Credentialling: let’s create high standards

two young pharmacists

Advanced Practice Pharmacist credentialing is key to the future of the profession, writes Shefali Parekh

Credentialing of Advanced Practice Pharmacists has been the talk of the town since the Australian Pharmacy Council announced the end of the national program last month.

Career advancement and struggle for identity in health care provision in Australia is one of the major reasons why many young pharmacists are leaving the profession. The Advanced Practice Pharmacist credential therefore presents a great opportunity be acknowledged for our active learning and ability to put our skills and knowledge into action.

What do pharmacists get out of it? While it may not be financial, the reward is the positive patient health outcomes. The reward is the pat on the back from your colleagues, friends and family.

In a time where there is said to be an oversupply of pharmacists, the reward is that extra qualification that will stand you out from the rest and be the point of differentiation when applying to positions.The reward is the potential for so many other opportunities and career paths.

The reward is job satisfaction. By demonstrating pharmacists can excel across a range of different areas such as clinical, education, research, leadership and management both within and outside the pharmacy profession; who knows, remuneration may follow.

It’s all well and good to say we want this to happen because pharmacy is at a crossroads, but if we do not do anything about it then what is the point of complaining?

We have come a long way in 10 years, so imagine how the profession will look in another 10 years, when we are able to collaborate with doctors in a specialist practice setting to assist prescribing decisions and manage chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes.

All pharmacists, regardless of workplace or stage of practice, are encouraged to highlight their strengths through the national credentialing framework so that we can be better equipped for a bright future of not just being a generally registered pharmacist.

Let’s create high standards so that we can be proud of our profession against others within the healthcare landscape.

In a profession where life-long learning is a part of the job description, it should come as no surprise when our colleagues go down different paths to work in different environments or professions, or further post-graduation study in order to develop, expand and specialise their role in optimising patient care.

For example, we have pharmacists who are experts in wound care and opioid abuse to name a few yet they are not nationally recognised for their innovation in service.

Much of the work done for creating advanced competencies in the new standards which are due for release soon is based on national credentialing, so our profession needs this program to showcase the impact of our practice rather than the knowledge. Because we all have the same baseline clinical knowledge from studying the same course, and graduating with the same degree.

As a student, I believe it is critical for my peers to aspire for great progression within a career which is so very versatile, especially since it can be easy to fall into the routine of pharmacy and not branch out into innovative streams.

A credential that recognises professional growth will gain the respect of not only other healthcare professions but also our patients.

I think there is a lack of awareness and real understanding of the advanced practice framework and where it fits in the bigger picture of pharmacy practice. Being an advanced practice pharmacist will motivate, inspire and remind people why they were excited about becoming a pharmacist in the first place.


Shefali Parekh is the president of the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association.


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  1. Jarrod McMaugh

    I’ve just finished interviewing 20 or so interns for next year.

    Each one has a bright future ahead of them, and having something to aspire to and drive their career progression – whether it’s advanced credentialling or PSA’s career pathways initiative – is essential to keeping the future of our profession engaged and motivated.

    Just as important is the uptake of these interns – we may be heading to a period where graduates exceed intern places. If you are in a position to take an intern for 2017, & have the dedication to turn them from great students into amazing pharmacists, please do!

  2. pagophilus

    Credential line is a nice money-making scheme for those doing the credentialing. I know someone who does advanced practice and they will not undergo credentialing because the benefits (few) outweighs the costs. They will continue doing what they are doing regardless.

  3. Suzanne Newman

    Shefali makes some great points. SHPA agrees that that further credentialing and accreditation of pharmacists is required for delivery of more comprehensive cognitive services. It is fantastic to see that Shefali, as a pharmacist of the future, also recognises this.

    In addition to advanced practice credentialing, there are other options for pharmacists to demonstrate their expertise and stand out from the crowd, including: SHPA residency, accreditation to perform medication reviews – for which SHPA offers 3 pathways, becoming a clinCAT evaluator, Certification for Geriatric Pharmacy and more.

    Residencies have been the cornerstone of early practice for pharmacists in many countries and is routine for our medical colleagues. 2017 will see the first intake into SHPA’s residency program, which will be a robust foundation for professional development for pharmacists in their early years of practice.

    SHPA also strongly supports advanced practice credentialing and will work with the profession and other organisations to ensure Advanced Practice recognition continues to exist in 2017 and beyond, so that pharmacists can be recognised for their professional growth and their contribution to quality patient care.

  4. United we stand

    “While it may NOT be financially rewarding, the reward is the positive patient health outcomes.”
    If you wanna drop some cash on some credential that will get you nowhere then go ahead. Now that HMRs are done and dusted, they’re pushing credentialing pharmacists for GP clinics.

    This profession is a joke and the wages speak volumes about our role in the healthcare system.

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