
How did you find the support that was provided during your Faculty assessment?
I received fantastic support from the RPS faculty team. They were prompt and helpful in responding to any queries I had. Also, the support available on the Faculty website and handbooks was invaluable.
Did you receive any support from your peers?
I had a chat with another academic who was also going through the process, but I would not say it was peer-support exactly. The hardest part of the process was actually sitting down to do it. I felt daunted to begin with but once I started it was quite enjoyable.
How did you feel about being in the first wave of assessments?
Very proud and I hope I can be a role model for other pharmacists. I felt this was a very important thing for me to do, as an EPB and [RPS] Assembly member, so that I can be a leader for others to follow.
How will this recognition impact on you?
I think, as Catherine Duggan [RPS director of professional development and support] says, it is about being the best that you can be. I am very proud of my Faculty fellowship and of my profession — it provides a means of demonstrating to my employer, to other pharmacists and to other healthcare professional colleagues what I have achieved.
What are your next steps for professional growth?
The professional development plan I received from the Faculty confirmed that the direction I am taking my career in is right.
In an academic role like mine there are always new challenges and I am always learning new things. For example, I am just embarking on some new work developing health information apps that are designed to be prescribed alongside medicines and that may also be used for pharmacovigilance (eg, adverse drug reaction reporting). This will involve a lot of new learning. Additionally, through my roles on the EPB and Assembly I am constantly learning a lot about health policy.
What advice would you give people at the beginning of the submission and assessment process?
Set aside some time to build your portfolio; once you get started you will become more excited about it as it begins to come together. It certainly surprised me to see my completed portfolio.
Also, do not be afraid to ask for peer-reviews — I found it to be a great experience.
The current round of Royal Pharmaceutical Society Faculty assessments is open to RPS members who are eligible to apply through the recognition of prior experience route (ie, those who have been practising for 10 years or more). This round of applications closes on 14 February 2014.
For further information and resources to help you start and build your portfolio — such as the online “portfolio building support” network, which is available to members who have started their Faculty journey — visit the RPS website at www.rpharms.com