This glossary defines commonly used words and phrases associated with professional development and the RPS Faculty. We will continue to update the glossary in response to member feedback and in line with future development of the Faculty.


RPS accreditation involves the assessment of effectiveness of educational, training, research, management and leadership professional development resources through review of content, materials, methods of delivery and assessments by RPS accreditation reviewers. RPS accredited materials include a model for structured reflection on knowledge, skills and experience and learning that contributes towards individual pharmacist’s professional development.

See also Endorsement

Advanced & Consultant Level Framework (ACLF) The ACLF was developed by the Competency Development and Evaluation Group (CoDEG) in 2004. Since then, the ACLF has been extensively validated across pharmacy, at all levels of practice, and principally in hospital, community and primary care sectors. The original ACLF underpinned the Department of Health (England) guidance for NHS Consultant pharmacists and those pharmacists with special interests. The new APF will prove useful for advanced roles across pharmacy, across Great Britain and across healthcare. It now forms the basis for the RPS APF.

See also Advanced Pharmacy Framework
Advanced Pharmacy Framework
The APF builds on the widely used Advanced to Consultant Level Framework (the ACLF), to ensure it is applicable to all sectors and specialisms across pharmacy in GB. The evidence supports its use across the profession, and more widely, for the development of both advanced and specialist practice, applicable to all who work in pharmacy. The APF has been developed to ensure applicability across sectors, specialities and for both patient facing and non-patient facing roles. The new RPS APF is available to all practitioners wanting to advance their practice in all sectors. The APF is intended for use once early or foundation years have been completed. It forms a useful supportive framework to gather evidence of advancement across the core competencies. The APF has six generic clusters that are important in developing advanced levels of practice that are applicable across all sectors.

These are:
• Expert Professional Practice (EPP)
• Collaborative Working Relationships (CWR)
• Leadership (L)
• Management (M)
• Education, Training and Development (ET&D)
• Research and Evaluation (R&E)

The six generic clusters describe a total of 34 competencies across three stages of practice (Advanced Stage I, Advanced Stage II and Mastery).
Advanced Practice Portfolio (APP) The RPS Advanced Practice Portfolio is a web based tool, based on the APF and available exclusively to RPS eligible members, which enables you to record your professional development and map it against the APF so that you can submit this as part of the RPS Faculty assessment process.
Advanced Stage I The first Stage of the APF; a pharmacist at either early stages of specialisation, advancement, OR established in a role, performing well, advanced beyond foundation years.

See also Advanced stage II, Mastery
Advanced Stage II
The second Stage of the APF; An expert in an area of practice, experienced. Routinely manage complex situations and recognised as a leader locally/regionally.

See also Advanced stage I, Mastery
Post-nominals are awarded by the Faculty Credentialing Panel following an assessment of the skills, knowledge and experiences of the practitioner. The assessment comprises of three elements:

• Portfolio review (using the APP)
• Peer assessment or review (using the Multiple Source  Feedback (MSF) tools)
• Expert practice assessment.

There is no restriction on the number of times or how frequently an assessment can be requested.The assessment can be used not only for credentialing but also as a developmental tool to identify areas which need evidence of additional knowledge, skills and experience. Each new assessment is valid for five years.

See separate Assessment guide on the RPS website for more details on the range of assessments and more detail on the processes (available end June 2013).
Assessment boards See separate Assessment guide on the RPS website for more details on the range of assessments and more detail on the processes (available end June 2013).
Building Working Relationships (BWR) One of the original 6 clusters of advanced practice covered by the APF; now known as Collaborative Working Relationships.

See also Collaborative Working Relationships
Capability Extent of a practitioner’s ability; a measure of the ability of a practitioner to achieve his/her professional objectives, especially in relation to an overall mission or task definition.
Career structure/pathway Planned set of differentiated steps, posts or jobs through which one can progress professionally within a specific position or across positions over time.
Cluster The 34 competencies are organised into 6 clusters to form the APF. The 6 clusters are, Collaborative Working Relationships (previously called Building Working Relationships in the ACLF), Leadership, Management, Education, Training & Development and Research & Evaluation.
Collaborative Working Relationships (CWR) One of the 6 clusters of advanced practice covered by the APF. This cluster covers the competencies that demonstrate good communication, teamwork and consultation.

Collaborative working relationships are an essential part of being a pharmacist: communicating effectively with patients and colleagues.
CoDEG The Competency Development and Evaluation Group (CoDEG) is a collaborative network of specialist and academic pharmacists, developers, researchers and practitioners. Its aim is to undertake research and evaluation in order to help develop and support pharmacy practitioners and ensure their fitness to practice at all levels. It works widely within the managed sector, community practice, across Europe and Internationally.


Full repertoire of competencies, developed beyond day 1 practice.

See also Competencies

Competencies Knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes that an individual accumulates, develops, and acquires through education, training, and work experience.
Consultant Pharmacist A pharmacist who has advanced roles in patient care, research and education in a specific medical speciality or expert area of practice.

The Department of Health for England produced guidance in 2005 which described the role of the Consultant Pharmacist. Consultant pharmacist posts have been created to provide a dynamic link between clinical practice and service development to support new models for delivering patient care. These are also established in Northern Ireland and are being established in Wales. The RPS hosts the Consultant Pharmacists Group.
Continuing Education
A structured process of education designed or intended to support the continuous development of pharmacists to maintain and enhance their professional competence.
Continuing Professional Development
Continuing professional development (CPD) for pharmacists is a statutory process of lifelong learning and development which helps to demonstrate that they are competent and safe to practice. The General Pharmaceutical Council’s CPD framework is based on a cyclical process of reflection, planning, action and evaluation.

See also Professional Development
Credentialing The awarding of postnominals as credentials against evidence of progression, advancement and attainment.

See Professional recognition
Credentialing Panel The Credentialing Panel will award the post-nominals after ratifying the outcome of the assessment from the assessment board.
Curricula see Professional Curricula
Education, Training & Development (ET&D) One of the 6 clusters of advanced practice covered by the APF.
Endorsement RPS endorsement is a recognition of educational resources and events relating to the pharmacy profession and/or patient care and the recognition of education, training and development, research, management and leadership resources and established training/assessment centres provided by RPS partners, other professional bodies, healthcare organisations and pharmacy stakeholders.

See also Accreditation
(for Faculty resources)
RPS members* who have completed a minimum of two years of post registration practice are able to access the Faculty resources by completing a statement of eligibility. RPS members will then be able to access the Faculty support tools (Advanced Practice Portfolio, frameworks, professional curricula etc.) and begin their journey to professional recognition and the award of post-nominals.

* The Faculty is not available to overseas members during the initial launch phase but forms part of future plans.
Evidence-Based practice ‘The conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.’
                                                      (Sackett D, 1996)
Expert Professional Practice (EPP) One of the 6 clusters of advanced practice covered by the APF.
Facilitator One who encourages self-directed learning and establishes a collaborative relationship where the learner(s) are responsible for learning.

Provides a structure for learning and creates an open and trusting environment.
Faculty The Faculty provides support, networks, access to experts and mentors across all sectors, and at all stages of your professional career, alongside opportunities to develop professionally, to build a portfolio of transferable knowledge and skills that is widely recognised. The RPS manages and leads the Faculty, providing governance to ensure quality and consistency across all sectors and at all levels.
Faculty Member RPS member who has successfully completed the Faculty assessment process and been awarded entry to the Faculty and Faculty post-nominals.
Faculty Fellow Faculty Fellow is the highest credentialed Faculty membership stage
It is distinct from RPS fellowship; which is a recognition by other Fellows of your contribution to the profession.
Foundation Training Early years training and development undertaken by pharmacists in the first couple of years after they qualify. Training and assessment is against specific competencies set out in the General Level Framework (GLF) and other frameworks across GB, it is often undertaken within a Diploma in Pharmacy Practice or similar workbased training.
Formal Education Education provided through an accredited institution leading to a recognised award such as a diploma or degree.
General Level Framework
The GLF is a development and support framework for pharmacists in their early years of practice or for use in routine performance management.
It was developed by the Competency Development and Evaluation Group (CoDEG) in 2004 and has been extensively piloted and validated in different specialties of pharmacy, at all levels of practice, and in hospital, community and primary care sectors.

There is an extensive bibliography available at
Governance The values, behaviours and the structures and processes that need to be in place to enable the board of an organisation to discharge its responsibilities all the way down to the individual.

Includes where applicable Clinical Governance, Research Governance, Corporate governance.
Health Education England
A Special Health Authority responsible for the education, training and personal development of healthcare staff. HEE ensures the workforce has the right skills, behaviours and training, and is available in the right numbers, to support the delivery of excellent healthcare and drive improvements.
Higher Level A greater level of organisational complexity than that of the pharmacist’s team.
Incident The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) defines a patient safety incident as ‘any unintended or unexpected incident which could have or did lead to harm for one or more patients. Medication incidents include: Medication errors, Potential harms from medicines (near misses) and Harms from medicines: (NPSA)

In non- clinical areas an ‘adverse incident’ may be defined as any event, circumstance, activity or action which has caused, or has been identified as potentially causing harm, loss or damage to personnel, assets, reputation, or other organisational resources e.g. intellectual property.

A variety of skills and knowledge are required in managing and resolving adverse events and incidents and the challenges of such may provide developmental learning.
Intervention An action taken by a pharmacist to prevent possible harm to a patient in the medication use process, this may be at the prescribing, dispensing or administration stage.
Leadership One of the 6 clusters of advanced practice covered by the APF.
Management One of the 6 clusters of advanced practice covered by the APF.
Mapping evidence Evidence should be mapped against the competencies of the APF, i.e. a single piece of evidence may provide evidence for several competencies across the 6 clusters. The APP is used to map or link a piece of evidence across all the relevant competencies.
Mastery The highest stage of the APF; Aligned to recognised leader in community or primary care; Consultant and corporate level practice in NHS; equivalent leads in academia; business / corporate leadership roles in industry; business or strategic leader in community or primary care.

A nationally recognised leader in an area of expertise (often internationally) alongside a demonstrable breadth of experience and expertise.

See also Advanced stage I, Advanced stage II
Mentor A mentor supports and encourages another to manage their own development in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the professional they want to be.

Ideally a mentor should not be the manager or educational tutor due to potential conflict of interest.
Modernising pharmacy careers (MPC) Modernising Pharmacy Careers (MPC) is a programme to ensure the pharmacy workforce has the knowledge, skills and capacity to deliver the services of the future for patients and the public. The program includes career pathways for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and dispensing assistants. The MPC Programme Board provides advice to Health Education England (HEE) and the Department of Health (DH), on pharmacy education, training and national workforce planning.
Patient focussed Roles that require a pharmacy professional to either provide pharmaceutical care directly to patients or to be directly responsible for delivering a pharmaceutical service to patients.

Patient fopcussed cover roles that are both patient facing and non-patient facing, but where the focs of the role is the patient. This term can cover roles across all sectors.
Peer Assessment This is normally in the format of a questionnaire, to gather feedback from a range of co-workers. Peers might include supervising pharmacists, senior medical and nursing colleagues, team members or support workforce, fellow academics, scientists, primary care colleagues, researchers, mangers, directors or peers.

Peer assessment or review is often described as Multiple Source Feedback (MSF), defined as a process by which multiple individuals, representing discrete informant groups, provide feedback to you. The concept is based on the premise that pharmacists' roles in multidisciplinary teams are fundamental and central to the provision of good patient care or service delivery. MSF assumes that pharmacists can be individually assessed in a meaningful way across a number of competencies by a multidisciplinary team across all sectors of practice.
Peer Review Expert opinion is sought to undertake a review of published work(s) in the pharmacist’s area of practice.

(n.b. different meaning to the ‘peer assessment or review’ used in Faculty assessment (see Peer Assessment).
Peer Supporters An individual or group of like minded colleagues that are working at a similar stage of practice to you either in the same or different area or organisation. Informal conversations with these individuals can prompt reflection, allow the sharing of development opportunities, solve problems and also provide reassurance.

A peer supporter may be similar to a mentor; however a mentor is usually at a more advanced stage of practice than the mentee. A peer supporter may not have all the attributes you aspire to but a network of peers will allow you to draw from a range of strengths.
Performance An effective and persistent observable behaviour. What an individual actually does as opposed to what they can do.
Performance management Process of optimising productivity and quality of work of the workforce.
Professional (or Personal) Development Plan (PDP) A structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development. Developing a PDP is often part of a regular appraisal process, in order to identify the resources a manager needs to make available to an employee in order that they can perform their role and develop appropriately.
Pharmaceutical care ‘Pharmaceutical care is the direct, responsible provision of medication-related care for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient’s quality of life.’
(Hepler & Strand).

Pharmaceutical care should underpin the delivery of medicines optimisation; ensuring health gain from medicines are maximised and harms minimised. This is achieved through enhanced engagement with patients and the public, understanding their experience and breaking down barriers between professions.
Pharmacist with a Special Interest (PhWSI) A Pharmacist with a Special Interest supplements their core generalist role by delivering an additional, high-quality service to meet the needs of patients. Working principally in the community, they deliver a clinical service beyond the scope of their core professional role or may undertake advanced interventions not normally undertaken by their peers. They will have demonstrated appropriate skills and competencies to deliver those services without direct supervision. The role of the PhWSI was defined by the DH for England in 2006.
Portfolio A collection of evidence of learning, experiences & achievement that demonstrates current knowledge, skills & professional development. Evidence of application of knowledge and skills in practice is key in demonstrating competence and stage of practice. For the Faculty portfolio evidence should map against the APF.

A portfolio could include details of courses and training (including on the job training), professional development activities (including attending meetings, conferences and events), case studies, publications, awards, feedback from managers, colleagues and service users (including patients), self assessments, CPD records etc.
Portfolio Review A portfolio review is based on the APF. Evidence should be gathered in a portfolio, which demonstrates your competence to practice pharmacy at an advanced stage. The portfolio will contain a number of elements.

A portfolio review may also comprise of an oral assessment with an expert panel; a face to face oral (often called a “viva voce”) assessment by a quality assured panel of RPS assessors drawn from similar fields, scope of practice or stage.
Post Nominals Letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a qualification, position, office, or honour, e.g. MRPharmS or BPharm or OBE.
Following submission for a Faculty assessment and once the outcome of the assessment has been ratified by the Credentialing Panel you may then be awarded Faculty post-nominals. The Faculty post-nominals are: MIFRPS (Stage I Faculty Member), MIIFRPS (Stage II Faculty Member) and Faculty Fellow (FFRPS)
Professional curricula A professional curriculum encompasses the purpose, knowledge, evaluations, skills and experiences needed to define subject specific practice in any particular area.

The Faculty professional curricula bring together core and expert practice curricula for advanced level of pharmacy practice across various sectors. Collectively, they set the knowledge, skills, experience and behaviours required to progress and advance, and together with the APP, enable you to gather necessary evidence to demonstrate your stage of expertise as a generalist or specialist whatever your role. The professional curricula also support you in identifying development needs and perhaps plan your progression within the Faculty or to retain excellence at the stage you are at.

Many specialist curricula have ‘core’ content which is common to other specialisms (so called “subject (critical) adjacencies”), which highlights the ability of advanced practitioners to work in different therapeutic areas without having to re-train “from scratch” within a new specialism.

The APF is used as a framework to build particular curricula and provide a means to identify the different knowledge, skills and experiences required at advancing levels of practice and in different competency areas. This allows practitioners to easily identify what is required to advance in their area of practice.

The APF provides a framework for evidence gathering to show or support practice development for a practitioner; the professional curriculum will define the ‘syllabus’ or subject knowledge that underpins practice performance.
Professional development Professional development refers to skills and knowledge attained for development and advancement in your career, role or professional duties.

Continuing professional development (CPD) for pharmacists is a statutory process to demonstrate competence and safety to practice. The General Pharmaceutical Council’s CPD framework is based on a cyclical process of reflection, planning, action and evaluation.

See also CPD
Professional recognition Professional recognition involves formal acknowledgement of professional development and advancement in the scope of professional practice. This is a quality assured process conducted through professional peer review, and is not connected with a regulatory function. Many professions have established methods to recognise advanced competencies (knowledge, skills and experiences) set against career pathways, where career progression is aligned with the ability to deal safely with increasingly complex patients and situations in a safe and appropriate way. There are four main elements required for formalised professional recognition:

• Access to the knowledge, skills, experiences and behaviours needed for careers advancement (i.e. frameworks)
• Professional curricula
• Access to high quality accredited or endorsed educational, training, research, management and leadership resources
• Credentialing of an individual’s attainment i.e. awarding of post-nominals
Research & Evaluation
One of the 6 clusters of advanced practice covered by the APF.

Research and evaluation includes audit, service evaluation, literature review, and research (including survey); see link attached for further info and explanation:
Revalidation Revalidation is the process by which licensed professionals are required to demonstrate on a regular basis that they are up to date and fit to practise. Revalidation aims to give extra confidence to patients that their healthcare professional is being regularly checked by their employer and regulator. Some healthcare professionals in the UK are already required to revalidate on a regular basis (e.g. Drs) and it is likely that pharmacists will be required to revalidate in the future.
Sector of practice Sub-sectors of pharmaceutical services (areas of practice), e.g. community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, pharmaceutical industry, academia, primary care pharmacy, commercial sectors.
Service The service the pharmacist is directly involved in providing whether direct to patients or otherwise.
Team A team is a group of professionals working together and mutually accountable for the delivery of a common purpose or goal.

Within the context of the framework “team” refers to the group (pharmacy or multidisciplinary) with which the pharmacist works most closely and regularly.

See also Higher Level
Testimonial A written declaration certifying to a person's character, conduct; a letter or written statement of recommendation.