Professional empowerment

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We have brought together all our activity relating to workplace pressure under an umbrella of ‘Professional Empowerment’. Through this work we will provide members with direct help – tools, guidance and information - that will help with pressures that they experience within the workplace. We have a clear mandate to take action to address workplace pressure from the national pharmacy boards’ business plans. This is reinforced by our regular survey of the views of members which shows that ‘excessive workload and work-based stress’ is ranked as the third most important issue for members, after medication safety and the decriminalisation of single dispensing errors. We believe that any area of support that improves the professional aspect of a member’s working life positively affects patient safety and patient experience. We, along with the, Professional Forum of the Pharmaceutical Society Northern Ireland (PSNI) commissioned research  into the impact of the Responsible Pharmacist regulations on pharmacy practice, to help inform future decisions earlier this year

Moving from campaigning on workplace pressure to working towards professional empowerment is more than just a name change. The boards have mandated the organisation to find real and long-term solutions to the unacceptable pressure some pharmacists find themselves under. This work is wide ranging and includes the production of guidance for members and employers on workplace pressure, as well as creating an environment where whistleblowing about public interest issues becomes safe for individuals and encouraged by employers. It is also placed within the context of what a professional body should be addressing in this arena and what is the province of employers, trade bodies, unions, regulators and government. Understanding that these organisations are autonomous, the Society is influencing the thinking of these organisations through dialogue and lobbying so that they create an environment where pharmacists are able to do the best that they can for patients. Our aim is to ensure that members feel supported by the Society in matters of workplace pressure, through enhancement of their sense of professionalism and by influencing the environment in which they work.

Moving from a blame to a just culture

The Society has learned from the RP impact research that the fear of reprisal and blame by many pharmacists is high. Our response was been to gather together unions employers, government, regulators, and pharmacy organisations to see what they can contribute to make this change. We will be asking them to feed back their activity later in the year.