Advancing pharmacy practice

Director of Pharmacy at Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital Ian Coombes

Director of Pharmacy at Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital Ian Coombes

The increasing importance of the pharmacists’ role in patient care has been recognised with three Metro North Hospital and Health Service pharmacists among the first in Australia to be receive Advanced Practice Pharmacists credentialing.

Director of Pharmacy at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Ian Coombes, RBWH Advanced Level Pre-assessment Clinical Pharmacist Andrew Hale and Advanced Level Cancer Care Pharmacist at The Prince Charles Hospital Geoffrey Grima were credentialed under  the Advanced Practice Pharmacists credentialing pilot program.

The program by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) is a major step forward in the development of a formalised professional development and structured training pathway for pharmacists.

Assoc. Professor Coombes and Mr Grima were evaluated at Stage 3 (credential level) and Dr Hale at Stage 2 (consolidation level) of Advanced Practice.

The inaugural chair of the APC Credentialing Committee, Assoc. Professor Coombes, said the pilot program represents a substantial commitment by the APC to the broader community.

“It is a fantastic foundation for the future of formal professional development and recognition of pharmacists in Australia,” he said.

“Credentialing establishes and recognises a pharmacist’s critical role in the medicine management team, and provides feedback to guide a practitioner’s further development.

“Pharmacy is constantly evolving to meet changing care needs. As pharmacists take on more complex and advanced services, people expect their pharmacist to have relevant skills, expertise and experience.

“Credentialing will also help ensure patient safety through assured professional competence.”

Assoc. Professor Coombes said a key difference between advanced practitioners and general level pharmacists is their increasing contribution to medicine management of our patients, the profession and development of staff and colleagues.

“While refining our own knowledge and skills, often in clearly defined areas of practice, advanced practitioners are also expanding their contributions to areas such as leadership, management, education, training and research,” he said.

“This is a major step towards the strategic development of Metro North’s pharmacy workforce to optimise patient care.”

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