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Three ways to effectively train the next generation of pharmacists

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Pharmacists need to be prepared to adapt and remain knowledgeable about the latest advances, in order to provide the best possible care to their patients

The healthcare landscape has dramatically changed over the years, due to a number of factors, firstly having to navigate Covid-19 and now the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine technology, to name a few. As a result, training the next generation of healthcare leaders is more important now than ever.

Let’s look at three ways to effectively train the next generation of pharmacists:

  1. Robust Induction Programme

Induction programs are an effective way of training the next generation of pharmacists as they have the ability to provide knowledge, skills and practical experience to deal with and manage common challenges they’re likely to experience in their careers. These programs usually include training in pharmacokinetics, drug dosages, medication administration, and pharmacotherapy.

Induction programs also go one step further and can provide healthcare leaders the opportunity to learn about patient safety, customer service, and ethical practices. As a result, robust induction programs help pharmacists integrate with the pharmacy team, improve patient outcomes, and be confident and competent in their role as a pharmacist. All of these skills are vital for the next generation of pharmacists, so it is equally important for them to be trained in them.

Induction programmes should also be supplemented with employee wellbeing skills which help maintain a positive mentally fit workforce. By implementing a dedicated employee wellbeing programme, employees will be emotionally fit and able to prepare better for the working day. It will also help employees to progress quickly, be more engaged with the company and be more valued.

Further supplementing this with an employee benefits package which supports both physical and mental wellbeing can encourage pharmacists to stay within the industry. Being a pharmacist is a taxing job, physically, so ensuring that regular breaks can be taken, that there’s access to private healthcare and that regular massages or physical development support and assessments can ensure the team stays fighting fit.

2) Continuous Professional Development

CPDs (Continuing Professional Development) are essential for training as they allow pharmacists to update their knowledge and skills throughout their career development, maintain their current licensees and qualifications and demonstrate their commitment to the industry.

Healthcare leaders, including pharmacists, need to be continuously educated and trained to ensure they keep up to date with new advancements, regulations, treatments and techniques in their field and services, as well as allowing them to provide safe and effective patient care. CPDs can be held in a variety of ways making them a versatile method of training. They can include workshops, seminars, conferences, online courses, and training programs.

Making time for these within the working day will also help your employees to feel valued as having to use their own time for CPD can create a feeling of negativity. Placing value on the expansion of knowledge and support and allowing those who have undertaken CPD to share their thoughts with other members of the team will help to create a feeling of camaraderie and support.

3) Interdisciplinary Training and Collaboration

Healthcare is a complex field, with many leaders collaborating across multiple industries and specialists, as a result, training needs to adequately reflect this. One way this can be achieved is through shadowing.

Shadowing provides a great opportunity to gain a 360 view of the patient experience from start to finish, making healthcare leaders more likely to provide a holistic patient care experience. This can be integrated as part of a mentorship programme, which allows experienced practitioners to share their knowledge and skills and pass it down to the next generation of emerging professionals.

Shadowing can also help them gain insights into the challenges faced by other healthcare practitioners and understand the broader healthcare landscape, which may help enhance communication and referrals. By fostering learning environments where pharmacists can engage with and learn from other healthcare practitioners, pharmacists can become more rounded professionals and provide better advice.

Having a mentor is also a great way to show new hires the ropes and allow them to see the progression within the company. A mentor doesn’t have to be an employee of the pharmacy, it could be outside of the industry, or a career coach or someone from the industry themselves in a higher role. Having the support and encouragement of a dedicated mentor can really help to open an employee’s eyes to what’s available to them within the company.

By utilising your internal team for promotions and growth of the company, you can ensure you create a well-rounded, supportive and loyal team that will grow with the business. This will naturally make your pharmacy an exciting and valued place to work with most new starters looking for loyalty, support and progression as the most valued qualities in a future employer.

In addition to these methods, it’s essential to integrate ethical and patient-centered care into the training process, instilling the values and principles needed for the next generation of pharmacists to lead effectively and make a positive contribution to the industry. Pharmacists need to be prepared to adapt and remain knowledgeable about the latest advances, in order to provide the best possible care to their patients.

By Paaven Patel, Operations and Quality Assurance Pharmacist at Specialist Pharmacy.

 

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Current Issue December 2023

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