Faculty: Expert Professional Practice

Dilip - 150by Dilip Joshi FFRPS MRPharmS

Leading-edge practice, doing new and innovative things, pushing boundaries in our profession are all things that many would identify with and have always appealed to me, however, I have to admit I did not start my career with a grand plan to do any of these things.

When I first qualified – more years ago than I care to remember – community pharmacy was very much a ‘Cinderella’ branch of the profession. Industry was seen as glamorous; hospital as clinical and academia as innovative but community pharmacy had a ‘shop-keeper’ image with a focus on supply. Today, I am pleased to say, community pharmacy is at the forefront of the profession having had more developmental change than any other branch. The appeal for me has always been that you are able to directly see the result of your interventions and over time, I have seen the impact on patients, first-hand as a supplementary and independent prescriber, providing clinics within the pharmacy consultation room, performing medicines reviews and achieving excellence in care through collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Read more Faculty: Expert Professional Practice

Polypharmacy – even the word has a negative connotation

Nina Barnett

Professor Nina Barnett, Consultant Pharmacist for Older People, Medicines Use and Safety Team, NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service

As clinicians we think of polypharmacy as patients being prescribed too many medicines, some of which are at best redundant and at worst cause patient harm. It is easy for us to take a clinician-centred, negative view of the prescribing of multiple medicines because of our awareness of the risks associated with polypharmacy, but I want challenge this thinking and reframe our view of polypharmacy, so we think about it from a patient perspective.

Read more Polypharmacy – even the word has a negative connotation

Five Tips on Stress Management

Reshma ImageFive Tips on Stress Management – by Reshma Bance

Scheduling

Leaving a sufficient amount of time to revise is vital to success. To ensure this is the case, organise a structured timetable and don’t forget to include some time for some relaxation and socialising. During your timetabled hours, if you feel that you are not studying effectively, then take a short break. (Be careful not to let a short break turn into a couple of hours!) Planning and scheduling is key to your success, and can prevent you feeling stressed out. Read more Five Tips on Stress Management

Explaining the new cannabis bill

charles blogBy Charles Willis, Head of Public Affairs for RPS

You may have noticed over the past few weeks that the Liberal Democrats are returning to an issue close to many of their hearts; reforming the drug laws. This week in Parliament, Norman Lamb brought a 10 minute rule bill seeking to legalise and regulate cannabis in the UK. But how did we get here?

Going into the 2015 General Election, Nick Clegg committed the Party to decriminalisation for possession of drugs for personal use, and Norman Lamb made drug reform part of his Party leadership bid. However, the key precursor to this Bill was set at the recent Lib Dem Spring Conference, where the members debated a motion that would for the first time commit the Party to full legalisation and regulation.

Read more Explaining the new cannabis bill

How much is polypharmacy a necessary evil?

MartinDuerden

By Dr Martin Duerden, a GP in North Wales and Clinical Senior Lecturer at Bangor University

A few years ago, I and some GP colleagues – Tony Avery from Nottingham University, and Rupert Payne from Cambridge University – were asked to do a review of polypharmacy by the King’s Fund. Polypharmacy had always been looked on disparagingly through my training in medicine and my subsequent work as a GP. It was clear from our review that this high minded perspective of polypharmacy was no longer valid.

Polypharmacy has become common place and the stark evidence is that we now have three times more people taking ten-or-more drugs than was the case in the late 1990s. The reasons for this are complex; many more people take preventative drugs for things like high blood pressure and lipid-lowering; we have a plethora of guidelines urging us to use treatments; and there are an increasing number of drugs available. Perhaps the biggest issue now and in the future is the shear number of people in middle age who are getting older and frailer and carrying many diseases into old age – the so-called ‘multimorbidity challenge’.

Read more How much is polypharmacy a necessary evil?

Improving Your Soft Skills

Faye PicBy Faye Morley, University of Birmingham.

Over the past three years at university I have worked hard to change from a painfully shy person into one who is frequently described as confident. I even find myself offering to present in front of large crowds without so much as a second thought.
This article will give you some tips to make this development yourselves, just bear in mind that the majority of soft skills will come naturally with gaining confidence.

Read more Improving Your Soft Skills

Could protected learning time for pharmacists be a reality?

johnathanlaird150Johnathan Laird is a community pharmacist independent prescriber with a special interest in asthma. He is based in Turriff, Aberdeenshire.

As we develop into more clinically focused areas, like independent prescribing and managing lists of patients, protected learning has to become a reality. With this in mind, I was delighted to read about the RPS in Scotland advocating the need for protected learning time in their manifestoRight Medicine – Better Health – Fitter Future. Read more Could protected learning time for pharmacists be a reality?