RPS pharmacy board elections 2021: how should pharmacists’ training and development be supported at all career stages?

In their responses to the second of two questions, candidates for the RPS national pharmacy board elections explain what they would to support training and development for pharmacists at any career stage.
RPS pharmacy board elections 2021: how will you work to increase membership of the RPS?

Voting in the 2021 RPS national pharmacy board elections opens on 29 April 2021 and closes on 13 May 2021. Result are due on or around 14 May 2021.
Here, to get to know this year’s candidates and find out more about what they stand for, The Pharmaceutical Journal asked for their views on how to maximise the Society’s membership*.

*Of the 44 candidates standing for election, 39 provided responses.

England


Adebayo (BeeFive) Adegbite, community pharmacist

My election pledge included my commitment to improving RPS support to pharmacists’ training and development. [For example,] an online educational platform, such as Canvas, with an app that can be downloaded and access provided to RPS members only, as well as appropriate content for RPS pharmacy student, preregistration pharmacist and pharmacist members uploaded regularly.

I have mentioned RPS holding monthly hour-long ‘update’ sessions, with topics relevant to practising pharmacists. The Early Careers RPS Group will also be encouraged to get involved in developing sessions relevant to pharmacists in their first five years of practice. The RPS would also provide support to RPS preregistration student [members], in line with the new General Pharmaceutical Council foundation training year starting in 2021–2022, with regular webinars and face-to-face events when allowed.

I will encourage the RPS to expand its current mentoring scheme to enable members who wish to become an independent prescriber to match with a designated prescribing practitioner.


Shahzad Ahmad, community pharmacist

In recent years, the RPS has made some meaningful steps in further support for training and development, but there is more to be done.

In my own professional career, I have worked with the GPhC’s Accreditation and Recognition Board, and as a consultant with several training companies. A shrewd understanding of the healthcare landscape and the direction of travel is a prerequisite to provide the right support. This approach should be both proactive and reactive — the challenges that provisionally registered pharmacists face would not have been foreseen, but definitely required a focus in the last couple of years.

When speaking with recently registered pharmacists, they generally have a positive view about the preregistration support provided by the RPS. Having structured training pathways, building on mentoring services and increasing networking within special interest groups would help to retain and attract membership.


Claire Anderson, academic

  • More experiential learning is required in the MPharm, we need to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure adequate resourcing;
  • Important role in leading the development of foundation curriculum and assessments as well as support for learners and their educational supervisors;
  • Develop a pathway for the legacy workforce who wish to become independent prescribers;
  • Provide access to clinical supervision, peer networks and educational support for all prescribers beyond their initial annotation on the register;
  • Like medical royal colleges, my ambition is for the RPS to acts as a single output curricular and assessment body at key critical postgraduate progression points;
  • Build on success of the mentoring programme by encouraging even more people to take part in it;
  • Provide webinars, career support, access to timely information, CPD support and link PJ to education offerings at all levels: foundation, advanced and consultant level;
  • Develop more joint training, like the successful Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (Royal College of General Practitioners) and critical care course (UK Clinical Pharmacy Association).

Jay Badenhorst, community pharmacist

As the RPS, we must have clarity in our offering for pharmacists’ training and development needs throughout their career. Collaborative working relationships need to be forged with organisations that can fulfil this function, with the RPS providing intra-member support through mentoring and coaching services.

A constructive relationship is needed with the GPhC to help shape training and education standards, and create a development plan for early years. This may highlight different opportunities existing in different sectors, such as industry and pharmaceutical chemistry.

It is critical to develop and support clinical training and development for community, primary and secondary healthcare settings that evolves as patients’ needs and the NHS change over time.

Personally, and as Stonewall alumni, I would forge a close working relationship to help create pathways for further training on equity, diversity and inclusion, and leadership development through their Authentic Leadership programme.


Nabila Chaudhri, health technology and primary care pharmacist

We should take a more innovative approach to training and development. At the moment, training and development is incredibly fragmented. As a pharmacist or technician, I should be able to access all my training records in one place. This should also be a platform where I can reach out to colleagues for support, network or find a mentor.

My portfolio should be digitalised and standardised, so I can take my training record to a new role or job. I should be able to document examples showing how this has helped me in practice. Training records should have the facility to be peer reviewed. As a profession, at the moment, the mandatory evidence of keeping up to date are CPD records. I think we need a much more thorough development record to show the breadth and depth of the skills and knowledge we use on a daily basis.


Howard Duff, primary care and community pharmacist

Our training and development must be supported in the same way as other professions providing NHS services. There must be a roadmap that describes progress from undergraduate placements through to mastery in practice. It must be agreed by all parties that have a skin in our game. The regulator would need to reflect the stages and describe the scope of practice, register annotations and risk assessments. Health Education England would direct and fund this in harmony with the RPS Faculty and other professions. The NHS in each country would need to ensure that the training delivers what it needs for patients. Universities will need to ensure that they equip students with the right skills. Contractual NHS Employers and community pharmacy bodies will need to match the roles with the healthcare needs of the population. The RPS is the only body that can bring all this together and make it happen.


Ciara Marie Duffy, hospital and industry pharmacist

Later in 2021, new standards for initial education and training of pharmacists will be implemented. This will affect preregistration and qualified pharmacists as the workforce must accommodate additional placements, significantly impacting resource. I would use the English Pharmacy Board’s influence to ensure protected time is mandated when signing up as a foundation provider as this is critical to ensure pharmacists have time to prepare and deliver training to maximise the trainee experience. I would also encourage a broad range of work-based placements, ensuring the full range of roles in pharmacy are covered.

All pharmacists should have a set number of optional study days for postgraduate or wellbeing training, to use for personal development or community service. This will ensure pharmacists do not have to use annual leave for courses, feel supported in the workplace, and harness a culture of continual learning and wellbeing. I would lobby for associated funding to facilitate this.


Min Na Eii, hospital pharmacist          

There are already plentiful training resources available for pharmacy professionals at all career stages wishing to develop themselves in their own fields. What I feel is currently lacking is resources for those, especially in managerial roles, on mentoring and coaching. Most managers have the abilities and skills to help organisations and businesses meet its operational objectives, but are not sitting down with individuals one-on-one, identifying areas that might be holding them back from achieving their career goals. Something as simple as granting pharmacists leave for course days or setting protected time for studying makes a difference to pharmacists reaching their full potential.

RPS has a mentoring platform particularly useful for lone working individuals wishing to have their current career portfolios evaluated and be guided to set realistic goals. All pharmacists are deserving of leaders who are invested in their wellbeing and supportive of their development, professionally as well as personally.


Mary Evans, hospital pharmacist

Pharmacists at all stages of their career should have an active training needs appraisal and personal development plan.

At the early stages of their career, pharmacists require active support from a senior pharmacist in assessing their training needs and developing a personal development plan. Pharmacists should ideally use professional development frameworks such as the RPS Foundation Framework, Advanced Framework or Consultant Framework to self-assess their practice and identify their development needs and pathway.

Foundation pharmacists require robust clinical supervision and development support from a Senior Pharmacist with formal training in providing Clinical Supervision. Clinical Supervision from an appropriately highly skilled healthcare practitioner is also important for post foundation pharmacists working towards Advanced or Consultant Level practice., but at this stage Clinical Supervision may be provided by pharmacists or other healthcare professionals as appropriate.

Pharmacists should have access to both mentorship and coaching as required to support them achieve their goals.


Thorrun Govind, community pharmacist

There needs to be support for pharmacists to upskill, which will include support to become independent prescribers. Early careers pharmacists need supporting as they become more experienced. There needs to be awareness that pharmacists in different sectors have different training and support needs. There needs to be more support for access to further education and the RPS must continue to enhance its educational offering. As we progress further towards the end of the pandemic, there needs to be training to enable pharmacists to support patients with post-pandemic living. There should also be better support to move between sectors as we increasingly see portfolio pharmacists.


Brendon Jiang, primary care pharmacist

Training and development needs change throughout the journey from undergraduate to foundation and early career, advanced practice and consultant level. The RPS already sets the standards for different levels of practice through our frameworks, and is involved in credentialing consultant pharmacists and posts. More work is needed to formalise the career pathway across all sectors and deliver even more targeted training and development modules. RPS already delivers training alone and in collaboration with a wide range of willing partners, such as CPPE, PCPA, UKCPA, GHP, UKBPA, Pharmacist Support, NICE, HEE and RCGP. I’d like to see more growth in this area and, in particular, targeting any unmet need. To do this, RPS seeks guidance from the national boards and our expanded expert advisory groups in preregistration, early and advanced career, community, primary care, hospital, industry, digital, science and research. Members can feedback directly or apply to join these groups.


Alisdair Jones, general practice pharmacist

The changes to preregistration training and the undergraduate degree are going to necessitate a rapid uplift in the support on offer to all pharmacists.

Within the next five years, newly qualified pharmacists will likely be prescribers. They will need support to develop in these roles, but we also need to ensure other pharmacists do not feel left behind. There needs to be more opportunities and funding available for any pharmacist to become a prescriber, should they wish, as well as firm lobbying to develop community practice in particular to utilise these skills.

The advanced clinical practice framework is also going to become more important and the RPS should be involved in credentialing pharmacists who wish to work at this level, as well those wishing to work as consultant pharmacists. This credentialing needs to be backed up by employer recognition in all sectors.


Michael Maguire, local professional network chair with a background in community pharmacy

I would aim to develop, through the RPS, a recognised, established framework of support for continuous training and development — in such a way that it inspires young adults to become the next generation of pharmacists, confident that they can reach their potential with a career in pharmacy.

Training and development should be measured in terms of value, impact and the ability to apply to real-life practice. The RPS has a role in delivering training, but also to catalyse and coordinate training provided by others, to ensure optimal outcomes.

The RPS must maximise its leadership role, enabling all training to be relevant and appropriate, and proactively leading and stimulating innovation; for example, the RPS Early Careers Pharmacist Advisory Group, and establishing mentoring support, regional academies and frameworks of support, so that all pharmacists, in all sectors, at all stages of their career, can access training and development relevant to their needs.


Sherifat Muhammad Kamal, locum in community, hospital, GP practice and primary care networks

Pharmacists’ training and careers can be supported at all stages by creating an avenue where pharmacists can seek help and obtain support needed for career progression; for example, academics needs to learn more about academic writing, hospital pharmacists need to have more support clinically, a pharmacist with a passion to be an independent prescriber needs help to find a designated medical practitioner and so on. The knowledge of each specialty is very important.

Autonomy should be valued, but we should also encourage networking and value input from others from different sectors. We should also provide learning opportunities and pathways to career advancements in different sectors, including collaboration with specialists in various fields.

Additionally, the creation of a coaching and mentoring platform, acknowledging good works, recognising efforts, giving of awards; all of this will motivate members to feel valued and thus enhance differential stages of career development.


Ojali Negedu, Primary Care Network, integrated urgent care and academic pharmacist

The RPS can support training and development for all pharmacists at all career stages by advocating for equity of study leave, irrespective of the sector. This will create opportunities for professional development, career satisfaction and workforce retention. In addition to this, I believe collaboration with NHS leadership academies, local training hubs and unions will also be vital in curating and providing tailored material and support. This should be made available free of charge to both RPS and non-RPS members at all career stages.

I also believe that training and development plans should form part of our revalidation submissions each year. A review of the development plan should be undertaken with a manager, and agreed and signed off as part of our revalidation submissions. This hold employers accountable for working collaboratively with their workforce in prioritising and supporting development opportunities.


Erutase Oputu, hospital pharmacist

With the profound changes in the healthcare landscape, pharmacy initial training and advanced practice, support needs to encompass the different needs required for patient-facing and non-patient-facing roles. We should  lobby employers to provide dedicated time for training, as well as mechanisms for funding. Accessibility in a variety of training materials is key.  The shift towards independent prescribing as standard needs to recognise and give opportunities for those who are not independent prescribers (IPs) to obtain this. There should be support for current IPs to train to become designated prescribing practitioners in order to support the increase in IPs coming through. Collaboration with specialist clinical organisations to deliver bespoke or combined training is important, especially as community pharmacy becomes recognised as ‘the GP in our high street’.  Development of networking forums is also important, as is furthering mentoring and coaching access from across the multidisciplinary team.


Reece Samani, digital pharmacy

All pharmacists possess entrepreneurial spirit — community pharmacy owners and employees who look to improve their offering; academics searching for novel solutions; digital pharmacy innovators; all locums are business owners; the list goes on.

But too little is done to foster entrepreneurship.

Owning pharmacy businesses can feel lonely, so support — such as mentoring programmes or networking events — could be organised by the RPS for those leading their own companies.

For locums and community pharmacists, the RPS can push for more courses, funded or part-funded by the government, in independent prescribing or other skills that would benefit us, our patients and the UK healthcare ecosystem.

Efforts should also be made to connect pharmacists with opportunities that are springing up as part of the digital health revolution. Again, this is something on which the RPS can lead.

I believe these three things would help pharmacists of all ages and boost our profession.


Sarah Sawieres, specialist pharmacist, liver intensive care and private patients

After preregistration, pharmacy training and development is not formally structured across all sectors. It is important to appreciate the RPS’ published work for foundation, advanced and consultant level pharmacists, and use this momentum to publish further work in other areas, including work to support those returning to practice.

The RPS has provided online resources, which have enabled the completion of education and training during a pandemic. I believe this should be utilised further and continue as an additional method for learning. The mentoring programme developed by the RPS has been invaluable to many pharmacists, both as mentees and mentors, and I believe this programme should be further developed and fostered.

It is crucial that the RPS engages in development and support for pharmacists working in roles that are not always patient facing, such as aseptics, procurement and clinical informatics. I would also strive to encourage formal partnerships with specialist interest groups, when formed — together we can support pharmacists wishing to specialise.


Heelen Rashmikant Shah, community pharmacist

Training and development is an integral part of our practice. RPS have recently launched the mentor scheme which is an excellent way of supporting our recent provisional registration and preregistration trainees at the start of their careers. Independent prescribing career pathways have been an exciting prospect in our profession; support for those wanting to become prescribers is important. 

Holding regular webinar/teaching sessions on clinical topics, with expert panels consisting of teacher practitioners, other clinical leads and specialists, would engage and motivate us to learn new topics we would not have thought of. This is something I have noticed the junior doctors do in hospital settings, and something we could adopt in our profession to broaden our clinical knowledge. There is so much useful training and development support around, from Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education material to the RPS faculty programme. It is up to us to take an interest in our own development and progression. 


Nader Siabi, community, primary care and academic pharmacist     

I firmly believe that learning from peers is not just limited to academic settings. Although mentorship schemes exist, the setup of larger peer groups with practitioners at similar stages of their career would be hugely beneficial. Having successfully setup such groups on WhatsApp in order to provoke clinical debates and discuss cases, I believe it is an approach that would support pharmacists’ training.

Structured training is also vital for RPS members, where pharmacy managers have been trained to provide effective feedback and mentorship. Without these abilities, preregistration trainees and junior pharmacists may find their development stunted. Furthermore, continued development of hard and soft skills through learning events and broader NHS sector experience are important. Enforcing mandatory learning time in pharmacies would ensure that pharmacists at all stages have the opportunity to develop their skills.


Alisha Sodhi, primary care pharmacist

We urgently need speakers with incredible stories to inspire our pharmacists. The RPS should begin an empowering careers podcast, focusing on the heights to which pharmacists can climb. This is to raise awareness of what is possible, but also for the RPS to have the opportunity to support those pharmacists who wish to commit themselves to the pursuit of their aspiring career.

I am a strong advocate of mentorship, and believe the RPS should build upon its current mentorship programme to make it into one that is bespoke, with mentors vetted and individually matched to mentees based on their level of experience and achievements.

We require sector training, covering community, hospital, primary care and industry, but also for those who wish to branch into niches, such as medical writing or quality assurance roles, ranging from entry level to consultant level to appeal to as many pharmacists as possible.


Paul Summerfield, locum community pharmacist and visiting lecturer

Our passion for learning is our tool for survival. To be able to support pharmacists on their lifelong learning trajectory, I would like to see collaborative working between postgraduate education providers and the RPS, so that a range of high-quality, high-impact and university-approved courses are made available to those who want to access them through the RPS membership platform. Having a centralised system of training and development resources to choose from, endorsed by the RPS, would ensure that the pharmacist workforce is well-equipped with the training and development tools we need to ensure that we are future-proof. It would also ensure that we have the opportunity to proactively undertake training and development to become the best pharmacists we can be and the best versions of ourselves.


Zena Uppal, hospital pharmacist and Health Education England early careers training programme director

I believe mentoring is one of the most important ways in which a pharmacist’s training and development can be supported, at all career stages. In the literature, it is often cited as critical and ‘the most advanced form of development and learning.’ The RPS mentoring scheme has received a lot of positive feedback since its introduction, with one user quoted as saying: “I have personally benefitted immensely from being both a mentor and mentee and I would highly recommend this to everyone, despite their career stage.”

Ensuring education and training opportunities are available throughout a pharmacist’s career is another means of supporting their training and development. Finally, a focus on the wellbeing of pharmacists has a direct impact on a pharmacist’s training and development, and we should ensure appropriate resources are available, and signposted to individuals with respect to education and training opportunities, and wellbeing.


Shirley Walker, community pharmacist

Pharmacy undergraduates need a visible source of support, backed by the RPS, that gives them somewhere to turn to if they’re having problems during the transition to being a qualified pharmacist. Day one of their career can seem a lonely place and they need to know that someone is there for them. The new mentoring scheme has a big role to play.

We must do more to set out and support clear career pathways, both clinical and managerial, through a relaunched Faculty that follows on from foundation training. A more inclusive Fellowship status should symbolise the pinnacle of a pharmacist’s career journey.

Not everything has to be academic or clinical. For example, e-learning on handling violence, aggression or racism will benefit many on the front line. There should be a library of resources like this.

All of this should be underpinned by regular feedback from members on what they want and need.

Wales

Helen Davies, primary care pharmacist

Training and development should be inherent through all stages of a career in pharmacy. The culture of training needs to change to be an accepted part of the role. Realistically, services need to be supported to do that with in-built protected learning time. RPS can support that message, and the RPS frameworks and recognition are vital. Experiential learning to support underpinning knowledge, interprofessional education and multidisciplinary training are vital factors for success. This should start from undergraduate level to give our future workforce the skills to identify different learning needs and styles in themselves and their trainees. Mentor support is important; our members need to be reminded about this valuable RPS service.

Technology also has a huge role to play. COVID has forced remote meetings upon us, and while my quote of the year has been “You’re on mute”, I am grateful communication channels continued. RPS can keep that momentum going and embrace other technologies for training; for example, simulation.


Malik Latif, locum community pharmacist

One of the most important ways in which training and development can be supported, in particular for the newly registered pharmacist, is to advocate and promote mentoring services. One-to-one support should also be provided along with newly qualified programmes.

In order to support pharmacists at all career stages, relevant events need to be continually run. Such events maybe clinical, legal or general matters of importance, which need addressing owing to media or other coverage. Pharmacists should also be invited to share what training or knowledge they may want and such resources can be made available to them.

Cross-sector events are also of importance as they can create opportunities for pharmacists looking to develop their careers or change their sector, relevant training can then be provided to those pharmacists.


Farzana Mohammed, primary care pharmacist

With evolving roles, many pharmacists are choosing portfolio careers and are taking on more clinical roles with a need to develop their skills. Training and development can be supported by:

  • Clear development pathways for pharmacists from pre-foundation training through to advanced practice;
  • The new multi-sector model of preregistration pharmacist training, which is building a flexible workforce that can work within hospital, community and GP practice sectors;
  • Structured transition training programmes — RPS has worked with NHS 111 Wales and Health Education and Improvement Wales to establish a competency framework, and create a structured mentorship programme for 111 and GP pharmacists delivered by experienced tutors using an e-portfolio.
  • Access to courses, including independent prescribing, and protected time to participate in learning and development for community pharmacists. They need to be released to utilise their clinical skills and deliver direct patient care.

We must build on our successes and continue to train and develop the next generation of pharmacists.


Elanor Thomas, primary care pharmacist

The RPS needs to secure its status as being synonymous with education and training, and experiential learning. I believe newly qualified pharmacists should be able to expect several years of formalised training to specialise in their sector, but that should not stop there. There needs to be pathways that encourage lifelong learning. I am fortunate enough to be a tutor on the Health Education Improvement Wales pilot for pharmacists transitioning into primary care, and this is an excellent example of experiential learning rather than qualification gathering.

I believe onerous data inputting is a barrier to pharmacists engaging with current platforms, and that all RPS portfolios should be easy to complete and be able to map directly onto the General Pharmaceutical Council revalidation tool. For longer-serving, advanced or specialist pharmacists, it can seem that there are few tools available — linking with educational and training bodies from other professions, such as Red Whale, should be explored.


Cheryl Way, national pharmacy and medicines management lead

There should be engagement with policy makers so that education and training providers meet pharmacists’ development needs for the delivery of new services. Pharmacists should gain experience across sectors early in their careers to gain a greater understanding of patient pathways and to allow them to work across sectors during their careers.

Personal development plans should be required for all pharmacists, and an appreciation from employers for the need to provide both the opportunity and time to participate in training and development. Pharmacists should have access to training to become independent prescribers (IPs) and there should be ongoing development support for IPs to extend their scope of practice. Clear pathways to advanced and consultant practice should be available, as well as role models to share their experience. Wider use should be made of the RPS transition programmes, piloted in Wales, as well as the RPS mentoring platform.

Scotland

William (Iain) Bishop, pharmacist, NHS National Services Scotland

I am convinced that appropriate training and support for pharmacists throughout their career is vital and, to my mind, there is a particular gap in what the RPS provides currently. Because of my unique career path, I see many pharmacists struggling with technology, both in how to maximise the benefits of leveraging that technology to its best advantage for them, but also in the underlying understanding of how the, often fragmented, health IT landscape fits together i.e. how did the data they see get there and is it trustworthy?

The Topol review highlighted that there is much more to be done to support pharmacists in engaging with the digital challenges they face. Pharmacists need to be supported to develop their digital competencies and confidence regardless of their career path or stage. The RPS is in an ideal position to fill that gap and support its membership to progress.


Kathryn Booth, primary care pharmacist

We have several vacancies in rural Scotland and we need to attract pharmacists from other areas of the UK, or elsewhere, in order to fill the positions and provide a full service for our patients. But these pharmacists will need support no matter their experience, sector or career background.  The RPS has an opportunity to support and develop careers, from understanding the Scottish pharmacy contract, moving between pharmacy sectors, attracting newly qualified pharmacists and developing those who have been in role for many years. Our remote pharmacists deserve the same career and development opportunities as those in the central belt. Let’s aim to understand the requirements of our rural teams and then understand how the RPS can help to support and develop us.


Tamara Cairney, primary care and hospital practice pharmacist

The 2020 RPS mental health and wellbeing survey revealed that pharmacists feel negatively affected by their jobs, are at high risk of burnout and feel unsupported within the workplace. Increasingly, there is growing pressure on pharmacists to complete additional post-qualification courses while maintaining employment, with a lack of protected development time. I believe that training and development is essential to the employee value proposition and directly relates to enhanced wellbeing within the workplace.

The profession must support a culture of learning and development as a necessity, which can be expected within all job roles, instead of a luxury experienced by the minority. This would bring our profession into step with other healthcare professions, where learning and development is seen as an essential part of every workplan. Therefore, I would see all pharmacists benefit from regular paid protected learning time to make space for training and development at all stages.


Andrew Carruthers, hospital and locum community pharmacist

I would like to see the re-introduction of RPS Local and the creation of an online RPS community. As a previous RPS Local coordinator, I’ve seen firsthand that RPS Local events are a great forum to formally support the training and development of local pharmacists. The topics can be based on the local training needs of members and support learning across the profession, at all career stages.

I appreciate that evening events do not suit all members, so I would like to see the development of an online RPS community, which can be accessed at any time. This could take the form of an online forum with various threads for discussions. With support from our members and RPS staff, we could share learning, support development and build a supportive online community.


Omolola (Lola) Dabiri, community and primary care pharmacist

Another look should be given to the curriculum right from the undergraduate school.

Soft skills training, such as negotiation skills and leadership skills, should be incorporated to prepare the incoming generation for projecting their voices as ‘pharmacy’ to stakeholders in the public and government platforms.

Perhaps this could be introduced as compulsory CPD right from pharmacy undergraduate school, with foundation levels (to identify promising ones [students or skills?]) and then advanced levels to prepare for actual leadership.

Freebies of some sort could be thrown in to attract engagement.


Rizwan Din, primary care and community pharmacist

I believe in the importance of mentorship and creating a supportive environment for all pharmacy professionals, regardless of the stage of career they are at. I would encourage rollout of foundation pharmacist frameworks for all newly qualified pharmacists and increase uptake of mentorships. I am a firm believer in lifelong learning. I personally undertook postgraduate studies several years after qualifying and, despite returning to education being a daunting thought at first, I found it very beneficial and effective. Everyone learns in different ways; some prefer structured competency frameworks while others will prefer shorter modules to update skills, and I believe these should be made available. For those at advanced levels, I believe support is required to enhance their skills further to become specialists within their field, as well as developing leadership skills.


Lucy Dixon, primary care, secondary care and independent community pharmacist

We need to expand and demonstrate the importance of the RPS workforce wellbeing campaign to establish support networks: people cannot develop to their full potential, personally or professionally, if we do not support and nurture them. I feel that a combination of advocacy and mentorship should be at the heart of all training. Dedicated education and support networks for each sector at all stages would support and guide every pharmacist from student to consultant level. Peer networks and cross-sector experiences would improve appreciation and understanding of other pharmacist roles, and support pharmacists moving between sectors.


Farzana Haq, GP practice-based pharmacist

We need high-quality development in order for pharmacists to deliver exceptional services. There is a great demand for pharmacist prescribers, which will be implemented within the foundation training year. In Scotland, we need joint working from the General Pharmaceutical Council, RPS, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and Community Pharmacy Scotland, as well as other relevant stakeholders, in delivering education and professional development for pharmacists throughout their career, and to ensure seasoned pharmacists are not left behind owing to lack of opportunity to study for independent prescribing. In all sectors, pharmacists have been frustrated by undertaking training to a high degree but not being able to utilise their skill set. We need to ensure our organisations allow pharmacists to put their learning into practice. I would like to see a Scottish Pharmacist Career Framework, which would merge, for example, the NES GPCP and RPS Advanced Practice Framework — including the Faculty assessment — with clear progression to a consultant programme/framework. Protected learning time would support pharmacists through frameworks.


Jacqueline Sneddon, project lead for Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group      

I believe the pharmacist career structure that RPS has developed in collaboration with national education providers has provided a valuable framework to support all pharmacists, from students through to those at consultant level.

As an experienced pharmacist, I would promote utilisation of learning resources to pharmacists at all stages of their career, utilising individual’s preferred learning format. The range of training programmes, webinars and e-learning opportunities offered by RPS and NHS Education for Scotland/Health Education England/Health Education and Improvement Wales ensures there is something available to meet everyone’s needs.

The use of tutors for the foundation programme and the RPS mentoring programme provides valuable formal support from fellow professionals. In addition, the proposed RPS networks will support professional development and I think employers have an important role in facilitating local peer discussion/learning opportunities. Based on my own experience, I encourage all pharmacists to connect with colleagues across the UK, and beyond, to support personal development and advance practice through collaboration.


Audrey Thompson, primary care pharmacist

It is imperative that structured career frameworks are implemented consistently in all sectors of practice (not just patient-facing roles), from foundation to consultant level, and in a way that provides meaning for patients, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. To develop as a profession and provide assurance on the standards, clear pathways and training with defined competencies for clinical and non-clinical skills, along with clinical supervision, infrastructure and support is vital. Pharmacy should learn from other professions in this. This needs protected time during employment, but not to become an industry in itself. We need a culture where there is an expectation that each professional is responsible for developing themselves, their colleagues and their service as an integral part of their role. It is important that this structure is not just for pharmacists, but incorporates meaningful, experiential learning for undergraduates and a parallel pathway for pharmacy technicians.

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, April 2021, Vol 306, No 7948;306(7948)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.79413