When I first looked at the outline of the eight week faculty fast track programme, week two always stood out as one that may be more difficult to tackle. I had lots of examples of project streams and experience that I have gained over the last few years, and achievements that I am proud of that I felt showcased strong evidence for some of the APF clusters. However, I was acutely aware of cluster six: research and evaluation, where like most pharmacists in practice it is usually the weakest area, unless it forms an integral part of your current role. For me, currently, research has taken the back seat whilst I develop my leadership and management skills, and I have also concentrated on developing my education and training competences due to my current role. By recognising this ‘weakness’ in my portfolio, it has prompted me to seek actively research opportunities and to reflect on any past projects that I have completed where I could have shared the findings. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I now need to ensure I move from ‘research aware’ to ‘research active.’
Accessing resources for this week was an integral part in assisting me in mapping my evidence to the competences. I would certainly recommend reading the following resources on the RPS website:
- Portfolio development and support:
- This is a step-by-step guide on how to map an entry.
- I found the ‘table of differences between stages of APF by cluster’ particularly useful as this helped me determine how to map the evidence to a stage guided by the terminology used.
- Expert Professional Practice Evidence Summary:
- I printed this summary and wrote all my thoughts and ideas regarding each cluster.
- Week two: collate your best bits – weekly watch:
- The pre-recorded webinars were useful in checking that I was on track with my thoughts and also answered questions I had regarding how many evidences to map.
- Watching the webinar clips gave me the reassurance I needed to check that I was interpreting the clusters and stages correctly.
I now felt that I had a starting point of collating the evidence and where I believe they mapped to the clusters. Sue and I arranged to meet and discuss what we had mapped. It was a really interesting and insightful discussion, as we had interpreted some of the clusters differently. For example, 4.4 Managing Risk: I had thought about incident reports and serious events, but Sue had thought about the management of students in the clinical setting and the risk associated with that process. On reflection, this was really useful, as we both could think of examples of practice that each other had done, but had not mapped to the competencies. I had previously not kept a record of my achievements and roles, and therefore I felt this process was harder because of it. I would certainly recommend using the portfolio and keeping it current, even if you are not planning to submit. It is much harder to collate and map evidence retrospectively. Sue and I definitely felt like pre-registration pharmacists writing their first piece of evidence and not knowing if the performance standards mapped would be signed-off!
Well week two has certainly been a bit more challenging. Amareen and I feel like we are on a bit of a rollercoaster ride with this. My peer testimonial replies have been slower in coming back and someone said she wasn’t sure if she could contribute anything so that set me worrying about other people I’d chosen!
Last week we came away thinking ‘yes we can do it’ but then when we actually started on our own trying to map things our areas of weakness sent us back down the rollercoaster run again. I was left wondering whether I would have been better looking at my portfolio before starting the 8 week plan and seeing if I could enhance my application first. The problem with this is the motivation. I’ve been thinking about Faculty for a while so could have done it ages ago but didn’t. Having the 8 week plan and a colleague to meet with have both been strong drivers for keeping me going.
Meeting up again with Amareen was exactly what I needed. I realised
a) I wasn’t on my own in this and
b) We had different ideas that we could use to help each other’s portfolios
Guess what we’re on the way up again!
Having a colleague who has been through Faculty can therefore be an additional help with this process and Amareen and I found this particularly useful for comparing quantity and quality of evidence for certain competencies. I was reassured that education and training was demonstrating clinical practice and that supervising other people doing projects could also be used for some competencies. This means I can have two or three evidences for more competencies which is what is recommended.
So all in all it was a tough week but we’re hanging on in there and writing my CV doesn’t look too hard for next week!