I guess I had several motivations for wanting to join the RPS Faculty. I liked the idea of gaining some recognition for being committed to my job, always trying to do things better and taking a real interest in my profession. I also thought it would be a useful process in terms of helping me identify my weak areas of practice, I’m a contractor as well as a patient facing pharmacist so I find it quite difficult to access peer review, I’ve always sort of made up my professional development as I’ve gone along!
Building a portfolio was a new experience, a bit like putting together a ‘this is your life’ of your pharmacy career. But it was ultimately quite satisfying, summarising the different activities and aspects of my job and also the things I’d done outside my day job which were pharmacy related. Suddenly all those things I’d volunteered for or done as favours had value as they helped demonstrate my skills in the different competency areas such as management, leadership or education. I was able to easily link (or ‘map’) a lot of what I do/ had done to the various bits of the framework.
More than anything the Faculty process allowed me to get a really good overview of my practice and brought everything together: dealing with patients, helping other pharmacists, managing a pharmacy, managing a business, helping students and pre-regs, dealing with and helping other health professionals, planning & implementing new services…the list is endless.
One of the parts of the Faculty process, once you’ve decided you want to submit your portfolio for assessment, is asking colleagues and professional contacts for testimonials. This is alien to many pharmacists, asking someone to write about what they think of your professional capabilities is quite a nerve wracking experience, but again it’s ultimately rewarding as you learn a lot about yourself and how you are perceived by others.
It takes a few weeks after submitting your online portfolio & supporting documents to receive your ‘results’ and find out whether you’ve gained Faculty membership and if so at what level. I was proud to become a stage II member in March this year and found the professional development plan and feedback provided to me as part of the process very useful. I had competency clusters graded at advanced stages 1, 2 and 3 so it was good to see where I was doing really well but also be able to start to form a plan for the areas of practice where I was less skilled/ developed.
This has been the biggest plus point for me, going through the Faculty process has given me the insight & motivation to plan ahead and keep developing my career. My tip, give it a go and see where it takes you, the recognition becoming a Faculty member brings is great, but ultimately it’s the way the process helps you develop and focus your career & professional skills which really makes it of significant value to both individual pharmacists and also, importantly, to employers looking to support their pharmacist workforce.