After 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.
Throughout the pre-registration year, pharmacists rapidly develop practical knowledge through patient interactions and further study, yet few pharmacists finish their pre-registration year feeling completely competent. When the Royal Pharmaceutical Society engaged with day one practitioners, many reported feeling a lack of support within their workplace, feeling unsure where to turn to for help, and a lack of direction, following the previous support and structure provided by their University and pre-reg tutor. This is certainly something I can relate to; after qualifying this August the idea of signing my name on the responsible pharmacist register fills me with pride but also a little apprehension.
Now of course as members we can turn to the RPS professional support service for guidance, but there remains the question of how do we continue our journey to become more experienced and competent pharmacists?
The RPS Foundation Programme is available to full members and is particularly relevant to pharmacists in their first 1,000 days of practice. I like that it provides access to an array of concise supportive documents, and is a structured programme based on the Foundation Pharmacy Framework, that can be completed over time without a rigid deadline.
The process is pretty straightforward, where you build an online portfolio as a way to showcase skills and experience, which is then assessed to highlight areas for development. Following completion of the portfolio and programme you will be granted a certificate of completion, which alongside the portfolio is a fantastic way of demonstrating competence to prospective employers – ideal for when you’re negotiating that promotion or moving between sectors. Furthermore the Foundation Programme allows you to enhance your skillset dramatically, improving the standard of care for patients.
With fantastic new avenues of practice opening up (such as more widespread independent prescribing, and working in GP surgeries), pharmacy is becoming increasingly competitive. The profession is changing more rapidly than ever before. It’s clear to all that we face challenges ahead, however these same challenges provide an incentive for pharmacists to push for their personal and professional development, so that we can reap the rewards of greater responsibility (and salaries!) throughout our careers.
I’ve recently started the Foundation Programme and I’m going to be documenting my experiences along the way in a series of blogs and videos. I would like to invite you to read more about what’s involved and join me on my Foundation journey – keep an eye out for my next blog post!
The Foundation Programme is one of many resources available to RPS members. Not a member? Newly qualified Pharmacists receive discounted rates, don’t forget to upgrade!