Formal training programs will boost the expansion of pharmacists’ roles says Kristin Michaels, CEO of the SHPA   

The lack of formal or structured experiential training programs post-registration has potentially been a barrier to strengthening and expanding pharmacists’ roles and scopes of practice in Australia.

Although residency programs have been available in the United States for 53 years, and also exist in the United Kingdom, Canada and Singapore, similar programs of post-graduate experiential learning in Australia have not been developed on a national scale.

Earlier in 2016, The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia committed to a project to implement in 2017 the first phase of a structured, formalised, supported and accredited national residency program. The SHPA program is a two-year professional development plan for pharmacists designed to develop their practice towards the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework Transition Level (Advanced- Stage 1). The program is targeted at those pharmacists in their foundation years, or pharmacists entering hospital practice from other pharmacy environments.

On 14 September 2016, SHPA opened applications for hospital pharmacy departments to apply for provisional accreditation as an SHPA Residency Program site. This follows the launch of the program in Sydney on 5th September to directors of pharmacy and clinical educators from over 50 hospitals from around Australia.

Hospital pharmacy residency programs will be accredited against the SHPA Accreditation Standards for pharmacy residency programs. The Standards describe four Domains and include 36 criteria against which site residency programs must comply. The Accreditation Standard Domains are:

  • Resident- Program relationship
  • Capacity and experience of department and staff
  • Range of pharmacy services and ability to deliver the residency curriculum
  • Commitment to professional development

SHPA’s accreditation is a quality assurance process that ensures the residency site has an appropriate commitment to the resident; has the capacity and capability to deliver a residency program; and can offer a broad range of practice based experiences for the resident. Residency program sites will exhibit a culture that demonstrates a commitment to education and training for staff.

The accreditation process at this stage involves an online ‘desktop’ exercise where potential residency sites respond to a comprehensive series of questions with supporting evidence. A site visit to provisionally accredited sites will be conducted in the first year of the residency.

The SHPA Residency Program is flexible to suit a range of sites and settings, not just metropolitan hospitals. Applications from private hospital pharmacy departments and rural/regional hospitals are encouraged. Where warranted, SHPA may offer additional support to residency program sites to enable them to meet program expectations, such as supporting regional training coordinators to work with local directors of pharmacy in developing training programs.

The SHPA Residency Program website has a range of resources available, including the Accreditation Standards document and the online application form for residency program site accreditation applications.

Residency program site accreditation applications close on 10 October 2016. All applicants will be notified of outcomes on 31 October 2016.


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