Pharmacy students are often distressed about a perceived lack of opportunity within the profession – so initiatives like the discontinued National Credentialling Program of Advanced Practice Pharmacists matter a great deal, says NAPSA.
NAPSA has just released a position statement on the issue of the Advanced Practice Pharmacist Framework, following the Australian Pharmacy Council’s decision to end the National Credentialing Program last month.
The students’ association says that the concept supported by the APPF of elite pharmacy practitioners – assessing pharmacists against their performance rather than scope of practice – was and remains important for the profession.
“This is important as it is expected that all pharmacists have the same baseline clinical knowledge from studying the same course, and graduating with the same degree,” the statement says.
“It is the experience gained from working in different environments and/or further post-graduate study that allows some pharmacists to develop, expand and specialise their role in optimising patient care.
“The APPF hence presents a great opportunity for pharmacists to be acknowledged for their active learning and not only allows the significant advancement in skills and competencies of these pharmacists to be acknowledged; but in addition, recognises the substantial impact and contributions they make to health care – including different areas from clinical, education, research, leadership and management, to collaboration, communication and teamwork both within and outside the pharmacy profession.”
NAPSA says that the discontinuation of the credentialing program, “at a time where within our profession there has been [an] ongoing struggle to not only show our worth as pharmacists but to find our place within health care, is distressing to say the least”.
Students need the opportunity to be ambitious within the profession before they graduate, the statement says.
A recent National Pharmacy Students’ Survey found that 49% of Australian pharmacy students are concerned about career advancement and struggle for identity in health care provision, NAPSA says.
“It is one of the major reasons why many young pharmacists are leaving the profession.
“This is a staggering figure which shows that, despite progressions in establishing and recognising professional development, students remain distressed over the perceived lack of opportunities within this profession.”
NAPSA says it anticipates that issues around the sustainability of the APFF will be resolved with a long-term model in the near future.
“The 2015 NPSS survey demonstrated that 1 in 3 pharmacy students are unaware of career advancement opportunities such as national credentialing.
“Whether it is this similar lack of knowledge and awareness regarding the program and what it provides, or simply a lack of enthusiasm among pharmacists, that prevented minimum targets to be met during the pilot program, NAPSA would like to see action from the industry to improve the recognition process so that a sustainable model can be achieved.”