Pharmacists’ roles diversifying around the world

pharmacists in silos: pharmacist in dispensary

Pharmacists’ roles are becoming more diversified the world over, a new report shows.

The first international overview of the extent of the advanced and specialised roles that pharmacists are undertaking, and the mechanisms supporting these developments, was presented at the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The information is contained in a new report, Advanced practice and specialisation in pharmacy: Global report, produced by the International Pharmaceutical Federation Education Initiative.

“Around the world, pharmacists’ roles are becoming more diversified,” says said co-author Kirstie Galbraith.

“Some countries are recognising this by area of specialty practice in a sector or clinical area, others are identifying advanced performance using evidence-driven, developmental frameworks; so there are a variety of means to recognise practice beyond that seen at initial registration.”

The report gives access to information from 48 countries and territories, including case studies that outline trends in policy development related to advanced and specialised roles, such as the development of national definitions, criteria and professional recognition systems.

For example, in over 40% of the countries, formal post-nominal credentials are available to recognise an advanced or specialist pharmacy practitioner.

Mandated requirements for pharmacists to have achieved a formal level of advancement or specialism in order to provide some services are also emerging.

In Switzerland, for instance, it will soon be mandatory for pharmacists in charge of a community or hospital pharmacy to hold a recognised post-registration title.

Almost 60% of countries have frameworks for advanced and specialised practice either available or in development, the report reveals.

“Assurance of competency that is commensurate with advanced practice is a clear message to civil society that pharmacists possess this expertise,” says Galbraith.

“This report contains the most comprehensive collection of data relating to advanced and specialised roles, and countries can use it in their professional workforce development.”

The report serves as important information for the World Health Organization and its work on transformative education for health professionals.

“The information contained in this report is vital to help identify workforce needs that directly impact on universal health coverage and the achievement of targets such as the millennium and sustainable development goals,” says Professor Ian Bates, co-author of the report.

“This is all in the interest of patients, health systems and the profession.”

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