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Training for pharmacists

We support pharmacists to complete a range of courses including post-graduate diplomas, non-medical prescribing and advanced practice courses.

The pre-registration year for pharmacists is aimed at supporting the transition from pharmacy student to registered qualified pharmacist.

In order to fulfil this goal you will be required to demonstrate that you have the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes and that they can be applied in a practice setting.

This pre-registration training aims to support your development to become a competent and confident practising pharmacist. The training can be undertaken in hospital, community or split placement formats (e.g. hospital with CCG/GP).

We have a variety of hospital trusts/split placements and community placements with opportunities for pre-registration pharmacists across the north.

The foundation period of a pharmacists development is pivotal. It allows the individual to transition from undergraduate/pre-registration student to independent registered practitioner. They need to apply the skills, knowledge and behaviours they have learnt into their day to day practice. To achieve this they will utilise work-based learning principles to reflect, learn and improve as a pharmacist.

It is expected that Foundation pharmacists will work towards achievement of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Foundation Pharmacist Framework. They will need to develop a portfolio to support their reflections and demonstrate their development. This will allow them to use the clinical knowledge they have learnt and apply it to a wide range of real life situations. By reflecting on their performance they will grow as a pharmacist and be on the pathway to advanced practice. To aid their development they should be supported by a supervisor. The supervisor will support the foundation pharmacist to achieve self-directed learning.

To underpin their development foundation pharmacists will need to consider their own learning needs and undertake specific learning activities to improve their practice. This will not only focus on clinical knowledge and skills but also on wider development, such as leadership, service improvement, governance and all aspects of management related to pharmacy.

The North School of Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation will support all foundation pharmacists based in the North of England to access the development opportunities they require to achieve the Foundation level standards set out in the RPS framework. 

The school visited 65 NHS Trusts across the north of England in order to understand their views on current and future foundation pharmacist training. This report summaries these findings. It highlights examples of innovative practice and describes the challenges of delivering foundation pharmacist training. It also outlines the areas the school are working on to support quality training for foundation pharmacists working in NHS trusts in the north.

Advanced practice is a broad term describing a spectrum ranging from the early post-foundation years, extending through to consultant level practice. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Advanced Pharmacy Framework is a tool used to stage levels of practice, identify areas for development and underpin a professional portfolio.

There are different routes to advanced practice after foundation training. Some pharmacists will undertake post-graduate certificate, diploma or degree either in a generalist (e.g. primary care) or specialist (e.g. oncology, clinical education) area. Other educational resources are available to support pharmacists instead of completing a programme at a higher education institute, including RPS FacultyNHS Leadership Academy and Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education.

The North School of Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation have produced the Navigating Advanced Pharmacist Practice Handbook to support advanced practice for pharmacists, employers and pharmacy leaders. This handbook resource recognises the different routes into and through advanced practice. It includes real case studies, examples of evidence and links to educational resources to aid development from post-foundation to consultant level.

A number of training and development courses funded by the Pharmacy Integration Fund are available for individual pharmacists and are suitable for developing advanced practice. These offer flexible and accessible learning solutions, allowing those enrolling to study at work, or in their own time.

To find out more about these training and development opportunities, including eligibility criteria and course providers, please visit Pharmacy Integration Fund.

Advanced clinical practice (ACP) is a potential route for experienced pharmacists. This level of practice is characterised by a high degree of autonomy and complex decision making. This is underpinned by a master’s level qualification, or equivalent, that encompasses the four pillars: clinical practice; leadership and management; education; and research, with demonstration of core capabilities and area-specific clinical competence. Advanced clinical practice embodies the ability to manage clinical care in partnership with individuals, families and carers. For more information on advanced clinical practice and the four pillars please download the Multi-professional framework for advanced clinical practice in England.

NHS trusts, CCGs and GP practices can bid through a regional process, across professions for ACP course funding.

A consultant pharmacist is a clinical expert working at a senior level, delivering care for patients and driving change across the healthcare system. Consultant pharmacists are required to have a high level of expertise and skill across the four pillars of clinical practice, leadership, research and education, undertaking activities that use their extensive, expert knowledge and skills to contribute to the health of individuals and the population.  Some will undertake postgraduate qualifications covering one or more of the pillars of practice (e.g. research at master’s level or above, postgraduate certificate in education).

For those wishing to become a consultant pharmacist they are expected to use the Advanced Pharmacy Framework as a framework to determine their development needs and may benefit from mentorship from an existing consultant pharmacist. Successful candidates will be able to show ‘mastery’ in the vast majority of competencies within the Expert Professional Practice, Collaborative Working Relationships, and Leadership clusters and at least advanced stage II in the remaining three clusters (Research and Evaluation, Education, Training and Development, and Management).

Fully funded Independent Prescribing training is available to pharmacists who are deployed as part of certain programmes.

To find out more, including eligibility criteria and course providers please visit Pharmacy integration fund courses for pharmacists.

Advanced Practice Frameworks

Health Education England, in partnership with NHS Improvement and NHS England, has developed a multi-professional framework for advanced clinical practice in England, which includes a national definition and standards to underpin the multi-profess

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