Specialty Practice thriving as national platform for pharmacy expertise
One year into its revitalisation, the rapid and sustained growth of SHPA’s Specialty Practice has established the program as a crucial development tool for Australian pharmacists, supporting professional and career growth for over 2,000 pharmacists in 2018.
SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says as enrolment continues to flourish – with more than 2,000 pharmacists active across the program’s 24 specialty streams and an additional 140 applications flowing in each month – SHPA members have welcomed the centralised support for workforce development and recognition.
‘As evident in our member-access one year report, feedback from our members has been strongly positive with broad recognition of the value of peer-to-peer engagement and access to field leaders.
‘The size, scope and transparency of Specialty Practice has been embraced as pharmacists avoid the risk of “reinventing the wheel” when it comes to patient care and service design and they now have greater opportunity to be acknowledged nationally for their local innovation.’
Ms Michaels says SHPA members have consistently and eagerly engaged with the new model, submitting and responding to over 120 posts per week across three levels of forums via Interest Groups, Practice Groups and Leadership Committees.
‘Members have recognised the value of Specialty Practice as a crucial peer-learning conduit to share service expertise and reduce the sense of professional isolation – particularly when working in rural areas or smaller hospitals with few or no onsite colleagues.
‘We are thrilled to see membership of Specialty Practice streams surge in the past year – this broad uptake is important, giving Specialty Practice the critical mass to truly enable and encourage improved patient care, engagement with policy and advocacy development, professional thought leadership, and opportunities for developing national, evidence-based models of care.’
The volunteer expertise of Specialty Practice members has facilitated the revision and creation of SHPA Standards of Practice and enabled work on materials supporting codeine up-scheduling, with other specialty projects in development.
The booming program received a further boost earlier this year as pharmacists participating and sharing knowledge in forums gained the ability to earn Group 1, 2, and 3 continuing professional development (CPD) credits to help them meet their Pharmacy Board of Australia requirements.
‘Into 2019 and beyond, Specialty Practice will build on its strong foundations and continue to utilise hospital pharmacist expertise to deliver Standards of Practice and guidance publications, curriculum for Advanced Training Residencies and a library of evidence-based policy positions,’ says Ms Michaels.