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RPS Faculty celebrates first birthday

Society reflects on challenges faced by professional development programme

Peter Kopelman

Source: Jason King

The Faculty is about continued learning and guiding pharmacists’ careers, says its chairman Peter Kopelman

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society Faculty has achieved its academic aspirations, despite attracting fewer members in its initial year than had been hoped, according to its chairman Peter Kopelman.

Kopelman told members at a gathering to mark the Faculty’s first anniversary, held at the Royal College of Surgeons in London last week, that the Faculty was seen as a “mark of quality”, but that its membership would take time to grow.

Martin Astbury, president of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, congratulated members and said that the Faculty further establishes the RPS as “our Royal College”.

Faculty membership stands at 128, although 1,400 RPS members are using services provided by the Faculty, including resources to support professional development, professional curricula and a portfolio to enable pharmacists to record their professional development. There was no official target for membership numbers in the first year, but Kopelman acknowledged he had hoped for a wider membership.

He said that the main challenge is “getting the message across that the Faculty is about continued learning and guiding pharmacists’ careers”.

Theresa Rutter, a retired specialist community health services pharmacist and Faculty member, spoke of a need to “bust the myth” that the Faculty is only for certain sectors of the profession. Rutter said that other pharmacists often asked her whether the Faculty was more about academia and clinical practice. “Membership is accessible to any pharmacist from any part of the profession,” she said.

Faculty membership is currently open to pharmacists with ten years’ practising experience, but the plan is to open it to those who have been qualified for two to ten years. The coming months will allow the Faculty to fine tune the assessment process and train the required number of assessors.

Kopelman stressed the value of how the Faculty is perceived externally. “It is certainly beginning to be seen as a quality mark, for example, the General Pharmaceutical Council sees it is as a vehicle for revalidation.

“As revalidation comes on to the horizon there is now an opportunity for pharmacists to prepare,” he said, reminding members that in the medical field revalidation was discussed for a long time, but was implemented quickly.

Christine Ward, chief pharmacist at North West London Hospitals NHS Trust and a Faculty fellow, told the attendees that her trust’s board had congratulated her on her achievement. “It was very nice to be recognised in the organisation.”

She told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the professional development plan she was given after joining the Faculty helped her focus on research — an aspect of her career that she had not previously prioritised.  

The next deadline for submitting Faculty applications is 17 August 2014.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11139038

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