Talking Heads: Opening the door

SHPA opens the door to research opportunities  

The inaugural SHPA Research Think Tank held in June 2016 was the first initiative of the SHPA National Translational Research Collaborative (NTRC) Project Steering Committee, writes Kristin Michaels.

This gathering of over 30 advanced, mid-career and early-career researchers from across the profession focused on developing the powerful case for inspirational research in pharmacy practice.

This neatly illustrates SHPA’s intent to establish and build a research culture that benefits its members and their patients. The proceedings resulted in practical insights into research opportunities and priorities and how best to manage resourcing to support research.

The Research Think Tank also highlighted what must be done to ensure genuine progress when undertaking research. In addition, participants considered how to ensure the results of research are used widely to enhance practice within the profession.

Throughout the day, the Research Think Tank team rigorously examined a number of critical issues. These included;

  • how best to foster research skills within the workforce; and
  • how to assist with service redesign that draws on research results.

Another critical issue that was given significant consideration was how to make best use of the knowledge and skills base within the hospitals that are already leaders in particular fields of research.

When considering the factors that ensure relevant, quality research, it was recognised that there must be a key focus on consumer involvement and this will require ongoing dedicated funding and a supportive infrastructure.

During the discussion about barriers and impediments to research, it was decided that this is an area where SHPA will play a pivotal role.  SHPA can promote culture change across the profession to assist researchers, and potential researchers, to access mentors and experts, and to collaborate with like-minded researchers.

There is no doubt that the future must offer a variety of professional opportunities for SHPA members, throughout their whole career. Research and quality improvement is important in the process of improving clinical practice. This is the key to a better health system. A scholarly project is now a requirement to progress in medical specialities, and SHPA is building a similar path through its future residency and specialist residency programs.

In the 2015 Australian Pharmacy Council’s credentialing of advanced practice pharmacists pilot program, enhancing research competence was identified as a necessary requirement for pharmacists to progress along their advanced practice journey.  SHPA can support its members to achieve advanced practice recognition by developing research capability for all SHPA researchers, and especially for early career pharmacists.

As a priority, SHPA will link day-to-day work to research with a shared research vision through its National Translational Research Collaborative. We will also link research to Standards of Practice. These aims will be at the core of SHPA planning and activity in the years immediately ahead.

The door has been opened. The inaugural SHPA Research Think Tank has begun the process of ensuring our members have continuing opportunities to consider, pursue and evaluate research as part of their commitment to quality medicines management.

Kristin Michaels is CEO of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia

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