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Making the most of the IP course

The independent prescriber course is intense, asking for support and choosing a field of study you enjoy and have an interest in is fundamental to success. 

For the many pharmacists who are coming to the end of their independent prescriber course, or who have recently started it, all will agree that IP is an intense course.

One of the biggest challenges is finding a designated prescribing practitioner (DPP). For community pharmacists, approaching your local GP surgeries is a good place to start by emailing or ringing them like I did. I also recommend getting in touch with GP practice pharmacists.


Scope of practice


My scope of practice was in acne and rosacea. I chose this because of my interest in dermatology and skin health. I really enjoyed exploring this clinical area however, in hindsight, I feel I created too much work for myself. It would have been easier for me to have only focused on acne, for example. Therefore, it’s important to not be overly ambitious for this course. Remember, you can expand your scope when you complete the course and start practising as an independent prescriber.


Maximise what the course offers


I highly recommend taking advantage of the time and resources available to you during the course. This requires effective organisation and planning. I found it very helpful creating my own timetable for the six months and blocking in when I will be spending time with my DPP for example.

Read more: What's it like to complete an independent prescribing course?

I also made time to experience my clinical area in a different care setting, in a hospital. I was fortunate enough to see how a hospital acne clinic runs and meet patients at different stages of treatment. I would really advise spending time in the opposite care setting to your DPP where possible.


When to seek support


Sometimes things may not go as planned and you may experience unexpected circumstances which may prevent you from meeting course deadlines. Speak to the course director or your tutor to check what support is available and if you can apply for a deadline extension.

Similarly, if you don’t pass your Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) first time you will have an opportunity to re-sit the exams. Thinking ahead of time is important so you know how to apply for extenuating circumstances and when to seek support before it’s too late.

Read more: How you can thrive as a new independent prescriber

Ultimately, it is all worth it. I am proud of all my hard work, and so thankful to the course directors and team. I am also grateful for the support of my personal tutor, DPP and GP practice where I trained.

I look forward to putting my learning into practice and the benefits my IP will bring to my service users. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about IP on my IG @ayahtalkspharmacy.


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