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Faculty surgeries spark interest from members

In Wales, as elsewhere, we want pharmacists to be recognised for their professional development. I believe the RPS Faculty is an excellent route to professional recognition. However, if Welsh members are to embark on their Faculty journey, we need to ensure they are aware of it and how it benefits them. In particular, members need to know what practical steps they need to take to become a Faculty member or fellow. Last month, the RPS Wales team took the first step on its own journey to build awareness and raise understanding of the Faculty. Five Faculty surgeries were held in Wales, led by Hannah Wilton, Faculty development lead. More than 55 people attended the surgeries in Cardiff (one at Cardiff University and the other at the RPS Wales office), Swansea, the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Pontyclun and St Asaph in North Wales. By the end of each surgery, I was told attendees were enthusiastic about the Faculty and were forming plans to start their own Faculty journey.

The best way to get recognised

Leeanne Lewis, divisional pharmacist for scheduled care at the Royal Gwent Hospital, told me that attending the surgery at the RPS Wales office in Cardiff has convinced her that the Faculty is the best way to get recognised for her current practice. She said she had read lots of information about the Faculty but was still a bit apprehensive on how to get started. She found that attending the surgery has motivated her to start her Faculty journey. She said networking with fellow pharmacists and discussions with the tutor inspired her to look at her practice and to start building her portfolio.

Lewis thought that Wilton’s presentation helped to demystify the process of becoming a Faculty member and helped some attendees overcome their apprehension. She discovered that, initially, some attendees thought they did not have enough evidence to put in their portfolios. Closer reading of the framework made them realise that they were practising at an advanced level. Their current roles provide them with many examples of advanced practice.

Peer support is the answer

I also spoke with newly elected Welsh Pharmacy Board member Rob Davies, who told me that the surgery in North Wales reassured the attendees and even inspired pharmacists at Maelor Hospital, Wrexham, to form a Faculty support group. The group will meet regularly to discuss each other’s portfolios and any other matters relating to the Faculty. Being part of a group like this will enable sharing of knowledge and experience, working through any issues that may arise, and allow peer support throughout the Faculty journey, he told me.

He urges members to make a start on their portfolio, read the Faculty handbook, talk to colleagues and use the RPS support network. He emphasised that putting a portfolio together is easier than one might think and it really will help with professional development and recognition.

A learning experience

The Faculty surgeries have been as much a learning experience for us, the RPS Wales team, as for the attendees. In particular, the surgeries have made us realise the importance of peer support. We need to encourage members to form their own peer support groups through the local practice forums and in the work environment. The roadshows have helped to raise awareness of the Faculty in Wales and have succeeded in generating enthusiasm among a small group of pharmacists. Of course, we have a long way to go and must ensure that we do not lose momentum, so we are now organising peer support groups through the LPFs to support those who have already started their Faculty journey, and are also planning the next series of Faculty surgeries. These are the first steps on a path that will help our members be the best they can be.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20065471

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