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Hindsight; things are not always what they seem

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During the pre-registration pharmacist training year some trainees can feel frustrated. In my pre-registration year I was initially frustrated that I was spending my first two weeks in the dispensary… an activity I felt was wasting my four years of training at university. When I finally made it to the ward and started to work with the Year One Foundation Doctors (F1) I was initially envious. The F1s I was working with appeared to have complete autonomy in their practice; they were making decisions about medicines and prescribing the drugs that I had spent so long learning about. This was very frustrating.  

After having dinner with some F1s this weekend I discovered that actually the F1s didn’t have the complete autonomy that I had previously perceived. The F1s explained that although it might appear that they have autonomy, they must check their decisions with the hierarchy of medical staff above them, starting with F2 or SHO, escalating to registrar and then consultant. It reminded me of the similarity and the differences of our professions. For F1s their most senior clinical supervisor is their consultant. For pre-registration trainees their most senior clinical supervisor may be a recently qualified pharmacist who is covering that ward or that pharmacy.  

I asked one of the medics if he ever felt frustrated that he couldn’t make decisions after 4-6 years of medical school, that everything had to be checked with the heirachy, he replied “graduating from medical school is just your ticket on to the real, postgraduate, training programe.” 

This ties in well with the recent development of the RPS Faculty and the even more recent Foundation Pharamcy Framework (FPF) - something I am a huge supporter of. My only gripe is the faculty stage names, MIFRPS and MIIFRPS, they just don’t seem worth a few hundred pounds. Perhaps in a few more years the post-nominals and FPF will be financially and strategically linked to career pathways in the NHS, private sector and academia, making them more attractive.  

Every once in a while the media churns out a pharmacy scandal, always blaming the pharmacist. With the development of the FPF and the Faculty, will the media start to scandalise that only a ‘junior pharmacist’ or a ‘non-faculty pharmacist’ was left alone to run a busy store? Or left to work on a busy ward? 

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