Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Peer Discussion day has arrived

Blog by Chris John, HEad of Workforce Policy and Projects at the RPS

The moment has arrived.  RX and I are sitting opposite one another in the Bell Room at RPS HQ.  Messrs Squire and Hills, grandees from pharmacy history looking down at us from the wall and behind us the artefacts of the museum (I’m hoping there isn’t a thumbscrew in the museum and that this is going to be a free flowing discussion).

Previously in this blog I’ve discussed the what, who and where and it’s now time for the how.  RX and I have set aside enough time for each of us to do our Peer Discussion.  We set this up via an Outlook Calendar invite so we have an aide memoir should either of us be contacted by the General Pharmaceutical Council to make sure it actually took place.

We decide I will go first.  RX has the RPS Peer prompt sheet to hand (she reminds me a little of a barrister from my jury service).  Neither of us want to make any assumptions so we agree what the next 1 hour is about – a discussion that enables me to reflect on my learning and think about ways of improving my practice.

Here goes.  I begin by checking again with RX if she is still happy for me to put her contact details on my Peer Discussion record and that she may be asked by the General Pharmaceutical Council at a future date, that we undertook the Peer Discussion (but only if I am called for review.)  RX says yes.

I explain a role I have – that I am one of only two pharmacists amongst a plethora of medics, nurses, healthcare scientists and allied health professionals on an advisory education panel.  I describe to RX that the work I do is about assessing the effectiveness of undergraduate education by analysing metrics and written submissions from universities.  We explore whether I have learnt everything I need to in order to be an effective panel member.  I feel that I am talking honestly and openly – RX is asking some cracking questions that are really helping me to reflect such as ‘how do I know I am up-to-date with latest practice in the area?’  This makes me describe what I know and what my learning gaps are.  RX also asks me what the other panel members (my service users in this instance) think about my input to the panel.  Another good question – I have had some useful feedback from the Chair but I can also ask my other service users what they think.  We are finished in 45 minutes and then swap roles with me acting as RX’s Peer (this takes a further 45 minutes).

I am very pleased with how my Peer Discussion has gone (we didn’t need to resort to using any artefacts from the museum).  I have some clear actions and I can begin writing it up.  In a way this is only the beginning.  I have to address my learning gaps and then write up what I have learnt so I can describe the outcomes for the benefit of my service users.  I take another look at the paintings of Mr Peter Squire (three time president of the RPS and pharmacist to Queen Victoria and Thomas Hyde Mills (another former president) and wonder what they would have talked about in their Peer Discussion….

Check-in next time to see how I have written up my actual record.

If you would like more information about Peer Discussion – take a look at our online Peer Discussion Tutorial.


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