After deciding the time was right to apply for the Independent prescribing course, I needed to decide of which University to go for…
For those of you who are looking to apply now, below is a link to the GPhC website showing all the accredited universities that provide the course.
Where to study Independent Prescribing
When I was at this stage it did get a little confusing as there were a lot of things to take into consideration:
- When does the course begin?
- How often do I need to attend?
- How much time do I need to take off work?
- What assessments will I have to do? Will there be an exam?
- Some courses are 30 credits, others are 60 credits… what does this mean?
So I decided on a university… it was the only one in a commuteable distance where I didn’t have to sit a written exam… here was me thinking this is taking the easy option it really wasn’t lol… the course was a 60 credit course so they more than made up for the lack of written exam with other assessments…
Now finding a DMP… or Designated Medical Practitional (I.e. Supervising Dr)… this proved to be the hardest part of the course in my opinion.
I managed to find a DMP on my second attempt. The first time I tried I was working in a different area where I asked the local doctors and those in my area but I didn’t get much of a positive response. The second time was after moving to a different area where I found it a lot easier to find a Dr willing to train me. I guess what I learnt from this was that you shouldn’t give up if you don’t have success at first… be persistent and you will get there sooner or later…
After finding a DMP the next mission was to ensure my line manager agreed to allow me to take time out of the store. Let me tell tou this right now… it’s hard doing store management and studying for independent prescribing at the same time, anyone who says it’s easy is really sugar coating it lol. At the time when I was doing this course I was a store manager and it was a challenge to work out a timetable that worked for the DMP and that kept the big bosses content as well.
After finishing my diploma I kept going back and forth thinking “should I go on to do my independent prescribing course” and “do I really want to do more studying”…
Fortunately I had two friends who were a couple of steps ahead of me on this path so I could seek guidance from them periodically…
The main problem I faced was a lack of information and knowledge about further opportunities after qualifying as an Independent Prescriber but there was one major factor that helped to motivate me.
Within Community Pharmacy there has been a lot of uncertainty over the past few years at least… largely based around an excessive number of Pharmacists resulting from the many new schools of pharmacy that have opened up within the past few years…. this combined with the cuts that the pharmacy budget is facing year on year due to CatagoryM claw backs and more recently tougher cuts meant things won’t remain the same for long.
I knew community pharmacy is changing and I wasn’t going to be left behind… I decided to apply for Independent Prescribing in order to give myself the additional skills that I would need to stand out of the crowd of equally well qualified and experienced Pharmacists.
So now you’re probably thinking what happened to “the plan”?
There was a time when “the plan” had taken a back seat when my focus has shifted towards the development of the store and in particular focusing on launching new services such as Flu jabs, NHS and the Minor Ailments Service.
After two years working in this store, the plan came back into focus. This was the point when I thought “what am I doing?” as being a community pharmacist working within a multiple felt quite unfulfilling. At this point I started my Clinical Pharmacy diploma.
So the plan included becoming an Independent Prescriber but mentioned nothing about completing a Clinical Pharmacy diploma… yes thats right… but although this was only a few years ago… back then having a completed a diploma was almost a pre-requisit for starting an Independent Prescribing course. Today the tables have turned, to an extent, with the recent report produced jointly by the RPS and RCGP, encouraging GPs to employ practice based Pharmacists, and as a result it has become easier to enrol onto the Independent Prescriber course.
After completing my Pre-Registration year at an Independent Pharmacy I did locuming for a year. Life as a locum Community Pharmacist was as good as it can be for a newly qualified Pharmacist… you go into the store… complete the work that is asked of you… and go home at the end of the day without having to worry about any issues that may be unresolved in each store. In fact, the only aspect of locuming that I didn’t like, was the uncertainty that was present (and is present even more so today) within the locum market due to an ever rising number of Pharmacists.
After trying my hand at locuming I decided the time was right to get some stability. I took a job at a multiple which progressed from a store based Pharmacist role into a Pharmacist Store Manager role. Taking this position at the multiple is a decision that I have had second thoughts about multiple times over the years as I has led to me facing several challenges over the years. These include learning how to develop a store… training new staff members…. and even training for and implementing new services in store. Taking on this role has helped to shape my decisions as a Pharmacist even today… after being qualified as a Pharmacist for a little under 7 years.
My Answer to the question… Yes!
In fact I had two plans from when I was in final year at University.
Become an Independent Prescriber – Ive achieved this one and we will be talking about this more as we move forward.
Become my own boss i.e. Buy a Pharmacy – I’m still working on this one.
Hello readers, so this is where I talk about how I entered the Pharmacy profession. My journey into the Pharmacy profession began in the same way as did every other Pharmacist’s…. Go to university…. complete the MPharm degree… then its time for the Pre-Registration year…. this is where the choice that you can have a profound effect on your career for many years to come.
When I qualified, in 2010, there were realistically only two options Community or Hospital Pharmacy. Other options were available such as Industry and PCT roles, although these were harder to obtain. Along with these there were other less well known options including Prison Pharmacy and Academia.
My choice was to go towards Community Pharmacy… and so the journey began…
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