Updated: Aug 29
In order to deliver exceptional patient care, pharmacists must constantly strive to improve their knowledge, skills, and competencies, while also ensuring they keep a record of their professional growth.
Inspired by our recent podcast, this article shares five key steps pharmacists can take to effectively build and maintain evidence of their clinical competency. By implementing these valuable tips, pharmacists can not only showcase their expertise, but also comply with regulation requirements and provide the evidence-based, high quality care to their patients.
1. Identify and address any knowledge gaps
The first step you should take is to recognise your limitations and identify any gaps in your clinical knowledge. One way you can easily address this by conducting a thorough self-assessment of your skills and knowledge to pinpoint any areas to improve. By identifying these gaps, not only will you ensure that you will work within your scope of competency but you can focus your efforts on filling those knowledge gaps and strategically building up your competency and confidence in an organised and efficient manner. A self-assessment tool is an excellent resource for this first step: https://www.pharmacistselfassessment.org.uk/
2. Seek opportunities to develop
You should then aim to enhance your knowledge and experience, and actively seek out opportunities for professional growth. You can do this by undertaking structured courses, attending study days, participating in self-directed study, and by shadowing experienced GPs or senior pharmacists. Partaking in discussions on clinical topics is an essential aspect of your professional development and evidence of this is now required as part of your GPhC revalidation. Actively seeking feedback from your senior clinicians and being supervised while you work also contribute significantly to your learning. These practices often yield the most effective learning lessons. By actively pursuing these opportunities, you can expand your skill set quickly and stay up to date with the latest advancements related to your practice.
3. Build a comprehensive portfolio of evidence
The next step is to demonstrate the competency you've built. To do this it is crucial to maintain a well-organised portfolio of evidence. This portfolio is a folder where you can compile relevant documents and records (this may be physical or electronic). You should include certificates from completed courses, appraisals, positive feedback from patients or other clinicians, and any other tangible evidence of your professional development. This portfolio serves as a valuable resource during CQC (Care Quality Commission) assessments, and GPhC (Continuing Professional Development) revalidations.
4. Collect evidence consistently
To avoid last-minute rushes and ensure accuracy, you should collect and update evidence regularly. As soon as you complete a course or receive feedback, promptly add the relevant documentation to your portfolio. This proactive approach ensures that your evidence is up to date and readily accessible when needed.
5. Emphasise documentation and safety netting
Documentation is of paramount importance in clinical practice. Therefore, the last essential step is to ensure that every interaction you have with a patient is documented accurately and comprehensively when writing consultation notes- clearly documenting your interventions, follow-up plans and comprehensive safety netting advice. Good documentation provides a clear trail of evidence that can substantiate your decision-making process and patient outcomes. Remember, if it's not written down or documented, it will be difficult to prove.
Building and maintaining evidence of competency is an essential responsibility for pharmacists. Through identifying knowledge gaps, seeking opportunities for development, building a comprehensive portfolio, consistently collecting evidence, and effective documentation, pharmacists can demonstrate their competence, comply with requirements, and provide the highest quality of care to their patients.
To learn more about pharmacist competency and maintaining evidence, we invite you to listen to the full podcast episode by clicking here.