The value of peer discussions

10, Feb 2019 UKCPA Updates

Peer discussions are useful to explore what practitioners actually do in practice


Peer discussions, sometimes called case based discussions because they focus on a specific case, project or scenario, have been used by pharmacy and other healthcare professional teams for many years to support professional development.

Peer discussions: The benefits

  • Peer discussions are useful to explore what practitioners actually do in practice, rather than test knowledge
  • They also explore the reasoning behind how decisions are made, as well as other skills such as communication
  • They provide a supportive environment in which the practitioner can receive feedback on their areas of strength, and suggestions on how to improve their practice and develop further skills. This feedback allows practitioners to focus their continued professional development.
  • They can be carried out in the workplace with a peer or supervisor
  • They can be carried out with any experienced pharmacy colleague who is knowledgeable in the area of practice, provided they are experienced in the process. This may appeal to practitioners who prefer to have a discussion outside of the workplace.
  • They are time efficient, taking less than an hour to complete
  • The topic of conversation can be chosen by the practitioner, allowing them to select a situation which relates to specific areas of practice that they wish to discuss.

One practitioner recently reflected on her experience of a case based discussion with a UKCPA colleague: “The discussion provided far more insight than I expected. I found that it enabled me to reflect on my practice in a way which I would not have done otherwise. The experience made me realise that we should all be completing case based discussions regularly to support our professional development. It is something that I will continue to do and will encourage my peers to do the same.”

Peer discussions: How are they used?

  • Peer discussions are used widely in the undergraduate studies and trainee period of healthcare professionals
  • Peer discussions form part of the assessment for many health professional Royal Colleges and for revalidation
  • They are used as part of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Faculty assessment process
  • They are often used within pharmacy teams in all sectors of pharmacy in the UK to support professional development and for appraisal purposes
  • They will be part of the assessment for National Training Programmes, being developed by the RPS Affiliated Partners
  • Peer discussion is an element of the GPhC revalidation . Duncan Rudkin, GPhC chief executive, explains, “Pharmacy professionals have told us that one of the most effective ways to improve their practice and the care they provide to patients is to reflect on their practice through peer discussion.”

UKCPA offers peer discussion opportunities

UKCPA offers opportunities for peer discussions at all our learning events.

Please contact us if you would like to book a peer discussion in a supportive environment to help you improve your practice and your care to patients.