Being one of the first Faculty members has been both a challenging and rewarding experience. The main challenge was the dive into the unknown and some trepidation about the assessment process. I worried: Will my evidence be good enough? Will the assessors think I am at the same level of practice as I think I am? Will the assessment be fair and consistent?
However, once I understood the assessment process I realised that I had nothing to lose and lots to gain! Once I started to pull together my portfolio and make the online entries I started to feel more confident. I felt excited to be recognised for my achievements and hard work, to become a Faculty member in the profession about which I am passionate.
By far the biggest support to me in my Faculty journey has been advice from my fellow Faculty members. I am a renal pharmacist and through the UK Renal Pharmacy Group I know one of the very first Fellows of the Faculty and now two more members of the committee have been awarded Fellowship. These are pharmacists who I look up to as leaders in my field of practice and who inspired me to start my own portfolio submission.
I found the whole experience to be extremely positive and motivating. There’s no pass or fail, just a chance to show off your achievements, to find out what your strengths are, and to identify a framework for developing yourself further in the future.
Building my portfolio highlighted to me that there were areas of my practice that I had neglected such as education and teaching. I realised that I had passed up opportunities to develop my teaching role, despite it being something that I have always been told I was good at. The upside of this is that I feel motivated to rectify this as a result, and I have the Advanced Pharmacy Framework and my Personal Development Plan (PDP) to guide me in doing so.
Sometimes as a pharmacist you are in a post for many years, particularly when you reach a senior level. However, a colleague recently pointed out that there is a big difference between doing the same job for 20 years and having the same job for 20 years. The Faculty has inspired me to grow professionally within and outside of my job role and has given me a framework with which to achieve this.
I now feel that I have a clear plan for the next five years and I will use the PDP to help me achieve my goals.