Professional Standards – committing to change and improvement

By Suzanne Scott-Thomas, Chair of RPS in Wales

Professional standards are central to improving practice, creating a more responsive service for our patients and increasing efficiencies.

Part two of this blog on the value of professional standards highlights another example of how using the RPS Hospital Pharmacy Standards has helped reshape a service, along with tips on creating change and improvement.

In my organisation we took a look at our patient discharge process realised it needed to change. The Hospital Standard: When care is transferred to another setting, patients are referred or signposted to appropriate follow-up or support, helped us improve the discharge process.

Outcomes included action being taken to implement ‘MTeD’, the electronic discharge advice letter system to electronically transfer information to GPs, as well as connect to the ‘Choose Pharmacy’ system in community pharmacies. This means that when patients are discharged, we can make certain that patients are appropriately receiving Discharge MURS. In this way, we’re handing over pharmaceutical care on discharge in a seamless way. MTeD is currently rolling out across all of the Health Boards in Wales, and we’re pleased to see the numbers of DMURs via the Choose Pharmacy system increasing.

Committing to change and improvement

As with anything in life, we get out what we put in. I would really recommend taking time to appreciate how you can get the best out of professional standards and how this can help you deliver and improve patient care. I would recommend you:

  • Engage – be a part of the process of developing the standards
  • Influence – what should the standards be? what would good look like in your organisation?
  • Own – we must think of them as our standards, not as being imposed on us by others
  • Understand – what do they mean for your service & your patients?
  • Use and apply them – in service re-design & service improvement, in business cases, in PDRs
  • Use them again – maintaining professional standards is a continuous process, with ever changing needs & expectations
  • Review – are the standards still fit for purpose, is there better practice out there, what might come next? Professional standards need to continue to stretch and challenge.

This all underpins continuous service improvement.

I would encourage all colleagues to commit to professional standards so we can deliver more for patients.

As a Chief Pharmacist in Wales, I have oversight and responsibility for pharmacy services provided in hospital, the community and primary care. Following the experience of putting the hospital standards into practice, I fully welcome the work the RPS is doing to create Professional Standards for Community Pharmacy. This gives us a great opportunity to reflect on the services we provide in the community, shape future services and deliver the high-quality care that patients deserve.

 Get involved

If you’d like to find out more, give your views, or get involved in the development of the important community pharmacy standards, have a look at the community pharmacy professional standards webpage.

Improving care with professional standards

by Suzanne Scott-Thomas, Chair of RPS in Wales

As pharmacists, we need to know that the services we provide are effective, safe, and efficient. This way we can make sure patients are getting the care they need and deserve. We also need to know that the services are continuing to meet the requirements of an ever-changing healthcare environment.

Meeting these challenges is part of our daily practice but it is no mean feat. So how do we continue to improve practice, increase efficiencies and create more responsive services for our patients?

In my experience, one answer is in creating and implementing professional standards.

Having professional standards provides us with a framework to test or assess our services against, which helps us to:

  • Know ourselves
  • Benchmark with others
  • Identify the gaps
  • Identify best practice
  • Identify how to deliver the best practice
  • Implement and then review

The Professional Standards framework will identify the way forward for you to improve your services.

Putting standards into practice

In my organisation, we use the RPS Professional Standards for Hospital Services collaboratively, but also individually, with all of us making a self-assessment against each of the standards. This process has allowed us to identify standards that we were not achieving or partially achieving and to implement improvement strategies to reshape services.

We successfully took action to meet the standard of: The views of patients and carers are actively sought to inform the development and delivery of pharmacy services enabling patients to have direct input into the services that they receive.

Implementing and responding to post discharge questionnaires we took action to:

  • Implement a standard uniform for all pharmacy staff in the managed sector in Wales– the green tunic with the pharmacy cross.
  • Issue pharmacy staff with name badges.
  • Developed and updated procedures and training to support medicines counselling by pharmacy staff.

We were really pleased to see that more patients were able to recognise pharmacy staff on the ward if they wanted to talk about their medicines. We continue to survey and respond to patient feedback on an annual basis to continue to improve.

Part two of this blog, to be published next Thursday, will combine another example of how the Standards helped us improve with handy recommendations to help you commit to change and improvement in your sector and practice.

Why should you attend the ‘Women in Leadership: Survive and Thrive’?

by Emma Davies, Advanced Pharmacist Practitioner and Research Fellow at Swansea University.

Women form the majority of the pharmacy workforce and yet, are still under-represented in senior roles across all sectors. This Women in Leadership event is looking to explore some of the issues faced by women working in healthcare and how we can work together to overcome them.

My contribution

I am looking to share my experience of workplace bullying and how I have tried to turn negative experiences into motivation to succeed. I am hoping that by being open about what I have faced, it will encourage people who may be going through a similar experience to know that it doesn’t have to continue or prevent them from realising their potential. I am looking forward to hearing from attendees about how they might have dealt with similar experiences and what I can learn from that to strengthen my future and those I support.  Read more Why should you attend the ‘Women in Leadership: Survive and Thrive’?

Sharpen your influencing skills: learn the art of debate

Catriona Bradley from the Irish Institute of Pharmacy

Have you ever had to justify a professional decision? Did your influencing skills fall short? FIP has invited experts in the art of debating to consider an issue at the heart of the pharmacy profession – continuing professional development – and to help congress participants understand and acquire the skills needed to debate effectively.

“As pharmacists, it’s important that we’re able to look at any argument or any proposal about our profession from [different] viewpoints and to be able to set aside our own believes and values,” says Catriona Bradley, of the Irish Institute of Pharmacy, Ireland. Read more Sharpen your influencing skills: learn the art of debate

New Year, new career! – How the RPS can fuel your ambitions

Daniel 150

As 2015 has drawn to a close and a new year begins, many pharmacists are considering where to take their career next. Career development is a continuous process occurring over the entirety of your working life, so whether you’re trying to improve your skills to advance your current position, or seeking to move into an entirely new role, we provide numerous tools for career development, enabling you to gain a solid footing and achieve your ambitions, whatever they may be. Read more New Year, new career! – How the RPS can fuel your ambitions

Kickstart your professional development in 2016

Jonathan Burton - SPB Vice-Chair and SPB Lead for Foundation ProgrammeBy Jonathan Burton  MFRPSII MRPharmS, Vice-Chair of the Scottish Pharmacy Board.

2015 has been a year of real progress for the RPS professional development programmes in Scotland. Our Local Practice Forums across the country have held several workshop events to inform members about both the Foundation framework and Faculty portfolio building & submission. Our Scottish National Seminar in August saw packed conference rooms full of pharmacists learning from colleagues with first-hand experience of using the programmes and/or becoming Faculty members and Fellows. Read more Kickstart your professional development in 2016

Facing the challenges ahead as a recently qualified pharmacist

Daniel 150After the thrill of passing the pre-registration exam had subsided somewhat and I joined the register as a pharmacist, it slowly began to dawn on me that despite all the BNF tagging in the previous months there was so much more to learn.  Not only is there a wealth of clinical knowledge to absorb and new skills to refine, but there is also far more I want to get out of professional development than I can achieve by merely documenting CPD entries.

Read more Facing the challenges ahead as a recently qualified pharmacist