Appraisal at a senior level

Jonathan Burton tells Jeff Mills how he is sharing his experience of RPS Faculty assessment with his pharmacy employees

Being a senior person in a small business meant that, until recently, Jonathan Burton struggled to access any meaningful peer review. That was before he went through the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Faculty submission process earlier this year. He says having his portfolio assessed was “a fantastic way for me to confirm some of my perceived strengths, but more importantly identify deficiencies in the depth and breadth of my practice and ways to address these.”

He adds: “The process suited me [because] I have a partially developed knowledge and skill set that falls across stages I, II and III of the framework. I am delighted to achieve stage II membership to the Faculty.”

Career beginnings

Burton began his career as a pharmacist working part time to fit around his role as president of the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (see Panel ‘Professional achievements’). He says: “It was during this time a colleague and I chanced upon the opportunity to purchase a small pharmacy in Stirling … and then managed to convince a bank to lend us some money to buy it — we were both 22 years old with no business experience”.

Burton and two colleagues now own Right Medicine Pharmacy, a group of 15 pharmacies in Scotland. He spends three days a week working with patients, and spends the remainder of his time carrying out his superintendent duties and supporting the employee pharmacists in his group.

Professional recognition

Burton has started to map out his professional development for the next five years, something which he has not done for a long time. As part of this, he is working out how he can build his basic knowledge of research protocols and finding ways of working practice research into his role.

“It was also suggested to me that I look to build more evidence to support my patient-facing expertise as a generalist in community pharmacy,” says Burton, who is also a member of the RPS’s Scottish Pharmacy Board and a local contractor representative. “It’s still the part of the job I love the most and the Faculty has given me a new focus on developing my existing clinical skill set.”

Burton has begun to introduce all pharmacists working within Right Medicine Pharmacy to the RPS frameworks. “We’re trialing the use of the foundation framework as our core self-appraisal tool for pharmacists, and we recently ran a workshop on how to use the frameworks to identify areas of achievement and as a way of driving improvements in practice and targeting areas for continuing professional development more effectively,” he explains.

At least two of the pharmacists have started using the advanced framework and building their Faculty portfolios. Burton says that he is “looking forward to guiding them through creating their first few entries and identifying areas for their professional development that I can help with and facilitate.”

Pharmacy 2025

What of the future for the profession? Burton is a regular blogger (, and in a recent post he uses an imaginary time machine to see what pharmacy looks like in 2025.

He writes: “There are no more paper prescriptions and we managed to ditch the hard copies and sticky notes. We also have a neat e-message system between health professionals, which enables us to quickly communicate about care issues patients have.” He adds: “All health professionals have access to an e-summary of patient notes.”

Burton has also used his blogs to outline his experiences of applying for the Faculty. “Building a Faculty portfolio using the advanced pharmacy framework has allowed me to take a good look at my practice as a pharmacist in its entirety.”

Professional achievements

Jonathan Burton completed his pharmacy degree at the University of Wales in Cardiff, graduating in 1998, and subsequently gained a postgraduate certificate in prescribing sciences and a practice certificate in supplementary prescribing.

He spent his preregistration year with Pharmacy Plus, a community pharmacy in Bristol, and spent a year as a locum pharmacist in South-West and North-East England.

While at university, he was awarded Welsh School of Pharmacy Fresher of the Year (1996) and British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association/Reckitt British Pharmacy Student of the Year (1998), and chaired the Welsh Pharmacy Students’ Association (1997–1998).

Burton was president of the BPSA, and a member of the RPSGB Education Committee (1998–2000).

He is a council member of Community Pharmacy Scotland and has been a member of the RPS Scottish Pharmacy Board since 2012.

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Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 7 June 2014, Vol 292, No 7813;292(7813):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.11138860

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