Wales

Thinking about a move into pharmacy education?

by Helen Davies, Primary Care Team Leader for Education, Training and Workforce Development

I’ve always had a passion for pharmacy education and training, having been inspired by prominent leaders in pharmacy throughout Wales. As a result, I have embraced all opportunities to get involved in education and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. For anyone thinking about a new role in pharmacy education, I would strongly encourage it. The range of roles is vast and if my career is anything to go by, you can get involved very quickly in tutoring pre-registration pharmacists, diploma pharmacists and teaching independent prescribers.

My journey

My leap of faith into pharmacy education started in 2015, when I secured a secondment as acting Associate Course Director for the MSc in Clinical Pharmacy at Cardiff. This role gave me the impetus, as well as the confidence, to start as primary care strategic lead for pharmacy education and training in Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board (CTM UHB) in 2019. I’m grateful to be part of such a progressive education and training team, where primary care has been included in training pathways such as foundation training for some time, as well as the delivery of multi-sector pre-registration foundation training models in collaboration with Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW).

Since being in the post, I organise regular peer review sessions for our advanced primary care pharmacists to provide necessary support and development. For those primary care staff in post that have not had previous training in the sector, we have been fortunate to benefit from HEIW’s ‘GP pharmacist transition programme’, led by one of our CTM UHB primary care team leaders, Kate Spittle.

Working across teams

I reserve some of my time for clinical practice, to ensure I understand the challenges faced by our team at the coalface, as this informs my strategy for maintaining and developing a highly specialised primary care pharmacy workforce. My background as a clinical lead pharmacist at Royal Glamorgan Hospital reflects my love of clinical pharmacy which I still have.

In between training, workforce planning strategy and clinical commitments, I’m the pharmacy lead for multi-disciplinary teams that has been rolled-out after a successful pilot.  Advanced primary care pharmacists and technicians are an integral part of this team and further support multidisciplinary models for patient care. To that end, we recognise the need for multidisciplinary training and interprofessional education to meet the needs of our complex population.  As part of this, we are delivering ‘medicines management’ training days to GP trainees and fortunate enough to receive input from our pain, mental health and antimicrobial lead primary care pharmacists. I fully welcome the RPS work encouraging multi=disciplinary teams working in GP practices, published this year.

I’m now excited to begin working with industry partners, AlphaTangoDelta Ltd on a role-play training app. This ‘proof of concept’ project, supported by the Bevan Commission, the Pharmacy Delivery a healthier Wales board, HEIW and the Cwm Taf Morgannwg innovation team, aims to facilitate the development of a competent primary care pharmacy workforce and to be a platform for training all NHS staff.  The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of remote methods of training for the future.  

Pharmacy education and training leaders play a vital role in the future of our workforce and feel privileged to have played an instrumental role in managing and protecting our future workforce throughout this pandemic. I would encourage pharmacists to recognise the impact they can have in the education and training sector.

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