The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has published guidance for designated prescribing practitioners (DPPs), who support trainee non-medical prescribers (NMPs) during the ‘learning in practice’ element of their training.
‘A competency framework for designated prescribing practitioners’ is intended to help provide consistency in training quality and is aimed at all prescribing professionals. It has been endorsed by several professional bodies including the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists.
In early 2019, the General Pharmaceutical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council and Health and Care Professions Council introduced changes meaning that NMPs — including pharmacists — could for the first time take responsibility for supervising trainee NMPs during ‘learning in practice’.
Previously, only medical prescribers were able to do this and existing guidance was aimed at medics.
The framework describes competencies required of the DPP and the responsibilities of the organisation in which the trainee prescriber undertakes their practice-based learning.
Adele Mott, chief pharmaceutical officer’s clinical fellow at the RPS and lead author of the framework, said: “The framework helps the NMP trainee to understand the role of the DPP, which will help them to identify the right professional to take on this role for their training.
“For the DPPs, the framework will help them understand the skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to be a good DPP. It will help them to self-assess themselves against the competencies, to gauge if they are ready to become a DPP, and if not, to target professional development to take on the role in the future.”
The framework also covers governance of the learning environment, which includes creating a safe learning culture; promoting equality, inclusivity and diversity, and ensuring sufficient time is provided to support the trainee’s learning.
“The development process took over 12 months and involved a literature review and much discussion and collaboration with multi-disciplinary professionals,” Mott added.
“Development was supported by a project board, steering group, validation group and virtual reference groups, lay representatives, an open consultation and iterative changes before consensus was reached.”
Gail Fleming, director for education and professional development at the RPS, said that the framework will be “useful for training providers updating their courses and healthcare organisations employing independent prescribers”.
“Ultimately, this should help make it easier for a trainee to find someone to train them, and will give patients access to the care they need from the right healthcare professional for their particular condition,” she added.
The framework has been designed to support the implementation of professional regulatory standards relating to prescribing training, which must be adhered to at all times, the document says.