Extensive training would equip pharmacists with the right skills

Regarding pharmacist training for clinical roles, perhaps it would be a good idea to follow a similar approach to that of medical students and junior doctors. This would include multiple long practice placements during the university years, which now appears to have unanimous support. Then, once qualified, junior pharmacists would rotate through all the different specialist areas in hospital and community. This would allow them to gain an understanding of clinical approaches and specialist pharmaceutical care issues, with prescribing examinations or objective structured clinical examinations in each area, with the benefit of learning from different medical prescribers before becoming a generalist pharmacist.

This type of training would give pharmacists a broad range of experience, time to develop practical skills in complex environments and the opportunity to develop relationships with other members of the multidisciplinary team, as well as gaining trust from colleagues. It is necessary for patient safety that pharmacists should undergo as extensive a training programme as doctors if they expect to take on some of their responsibilities, including starting and stopping medicines in patients with comorbidities.

Richard O’Connell

Isle of Bute

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 26 September 2015, Vol 295, No 7881;295(7881):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20069312

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