An integrated career and competency framework for pharmacists in diabetes

15, May 2018 UKCPA Updates

The UKCPA Diabetes & Endocrinology Group have launched a framework aimed at supporting the careers and practice of pharmacists who care for people with diabetes.

The Integrated career and competency framework for pharmacists in diabetes can be used to support a career pathway that encompasses experiential learning and competence development in single or multiple sectors, focusing on the individual pharmacist’s needs and skills.

The framework is not about setting a series of task-oriented actions or practical activities; nor is it a list of factual knowledge that can be ‘ticked-off’. Rather, it describes the progression of knowledge and skills across competency levels and suggests how a pharmacist can build a career in diabetes care.”

Victoria Ruszala, Lead author

The framework, supported and funded by UKCPA, and endorsed by Diabetes UK, Trend UK, and the Primary Care Diabetes Society was authored by Victoria Ruszala, Specialist Pharmacist Diabetes and Endocrinology at North Bristol NHS Trust, and contributed to by many other pharmacists from the UKCPA Diabetes & Endocrinology Group and other organisations.

The framework is launched at a time when new specialist roles are being developed, as well as the skills and knowledge of pharmacists working in new sectors, such as GP practice pharmacists. Pharmacists working at all levels in diabetes care can contribute to the process of commissioning and delivering the ideal diabetes service for their population. They can be at the forefront in delivering care, whether providing advice and supporting self-care in the community, performing the annual review and monitoring in a GP practice, or leading a multi-professional team to deliver a comprehensive number of services, including pump therapy, and inpatient and antenatal care.

To deliver care successfully, pharmacists need to be clear about what competencies are required to deliver high-quality diabetes care in a patient-facing role and be able to demonstrate those competencies. Experienced pharmacists should be able to assess need, be innovative and able to evaluate and demonstrate that they achieve desired health outcomes. This framework supports the commissioning of appropriate levels of pharmacists to deliver diabetes services, as well as provides a clear definition of the pharmacist roles, and their expected competencies, within diabetes care.

 “The Royal Pharmaceutical Society commends the work of this group to develop a framework to support pharmacists managing patients with diabetes. We will continue to work with UKCPA to align to the wider Professional Curricula being developed to support the pharmacy workforce to deliver safe and effective care to patients in all care settings.”

The framework can be used in several ways to develop pharmacists’ knowledge and skills. For example, it can provide:

  • help for individual pharmacists to plan their professional development in diabetes care
  • guidance for employers on the competency of pharmacists at the various levels of diabetes specialism
  • a reference for planning educational programmes
  • information for commissioners in identifying the appropriate level of staff required to meet the needs of the local population.

The clearly defined competency levels make it possible for pharmacists delivering diabetes care to identify their level of practice and develop a portfolio of practice. The framework enables them to plan their careers in a more structured way and supports their CPD by identifying individual development and training needs. There is opportunity for creativity and flexibility; it is not expected that all competencies will be met, even in highly specialised practice. Different sectors and individuals have different requirements and the framework allows each person to identify areas for their own practice.

The publication includes an action plan which is designed to enable pharmacists to reflect on their current practice, identify areas for development and formulate strategies to develop skills and competencies further. The action plan could contribute to the General Pharmaceutical Council revalidation requirements for registered pharmacists as part of the reflective account or identifying planned CPD.

Download the Framework here