I still remember how excited I was during the presentation about the RPS Faculty delivered by the RPS President Ash Soni at the RPS Annual Conference 2014. I knew that the RPS Faculty was the next big thing and I wanted to be a part of it. As I did not yet have two years of experience post-registration, it was suggested that I start with the RPS Foundation Pharmacy Framework (FPF), which would support my foundation practice and prepare me for the Faculty. I signed up to be a Foundation Champion.
Pharmacy to me is about striving for the best patient care (directly or indirectly). Improving my knowledge and skills is a big part of it. At the beginning of my career, I needed a structured plan in order to gain the required skills and knowledge effectively and the FPF was part of that plan. Although I have great support at my base hospital and I am currently undertaking a clinical diploma, I found the FPF to be more personal as I was able to include experiences from other areas of pharmacy (e.g. community, research, teaching).
The first step was to evaluate myself by using the Foundation assessment tool. I thought it would be daunting and time-consuming but the assessment turned out to not be too bad. If you want to get the best out of the assessment, you need to be very honest and objective with yourself and that could be difficult sometimes. After the assessment, I could easily see where I needed to improve.
The Foundation Programme also trains you to start collecting and documenting evidence for your competencies, which will be a very useful skill when completing the RPS Faculty portfolio. The collection of evidences did not require a lot of extra time as I had been already collecting them for my clinical diploma. The online platform is very easy to use and you could just upload your documents, which I was successfully doing. There are tools available for various types of evidences (case base discussion, pharmaceutical care assessment, direct observation of practical skills, consultation skills assessment) and I was using them to collect evidences from the community pharmacy setting. I found them straightforward and easy to use.
I guess a slightly more tricky part of the FPF is to find a tutor, who will oversee your overall progression. I approached my clinical diploma tutor, who kindly agreed to be my FPF tutor as well. If you already have a tutor or someone with whom you work, just ask them! I am sure they will be more than happy to become your Foundation tutor. The RPS is also releasing tutor guidance in June to support people who want to become Foundation tutors.
My next step is to collect feedback from my colleagues by using the new Foundation Peer Assessment Tool. This is exciting and scary at the same time but it will give me a real overview of my performance.
Starting your Foundation portfolio may seem difficult at the start but it is definitely worth it. It will not only help with your development but will also help demonstrate your commitment to delivering the best patient care – so get started today!