Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

sections

Career

Pharmacy degree must evolve to meet the needs of society

The comment article by Chijioke Agomo was an interesting and informative contribution to the discussion on the maintenance of pharmacist employment (PJ 2014;292:638). However, it did lack positive responses to the increasing problem that he identified.

When I decided to become a pharmacy undergraduate in 1959, it was on the basis that a BPharm degree from a Russell Group university would enable me to have a wide choice of career options. This indeed proved to be the case because, on graduation, I was offered work in retail, hospital, academia, industry and marketing. I could even have taken articles to become a solicitor.

But the world has changed dramatically since those early halcyon years. Society now looks for graduates who not only have the basic technical knowledge that an undergraduate degree course offers, but also those who can offer added value skills in specialist areas.  

Community pharmacy, now and in future decades, needs graduates capable of managing the technical roles of maintaining profitable businesses in an extremely competitive environment. Healthcare now requires graduates with clinical skills up to the level of becoming independent prescribers and to be an integral part of hospital treatment teams.  

My recommendations may well be regarded as simplistic, but I do believe that they form the basis of a strategy for the maintenance of our profession.

Initially, then, I would suggest that a broad-ranging four-year basic degree course would be mandatory and graduates could continue maintaining the regulated sale and supply of healthcare products. But there would need to be a fifth-year academic option with two intensive areas of study and development.

On the one hand, we should develop an MBA programme which would produce graduates capable of taking strategic managerial roles in retail business and pharmaceutical marketing. On the other hand, we could develop a clinical qualification for those who wish to offer an expanding role in healthcare not only in hospitals, but also in community medicine. This qualification would ensure that the clinical advantages of pharmacist involvement in the NHS would be irresistible for a nation seeking to optimise the delivery of healthcare.

Pharmacists can only hope that the General Pharmaceutical Council can produce an educational and training policy that society is prepared to remunerate in the public interest.

 

Graham Walker

Totnes,

Devon

 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20065557

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.