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My Faculty Journey – one year on. It’s not about the ‘badge’, it’s about development!

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I submitted my portfolio for the first wave of assessments by the RPS Faculty in 2013. It’s now exactly a year since I received notification that I had become a Faculty Fellow. However, my Faculty journey didn’t stop there because the Faculty isn’t just about getting a ‘badge’ of recognition; it’s about professional development.

Compiling my portfolio and using the Advanced Pharmacy Framework (APF) as the blueprint for my development were extremely helpful. However the most valuable thing for me was peer review and feedback. I don’t often proactively seek feedback and having to obtain peer testimonials as part of the Faculty submission process gave me the push to ask for feedback. I found the feedback encouraging, motivational and sometimes quite humbling! I gained a better understanding of my interactions with others and the multiple perspectives from a wide range of colleagues and helped me to validate my self-assessment of competence and identify my ‘blind spots’. I am now much more likely to seek 360 degree feedback in the future for myself and others as part of the appraisal process.

After the portfolio has been assessed, the RPS provides a personal development plan (PDP) which is written by the Faculty assessors. The PDP is intended to help pharmacists to develop their practice and support career progression. My PDP was based on feedback from the pharmacists who assessed my portfolio with suggestions for my next steps. I was rather sceptical about receiving a PDP written by somebody else as I felt my PDP was Personal and written/driven by me. However, the PDP was really useful because the feedback was written specifically for me rather than the assessor selecting from a series of pre-written statements (like the GPhC feedback on CPD). This made the feedback much more meaningful.

Specific feedback was given for the evidence I submitted for each cluster of the APF. The assessors informed me of my strengths and weaker areas e.g. Risk management policies at a higher level are skills that are hard to demonstrate, but that is the only competence that wasn’t demonstrated at Mastery [for the management cluster]”. This enabled me to focus on my weaknesses and look for opportunities to develop and demonstrate these competencies as well as building on my strengths. Overall my weakest cluster was research and evaluation which wasn’t a big surprise but this did help to reinforce the importance of conducting research on an ongoing basis and looking for opportunities to publish in peer reviewed journals.

1-year on and I am looking back at my PDP and subsequent action plan and can see that I am making progress. One of my action points was to undertake more collaborative work with Higher Education Institutes to enhance my evidence for the Education & Training cluster. Over the last year I have taken up opportunities to do this and have been an active member of the Advanced Programmes Advisory Board and contributed to proposals for post-foundation pharmacist development in London and been a member of the viva panel for a Masters in Advanced Pharmacy Practice.

I have also kept a list of all relevant experiences over the last year that demonstrate my advanced practice and with the cold winter evenings drawing in I need to sit down and start to write up some of this evidence for my portfolio. The Faculty journey hasn’t ended, it’s only just beginning!

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