How you can thrive as a new independent prescriber
Becoming an independent prescriber (IP) can advance your community pharmacy career but whether it does or not is up to you, say Faheem Ahmed and Dr Lizzie Mills
In the dynamic field of healthcare, professionals are continually seeking to enhance their skills and broaden their scope of practice.
A recent social media post by an anonymous healthcare professional (HCP) provides a glimpse into this journey. The professional announced that their independent prescribing application had been approved, marking a significant milestone in their career. This new role, which allows them to prescribe medications independently, is a testament to their competence and dedication to their profession.
The professional's anticipation and excitement are palpable as they prepare to write their first prescription. This mix of emotions is common among professionals stepping into new roles, especially those that carry such immense responsibility. However, their enthusiasm indicates their readiness to embrace this new challenge and their commitment to providing the best possible care for their patients.
In their post, the professional also reaches out to other IPs, seeking advice and tips for someone new to the role. This proactive approach to learning and adapting to their new role demonstrates their humility and eagerness to learn. It also underscores the importance of community and shared knowledge in the healthcare profession.
The transition to becoming an IP is a significant one. It requires extensive knowledge, clinical judgment, and the ability to make critical decisions. The approval of the professional's application signifies their readiness to take on this responsibility. This aligns with the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) learning outcomes for IPs particularly those related to the development of a practitioner who is reflective and committed to continuous learning and professional development.
The professional's call for advice from fellow IPs underscores the importance of continuous learning in healthcare. This aligns with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) framework for IPs, which emphasises the importance of collaboration and learning from others. The RPS framework encourages IPs to engage with their professional community, share experiences, and learn from each other.
The following tips provide a roadmap for success in this new role and align with the GPhC's learning outcomes and the RPS framework.
Medicine is a rapidly evolving field. Regularly updating knowledge and skills is crucial to providing the best patient care. This aligns with the GPhC's emphasis on maintaining and improving professional performance and the RPS's domain of professional competence.
Prioritising the needs and preferences of patients ensures that the care provided aligns with their lifestyle, beliefs, and values. This aligns with the GPhC's focus on providing patient-centred care and the RPS's domain of person-centred care.
Clear communication with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals (HCPs) is essential in healthcare. This aligns with the GPhC's outcome related to communication, partnership, and teamwork and the RPS's domain of collaboration.
Double-checking prescriptions for potential errors and being aware of common pitfalls can help prevent adverse drug events.
Considering drug interactions
Checking for potential drug-drug and drug-food interactions before prescribing can prevent harmful effects. This is part of the GPhC's outcome related to safe and effective practice and the RPS's domain of professional knowledge.
Regular monitoring and review
Regularly reviewing a patient's progress and the effectiveness of their medication ensures that the treatment plan is working and can be adjusted, as necessary. This aligns with the GPhC's outcome related to monitoring therapy and the RPS's domain of professional practice.
Good documentation ensures continuity of care and can be crucial in case of any legal issues. This aligns with the GPhC's outcome related to record-keeping and the RPS's domain of professional practice.
Effective workload management
Managing time effectively and not overcommitting can prevent burnout and ensure that each patient receives the attention they deserve.
Networking with colleagues
Building a strong professional network can provide support and opportunities for learning. This aligns with the GPhC's outcomes related to communication, partnership, and teamwork and the RPS's domain of collaboration.
Reflecting on practice
Regular self-reflection can help identify areas for improvement and enhance prescribing practice. This aligns with the GPhC's emphasis on maintaining and improving professional performance and the RPS's domain of professional competence.
In conclusion, the anonymous professional's post reflects their journey, their eagerness to learn, and the supportive community within the healthcare profession.
As they step into their new role as an IP, they are poised to continue growing and making significant contributions to their field. Their approach aligns well with the GPhC learning outcomes and the RPS framework, demonstrating their commitment to upholding the relevant professional standards.
Faheem Ahmed is CEO of Medlrn
Dr Lizzie Mills is associate professor, practice and policy at UCL School of Pharmacy
Want to learn more about the IP route? Listen to this podcast, where Medlrn CEO Faheem Ahmed talks to C+D’s clinical and custom content editor Nana Ofori-Atta about the challenges and benefits of completing an IP qualification and the opportunities available.