What else can you do with your pharmacy degree?

Whilst at UniversityDaniel Sutcliffe - 150, I, like many, viewed my career options upon graduation as falling broadly into one of two camps: Hospital or Community. I was vaguely aware of other career paths for pharmacists in different sectors but with industrial pre-registration placements so scarce and with no idea about the other roles for pharmacists I decided to apply for hospital pharmacy. I had no idea that a year later I’d be a qualified pharmacist working primarily in the field of marketing, an area I hadn’t even considered at the time.

Read more What else can you do with your pharmacy degree?

Identifying Management to help build your Faculty portfolio

by Nahim Khan MFRPSI MRPharmS

Management is not just about managing people, it includes your day to day work, meeting objectives in your appraisals or managing processes and projects. To some degree, everyone has some experience in these areas.

The organisation that you work for will have its’ own standard of practice. For example, key performance indicators, such as the target time that medicines reconciliation must be completed. I found that understanding the development descriptors was key to mapping competencies correctly.

If you’re going through the Faculty process with colleagues, I recommend you discussing your entries with them to gather their feedback. If there is no one in your workplace undergoing the Faculty process, then get feedback in other ways! Talk to the Faculty Team at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and find out if there are any workshop events or Faculty Champions in your area. There are also articles in the Pharmaceutical Journal articles and a portfolio building support discussion group and webinars on the Royal Pharmaceutical Society website.

I lead on an audit which was based on Alert 18 from National Patient Safety Agency: Actions That Can Make Anticoagulant Therapy Safer. One of the actions stated that there should be an annual audit on anticoagulant use, therefore this was implementing a national priority. Recognising standards of practice for the safe use of anticoagulants was necessary to benchmark the compliance of prescribing, monitoring, counselling as well as for documentation. ‘Managing performance’ was met here, as I completed an audit as part of my personal development plan, gathering the knowledge needed to understand anticoagulants.

I delivered the results of the audit to the doctors within my organisation in order to meet the ‘managing risk’ competency. I also used this as an opportunity to present the principles as supporting good anticoagulant prescribing. There were key deadlines of the phases to the audit;  data collection, analysis, report writing and presentation of the results, they also met  the ‘project management’ competency. My report included recommendations to improve data collection rates for future audits. The recommendations required liaising with other members of the team to prepare for the change, thus meeting the ‘strategic planning’ competency.

Take a look at all of your pieces of evidence and decide whether they can be mapped to any of the other management competencies. My audit, which by its’ nature would be mapped to competencies in Cluster 6: Research and Evaluation. While it’s important to describe the piece of evidence and how you meet the competency, you also need to reflect on your experience. The portfolio is yours – so always remember talk about you and what you did!

I feel that reflecting on the achievements in my career to demonstrate how I met the competencies made me feel more confident when dealing with large projects. Receiving the personal development plan and reading through objective feedback from the assessors on my achievements was also a great feeling. The assessors also gave feedback on how to progress to meet the management cluster competencies for Advance Stage II.

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Integration across Primary Care – Pharmacists in Care homes and GP Practices

With Graham Stretch MRPharmS

Pharmacists are pioneering new models of integrated working across the primary care sector, including work in GP Practices and nursing homes. Increasingly the success of these models is being recognised; it was for this reason that Graham Stretch and team were awarded the 2015 British Medical Journal Primary Care Team of the Year.

Graham Stretch

Graham is responsible for a service providing pharmaceutical care to 19 nursing homes, with a total of 900 beds, as commissioned by Ealing CCG over the past three years. Graham’s approach is to integrate care across GP practices, community pharmacies and nursing homes, removing the barriers to effective pharmaceutical care. Unlike some clinical pharmacy models, the pharmacists involved do 95% of all prescribing, and after earning the trust of their GP colleagues they manage the clinical reviews and undertake the bulk of prescribing within nursing homes using a technician led service.

The results of this method speak for themselves: with 11% fewer prescribed items, 20% fewer hospital admissions, a 63% reduction in anti-psychotic prescribing in Dementia, and a 45% reduction in end of life admissions. Graham argues that when pharmacists are involved in prescribing and medicines management then fewer errors occur, resulting in better outcomes for all patients. He describes this model as nothing radical, stating that any pharmacist has the ability to have a positive impact on medicines management if given the opportunity.

After having the contract extended a for further 2 years by Ealing CCG, Graham is now hoping to translate this model into other areas, publishing research and aspiring to replicate this success elsewhere. Describing the process as personally and professionally rewarding he argues that more pharmacists should have the opportunity to embark upon this journey.

Graham will be speaking at RPS Annual Conference about his project, describing how pharmacists can successfully integrate themselves into primary care, and the benefits this can bring for both patients and the pharmacy profession.

The RPS conference will be in Birmingham, Sunday 4 September – Monday 5 September 2016. Book your place to find out more about key issues affecting pharmacy and how we can solve them.


Stop the over medication of people with learning disabilities

david-banford(1)By David Branford, Chief Pharmacist, Derby Hospital

The nation was shocked by the Panorama expose of cruel behaviour to people with a learning disability living at Winterbourne View in Bristol. The subsequent enquiry not only raised many concerns about the care of people with a learning disability but also about the use of antipsychotics and antidepressants.

Subsequent investigations and actions took two paths. The first, a series of studies demonstrated widespread use of many categories of psychotropic drugs often in combinations. In addition there was widespread use of PRN psychotropic drugs. The second was NICE guidelines relating to aspects of treatment of people with a learning disability.
Stopping Over-medication of People with Learning Disabilities (STOMPLD) 2016 is a campaign launched by Alistair Burt today. It aims to improve the quality of life of people with a learning disability, by reducing the harm of inappropriate psychotropic drugs which are used as a “chemical restraint” in place of other more appropriate care and treatments. Read more Stop the over medication of people with learning disabilities

A closer look at a clinical pharmacy career path

Hospital Pharmacy ImageJill Holden, Lead Clinical Pharmacist, and Lindsay Parkin, Academic Practitioner,both at City Hospitals Sunderland, give us an oversight of what career progression in clinical pharmacy typically involves; what you can expect in terms of responsibility at each stage post-registration, and what opportunities are available within a clinical career.

Read more A closer look at a clinical pharmacy career path

Pharmacists and Clinical Trials

By Professor Jayne Lawrence, Chief Scientist, Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Dr Rachel Joynes, Head of Research and Evaluation  

Today is International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD). Now in its 11th year, ICTD is celebrated around the world to commemorate the day James Lind started his famous clinical trial on scurvy. The day is an opportunity for organisations and clinical research professionals to discuss the benefits that involvement and engagement in research can bring. But what role do pharmacists play in clinical trials? And what opportunities are there to engage?  Read more Pharmacists and Clinical Trials

Maximising efficiency in hospitals from a grass roots level: Implementing the Carter review

Anthony sinclairEarlier this year Lord Carter published his review into NHS trusts, outlining how efficiency savings could be made if hospitals were able to standardise procedures, increase their transparency and integrate more effectively with the local NHS architecture.

The review summarised a number of key recommendations to ensure that the NHS gets the best value possible from its £102 billion budget, and outlined a strategy to maximise efficiency, allowing patients to access high quality care every day of the week regardless of their region. Read more Maximising efficiency in hospitals from a grass roots level: Implementing the Carter review

Careers advice for Recently qualified pharmacists

HarpreetOn Thursday 5th of May recently qualified pharmacists gathered together for our Pharmacy Careers event, looking for guidance and advice on where a career in pharmacy can take them and what they can do to realise their ambitions.

Ash Soni, the president of the RPS, opened the event discussing the emerging opportunities for pharmacists who are willing to embrace change. He described how resilience is a crucial skill for modern pharmacists and that emerging new roles for pharmacists provided exciting opportunities in the near future.

“The only limit to your career within Pharmacy is your imagination” – Ash Soni

Read more Careers advice for Recently qualified pharmacists

Identifying Leadership to help build your Faculty portfolio

Susan Ibrahim editedby Susan Youssef MFRPSII MRPharmS

Leadership inspires pharmacists and their teams to achieve high standards of performance and personal development. The Faculty leadership cluster ties into this by allowing you to record the many instances where leadership has been applied successfully as a pharmacist. Initially the way I approached the leadership cluster was by referring to the framework competencies and comparing these to my CPD records and my CV, I then selected suitable examples which I could use for the leadership cluster. Read more Identifying Leadership to help build your Faculty portfolio