Pharmacist Independent Prescribing - Practice Certificate

The Pharmacist Independent Prescribing Practice Certificate is a 45 credit level 7 General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) accredited qualification delivered by Aston University, Birmingham. Taught predominantly online, this programme will enable you to evaluate and challenge prescribing practice with reference to evidence based practice, equality and diversity and clinical governance.

 

Course type

Part-time / distance learning

Course format

No placements

Duration

6 months

UCAS code(s)

n/a

Start date

Key information and fees

This 45 credit Pharmacist Independent Prescribing Practice Certificate (6 months) can be completed by itself, or in conjunction with a 15 credit standalone module, like the Prescribing in Acute and Emergency Medicine (3 months) module in order to graduate with a full Clinically Enhanced Independent Prescribing PgCert (9 months).

Start date: March and October

Intake: Up to 25 students 

Mode of delivery: Part time. Delivered mainly via online distance learning with five mandatory attendance days on campus at Aston (9-5pm). In addition, 12 days (90 hours) in-practice learning requirement with student’s Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP).

Applications: To apply for this course, you will need to register for an application pack. We will then send you an email with more details on how you can provide information and evidence of how you meet the entry requirements, your Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP), line manager, and Non-Medical Prescribing lead (if applicable, and how you meet the entry requirements for the prescribing module. 

Fees:

£2,475. For fee details of the other qualifications which form part of this suite of courses, please see the individual course page links above.

Scholarships:If you are a West Midlands pharmacist you are able to apply to Health Education England (HEE) for possible funding for this course, as the course fully meets their curriculum requirements.   

Key Dates:

You will need to attend all five face-to-face as listed below, you must also be available for one assessment day. Weekly work is provided online via the University Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and progression will be monitored by the programme team. Pre-programme work and online interactive discussion board work is also required.

Face-to-face days: Will take place between October and February and March to August. Exact dates to be confirmed. Usually week 2, 5, 8, 14 and 18 of the programme. Please note the focus of these days are clinical skills and students will be required to participate in examination skills practice. Please note these days may be subject to change due to COVID19.

Assessment dates: will take place between February/March and July/August. Exact dates to be confirmed. Continuous assessment dates will also be included throughout the programme.

Entry Requirements

We welcome applications from candidates interested in our course who have the skills and capability to excel. All candidates are considered on an individual basis based on their qualifications and experience.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. If you hold an alternative qualification, you may wish to enquire with our admissions team prior to application whether or not your qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications, this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the programme director.

All applicants must have:

Employment 

  • Registered pharmacist with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) employed in a patient-facing role, and be of good standing with your regulatory body.
  • Have written approval from your employer/line manager and Non-Medical Prescribing lead (if applicable) supporting your study.

Experience 

  • At least two years appropriate patient-orientated experience practising in a hospital, community or primary care setting following your pre-registration year.
  • Identify an area of clinical practice in which to develop your prescribing skills.
  • Have up-to-date clinical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical knowledge relevant to your intended area of prescribing practice.
  • Demonstrate that you reflect on your own performance and take responsibility for your own CPD.

Supervision

  • Have a Designated Prescribing Practitioner (DPP) who has agreed to supervise the in-practice learning element. Applicant’s DPP must be a registered healthcare professional in Great Britain or Northern Ireland with legal independent prescribing rights, who is suitably experienced and qualified to carry out this supervisory role, and who has demonstrated CPD or revalidation relevant to this role. Although an applicant may be supervised by more than one person, only one prescriber must be the DPP. The DPP is the person who will certify that successful pharmacists are competent to practice as independent prescribers. Please see further information below on DPP pre-requisites when considering who to approach to supervise your in-practice learning. Information for potential DPPs is also supplied below.   

Desirable

  • A relevant postgraduate clinical diploma (or equivalent).

Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

Successful candidates will qualify to apply for an annotation on the GPhC register as an Independent Prescriber (however please note that successful completion of this course is not a guarantee of annotation or of future employment as a pharmacist independent prescriber). Find out more about the GPhC’s accreditation reports and the timescales for future accreditations

In addition, this course is approved by Health Education England. 

The prescribing programme expects demonstration of Fitness for Professional Practise, accountability and acting in a professional manner. The programme is covered by the University Fitness for Practice policy and any concerns raised by DPPs, students or practice environments will be managed via the robust University procedure and may result result in referral to the GPhC for investigation.

Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPP) at Aston

At Aston we are keen to promote to use of Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPP) and encourage those from non-medical professions to act in the role for our students. Regulatory changes in 2019 meant that experienced non-medical prescribers of any professional background can become responsible for a trainee prescriber's period of in practice learning in a similar way to Designated Medical Practitioners (DMP).

For pharmacist independent prescriber trainees at Aston, the DPP role can be carried out by a registered independent prescriber or medical practitioner who is able to meet the criteria and who is able to demonstrate competence in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) DPP competency framework (see link below). We expect many students may still wish to use a medical practitioner as their DPP, however we expect the transition to non-medical staff in the coming few years and will be here to support all suitably qualified DPPs in the role.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society have produced a key document with guidance to include the roles of all for those responsible for assessment of practice outcomes and confirmation of competency. We suggest all potential DPPs utilise the framework to self-assess their experience and eligibility. You can find out more about the Designated Prescribing Practitioner Competency Framework on the Royal Pharmaceutical Society website

The below information provides you with an overview of the DPP role and elegibility requirements, should you have any questions, please contact Dr Eloise Phillips, Programme Director at e.phillips2@aston.ac.uk

The role and support

“To oversee, support and assess the competence of non-medical prescribing trainees, in collaboration with academic and workplace partners, during the period of learning in practice”

Key tasks include: facilitating learning opportunities, assessing, action planning, student development, formative assessment, review meetings, final sign off.

We value the input of all healthcare professionals in order to help our students succeed and excel; therefore we offer DPP training to ensure you feel prepared to carry out your role. You will be supported throughout the programme, we offer individual mentoring if required, and feedback to assist your development within the role for your continuing professional development. 

DPP welcome training events will be held throughout the year and at variable times and subsequent updates may be conducted online. If you have more than five members of staff in your organisation acting as DPPs for Aston students, we will arrange to come to your clinical site to deliver the training at a mutually convenient time. 

Future DPP welcome events dates and venues: TBC.


 
Prerequisites

In order to meet the criteria, set by the GPhC and Aston University, DPPs must have:

  • Active prescribing competence applicable to the area in which they will be supervising 3 years recent prescribing experience.
  • Appropriate patient facing clinical and diagnostic skills Supported and supervised other healthcare professionals.
  • Have the ability assess patient facing clinical and diagnostic skills.
  • Ability to demonstrate they meet all the competencies within the RPS competence framework for prescribers.
  • Not take on more than two trainee prescribing trainee prescribing trainee prescribing students at any one time.
  • Support from their organisation to act in the role of the DPP Completed or be willing to complete DPP welcome event training and Equality and Diversity training. 

 
Self-assessment

The below information can be used as a self-assessment guide for those interested in taking on the DPP role. 

Personal characteristics:

Recognises the value and responsibility of  the DPP role. Demonstrates clinical leadership through their practice.

 

Professional skills and knowledge:

Works in line with legal, regulatory, professional and organisational standards. Is an experienced prescriber* in a patient-facing role. Is an active prescriber** in a patient facing role, with appropriate knowledge and experience relevant to the trainee's area of clinical practice. Has up-to-date patient-facing, clinical and diagnostic skills and evidence of demonstrating competence in an area of practice relevant to the trainee. Has knowledge of the scope and legal remit of non-medical prescribing for the NMP trainee's profession.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to support trainees.
  • Displays professional integrity, is objective in supervision and/or assessment.
  • Is open, approachable and empathetic.
  • Creates a positive learning culture through their practice. 

    *An experienced prescriber is defined as an active prescriber who would normally have at least 3 years' recent prescribing experience.

    ** An active prescriber consults with patients and makes prescribing decisions based on clinical assessment with sufficient frequency to maintain competence. Reflects and audits prescribing practice to identify developmental needs.


 

Teaching and training skills:

  • Has experience or had training in teaching and/or supervision in practice.
  • Has knowledge, either experiential or through formal training, of different teaching methods to facilitate learning in practice and adapt to individual student needs.
  • Articulates decision making processes and justifies the rationale for decisions when teaching or training others.
  • Has knowledge of a range of methods of assessment and experience of conducting assessment of trainees in clinical practice.
  • Delivers timely and regular constructive feedback.
  • Facilitates learning by encouraging critical thinking and reflection.

Working in partnership:

  • Work with the trainee to establish their baseline knowledge and skills, and jointly create a development plan for meeting learning outcomes.
  • Regularly assess the trainee at appropriate intervals to guide gradual handover of elements of the process that lead to a prescribing a decision.
  • Work in partnership with the trainee, other practitioners and the programme provider to confirm the competence of the trainee.
  • Recognise own limits in capacity, knowledge and skills and areas of practice where other practitioners may be better placed to support learning.
  • Advocate and facilitate a multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach to training by encouraging the trainee to learn from other appropriate practitioners.

Prioritising patient care:

  • Ensure that safe and effective patient care remains central to practice through effective clinical supervision.
  • Ensure patients are informed of and consent to trainee presence at consultations.
  • Identify and respond appropriately to concerns regarding the trainee practice or behaviors.
  • Act in the interest of patient and public safety when making decisions on trainee competence.

Developing the role:

  • Is open to learn and be challenged and uses feedback from trainee and others, to improve their clinical and supervisory practice.
  • Regularly reflects on their role as a DPP and the potential for improvement.
  • Identifies when help is required in DPP role and when, and where, to seek support.
  • Undertakes and records continuing professional development (CPD) encompassing knowledge and skills that are applicable to the DPP role.
  • Negotiates sufficient time to supporting the trainee throughout their period of learning in practice.
  • Encourage an environment that promotes equality, inclusivity and diversity.
  • Create a safe learning culture that encourages participation and open discussion to support learning.

Governance:

  • Acknowledges their role and responsibilities within the wider governance structure, including the programme provider, employing organisation, professional regulator and others.
  • Ensure familiarity with the process of escalating concerns about a trainee, and, where appropriate, engages with this process.
  • Engages with the employing organisation (or equivalent) to ensure support and resources are available to undertake DPP role.

Course outline

This course, which is suitable for all clinical specialties, has been designed to expand your existing knowledge and develop prescribing skills to support effective clinical care of patients in a patient-facing prescribing role. 

Throughout the programme, it is our aim to enable you to:

  • Develop the knowledge, skills and clinical confidence to prepare you as a pharmacist to become a safe independent prescriber, working effectively within a health care team.
  • Recognise, take-responsibility for and demonstrate person-centred care.
  • Recognise, understand, apply and reflect upon professionalism as a prescriber.
  • Apply, manage and utilise professional knowledge and skills commensurate with being an independent prescriber.
  • Work collaboratively with patients and other health care workers, recognise your own role and the role of others, and demonstrate appropriate clinical skills.
  • Understand the role and responsibilities of an independent prescriber.
  • Prescribe safely, appropriately and cost effectively.
  • Use diagnostic aids relevant to the conditions for which you as a pharmacist intend to prescribe, including monitoring response to therapy.
  • Develop effective communication skills and relationships with patients, carers, other prescribers and members of the healthcare team.
  • Describe the pathophysiology of the condition being treated, and recognise the signs and symptoms of illness.
  • Take an accurate medical history and carry out relevant clinical assessments.
  • Utilise knowledge and skills in a critical and systematic manner.

  Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate presenting complaints of patients.
  • Respond to varied clinical situations, multiple pathologies or complex medical needs, guided by consultation and diagnostic methods designed to establish reliable identification of clinical presentations and therapeutic options.

This is a clinical course involving health assessment of patients, therefore, you must be prepared to physically examine patients, models and fellow students.

Learning, teaching, assessment and staff

The contents of this blended learning programme are directed by GPhC guidance. The course follows the consultation process, leading to appropriate prescribing and related patient monitoring.

Learning and teaching methods

As part of the course, you will complete five face-to-face days which are delivered on-campus and focusing on hands-on clinical skills.

The online learning components of the course, are delivered via Blackboard, our virtual learning environment. This includes interactive components, discussion boards and workbooks for peer online learning. You will be provided with a weekly timetable containing details of the online components. 

In addition, you will be required to conduct 90 hours of in-practice learning and complete a reflective portfolio.

Throughout the course, you will receive ongoing academic and personal development support from your own dedicated personal academic tutor.

Assessment methods

We utilise a range of assessment methods including:

  • OSCE plus
  • Clinical Case Presentation: 3, 000 word case study and online presentation.
  • A reflective portfolio of learning
  • DPP sign off: achievement of GPhC learning outcomes
  • Formative assessment includes peer and tutor assessment of clinical skills, written clinical management plan and in-practice case-based assessment with DPP. Ongoing and feedforward appraisal.
Course staff
  • Dr David Terry: Director of the Academic Practice Unit. David has over 30 years’ experience in the NHS and across all main sectors. He is an award winning researcher into advanced clinical roles of pharmacists.
  • Dr Eloise Phillips: Programme Director and a Teaching Fellow in Clinical Practice.
  • Gagandeep Degun: Module Coordinator and Teaching Fellow in Pharmacy.
  • Dr Chi Huynh: Clinical Lecturer, Programme Portfolio lead, and PAT lead.
  • Jaimie Micks: Teacher Practitioner at UHCW NHS Foundation Trust and DPP lead.
  • Professor Raj Gupta: Programme Medical Director and Head of Specialist Clinical Teaching Academy / Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Facilities

As a student at Aston University, you will have access to a range of specialist pharmacy facilities recently refitted as part of £3m upgrade.Facilities include:

  • Teaching and research laboratories
  • Mock 'ward' area
  • Medication supply laboratories
  • Medicines management suite
  • Clinical examination suites
  • Video recording technology 
  • Computer-aided learning and patient simulations
  • An established Virtual Learning Environment for teaching and course-organisation materials and communications, such as lecture notes, presentations and videos.
  • Hard-copy and electronic access to publications, journals and large scientific databases. 

 

Future career prospects

Successful candidates will qualify to apply for an annotation on the GPhC register as an Independent Prescriber. This enhances your practice as a pharmacist and the delivery of care to your patients by enabling you to manage fully patients’ medication as an independent prescriber.

You may also wish to consider the PgCert in Advanced Health Assessment at Aston to further advance your clinical expertise. 

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