Pharmacists' self-perceptions in relation to the ‘Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework’

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Abstract

Background:

The Australian Pharmacy Practice Framework was developed by the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Steering Committee and endorsed by the Pharmacy Board of Australia in October 2012. The Steering Committee conducted a study that found practice portfolios to be the preferred method to assess and credential Advanced Pharmacy Practitioner, which is currently being piloted by the Australian Pharmacy Council. Credentialing is predicted to open to all pharmacists practising in Australia by November 2015.

Objective:

To explore how Australian pharmacists self-perceived being advanced in practice and how they related their level of practice to the Australian Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework.

Method:

This was an explorative, cross-sectional study with mixed methods analysis. Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework, a review of the recent explorative study on Advanced Practice conducted by the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework Steering Committee and semi-structured interviews (n = 10) were utilized to create, refine and pilot the questionnaire. The questionnaire was advertised across pharmacy-organizational websites via a purposive sampling method. The target population were pharmacists currently registered in Australia.

Results:

Seventy-two participants responded to the questionnaire. The participants were mostly female (56.9%) and in the 30–40 age group (26.4%). The pharmacists self-perceived their levels of practice as either entry, transition, consolidation or advanced, with the majority selecting the consolidation level (38.9%). Although nearly half (43.1%) of the participants had not seen the Framework beforehand, they defined Advanced Pharmacy Practice similarly to the definition outlined in the Framework, but also added specialization as a requirement. Pharmacists explained why they were practising at their level of practice, stating that not having more years of practice, lacking experience, or postgraduate/post-registration qualifications, and more involvement and recognition in practice were the main reasons for not considering themselves as an Advanced Pharmacy Practitioner. To be considered advanced by the Framework, pharmacists would need to fulfill at least 70% of the Advanced Practice competency standards at an advanced level. More than half of the pharmacists (64.7%) that self-perceived as being advanced managed to fulfill 70% or more of these Advanced Practice competency standards at the advanced level. However, none of the self-perceived entry level pharmacists managed to match at least 70% of the competencies at the entry level.

Conclusion:

Participants' self-perception of the term Advanced Practice was similar to the definition in the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework. Pharmacists working at an advanced level were largely able to demonstrate and justify their reasons for being advanced practitioners. However, pharmacists practising at the other levels of practice (entry, transition, consolidation) require further guidance regarding their advancement in practice.

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