A game changer on lifetime learning


Joe Demarte, PSA national president

In December 2015 the Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA) made a decision that was a game changer for Australian pharmacists, says Joe Demarte, PSA national president

That decision was to revise the Registration Standard on continuing education to include a compulsory requirement for pharmacists to develop a learning plan that maps out where their continuing professional development (CPD) efforts will be focussed.

The ramifications of this decision should not be under estimated.

Tallying up the required number of CPD credits each year to satisfy Pharmacy Board registration requirements has now become a far more targeted exercise. It enshrines planned lifelong learning as a part of the pharmacist registration.

PSA believes this is a positive initiative.

It creates the potential to use CPD plans to map out continuing education not just for the year ahead but to link CPD to longer term career aspirations. It is this concept that underpins PSA’s user-friendly, online CPD Planning Tool that was launched at PSA16 this month.

This tool allows PSA members to create their annual CPD plan within a longer term framework that ties it to their longer term career ambitions. It also assists members to actually define where they want their career path to lead.

It is a free service for PSA members that will identify:

  • relevant competencies for their scope of practice
  • professional development needs relevant to the competencies identified
  • suitable CPD activities that address professional development needs, and
  • maintain the CPD plan ready for registration reporting and audit.

While targeted learning is not new, PSA’s CPD Planning Tool builds on previous experience and meshes the learning plan with the huge wealth of quality CPD material available online through PSA in a variety of formats, the CPD articles published in Australian Pharmacist, for example.

I am delighted that PSA has been able to launch such a valuable and important support tool for PSA members. I have no doubt that it will hugely enhance the usefulness of PSA membership.

What I really like about it is its simplicity.

The CPD Planning Tool has been ‘road tested’ by pharmacists working in different states and practice settings who gave some great feedback which has allowed us to fine tune the tool and allow us to turn what could potentially have been an onerous task into a simple, intuitive process. This process allows members to plan for the year and in the longer term. Map put where they want their pharmacy career to take them.

The many early career pharmacists will. I am sure, find this to be a great way to clarify in their own minds what their career goals are and then plan their continuing education around achieving those goals.

Importantly, between August and October, in the lead up to reregistration on 30 November, PSA will roll out a series of workshops across Australia (click here for workshop details) to explain to members, and non-members, the process of developing a personal CPD Plan using the CPD Planning Tool. (For more information about the CPD Planning Tool click here)

I recommend all PSA members attend these workshops and invite non-members to also attend and find out what PSA is offering.

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