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Reflective account example: a community pharmacist reflects on his communication skills

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Reflective account

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As the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC’s) revalidation deadline (31 October 2019) approaches, many pharmacists will be recording their learning and considering how to complete their reflective account.

The following example reflective account is intended to act as a guide to better enable you to complete your own learning record for submission to the myGPhC site. You should not replicate or copy and paste this material, rather create your own entry based on your experience. You should reflect on your own practice and consider how your patients or service users have benefited from your learning.

In your first year of completing a reflective account, you need to reflect on one or more of the following standards:

  • Standard 3 - pharmacy professionals must communicate effectively;
  • Standard 6 - pharmacy professionals must behave professionally;
  • Standard 9 - pharmacy professionals must demonstrate leadership.

The following example is based on standard 3.

Title

Improving my communication technique

What’s your area of work/ who are your service users?

Provide us with a reflective account of how you met one or more of the standards for pharmacy professionals. Give a real example(s) taken from your practice to illustrate how you meet the standards we have selected.

I am a community pharmacist manager working in a small pharmacy chain based in Scotland. I work alongside a pharmacy technician, two dispensers and several pharmacy counter assistants.

My service users vary, but are generally made up of patients, parents/carers, pharmacy staff members and other healthcare professionals (e.g. those from nearby general practices).

It is necessary as a community pharmacist to communicate effectively on a daily basis, whether this is with patients, staff or other healthcare professionals. However, after several years of practice, I realised I had not considered the effectiveness of my communication skills.

When considering the third standard ‘Pharmacy professionals must communicate effectively’, I thought about how I could improve my communication to ensure I am delivering person-centred care. I was conscious that communication encompasses not simply the words I use, but also body language and tone of voice. I wanted to ensure that I was being as effective as possible and where I could make improvements for my patients.

To better understand my current communication style, I asked a pharmacy colleague to observe me while I spoke to a patient about a minor ailment and make notes based on what she thought went well and what did not go well. Prior to the patient consultation I informed the patient that a colleague would be observing, but that the consultation would continue as normal and no details of the patient were going to be recorded. The patient was happy to continue with the consultation with an observer.

After the consultation my colleague collected her thoughts and made a list of points. We discussed these and I was able to find aspects of my professional practice that required improvement, such as consciously changing my body language and trying to ask fewer closed questions. In order to do this, I practiced body positioning in front of the mirror and created a list of open questions that would aid me in future consultations. I shared my learning with the team and encouraged them to let me know if they observed further communication issues.

The colleague who conducted the initial observation has since observed my general consultation and communication skills and provided me with feedback indicating that I have addressed the issues discussed. This has experience has helped me ensure patients are getting the best possible experience from me during consultations.

Before creating your own reflective account, see ‘Revalidation: how to complete your reflective account’, which provides a step-by-step guide for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians writing and submitting this vital part of revalidation.

You may also find the following articles on effective communication useful:

How the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is supporting members with revalidation

A dedicated revalidation support hub, which also provides more information on the various support services offered is available on the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) website and includes:

  • RPS MyCPD app - An app supported by The Pharmaceutical Journal. Available for iOS devices via the App Store and Android devices via Google Play. For information on how to use the app, see How to use the new ‘RPS MyCPD’ app for pharmacy revalidation’.
  • Revalidation support service - Members can contact this service by phone (0845 257 2570 Monday to Friday 9:00 to 17:00) or email support@rpharms.com.
  • Revalidation events - Information on the latest events can be found on the website.
  • MyCPD Portfolio - members can create a portfolio allowing you to make records of any CPD you have engaged with and retain these records throughout your career.

 

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