Professional development beyond foundation training : a study of pharmacists working in Scotland

Reuben, Anna and Forsyth, Paul and Thomson, Alison H. (2020) Professional development beyond foundation training : a study of pharmacists working in Scotland. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 28 (2). pp. 165-172. ISSN 0961-7671 (

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Objectives: In Scotland, post-registration hospital pharmacists typically undertake a vocational foundation training programme. Beyond this, there are no mandatory structures for ongoing professional training. To support progression to a more advanced level, competency frameworks are increasingly being used. This study aimed to measure the self-reported competence of pharmacists against a relevant framework and to determine what support was required to enable further professional development. Methods: An online survey was completed by pharmacists working across six acute hospital sites within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde who had completed foundation training between Jan 2013 and Jan 2018. Participants self-reported competency against the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Advanced Practice Framework Advanced Stage 1 competencies and gave qualitative feedback through free-text questions. Key findings: Twenty out of twenty-eight eligible pharmacists (71.4%) responded to the survey and three core areas requiring further support were identified: leadership, management and research. Participants reported that a strategic plan for professional development, more opportunities and managerial support were needed to help them develop these areas. Mentorship programmes and postgraduate qualifications were suggested as formats to support development. Conclusion: Pharmacists working towards advanced practice reported high levels of competence in expert professional practice, collaborative working relationships and education, training and development. While these results are promising, additional support is likely to be needed to cultivate leadership, management and research skills. Future training strategies need to consider this imbalance if we are to achieve national and international workforce goals for the professional development of pharmacists.