An increasing number of pharmacists are now working directly with GPs in Primary Care undertaking a number of roles; with recent announcements it seems likely that these opportunities will increase in the future. It is not something I had ever envisaged doing; however, having previously only worked in community pharmacy, I recently took on an additional part time role as a practice pharmacist to support implementation of the CCG’s prescribing incentive and medicines management scheme. Completing my first 3 modules towards my Diploma award gave me the confidence to try something new which would enable me to make use of the skills I had developed in a different working environment.
I chose the ‘Working with Prescribers in Primary Care’ module to enable me to develop additional skills to help me in my new role. Having always worked in community pharmacy, my knowledge around the current structure of the NHS was very limited; now that I’m working in a GP practice, it’s essential to have an understanding of how general practices fit into the NHS structure and how they are funded.
To be able to influence prescribing decisions it is necessary to have an understanding of how those decisions are made by GPs and the factors affecting them; learning about this has also made me reflect on how I make decisions when advising patients in community. What is rational prescribing and why a GP might change prescribing behaviour are topics that will inform my conversations in my practice and help me implement the CCG prescribing incentive.
I started this role with limited medicines management skills and I am learning as I go; the guidelines I am trying to implement are evidence based and through this module I am learning about the tools available to help me and the reasons why early attempts I made were not very successful. I now have some principles for more successful implementation of evidence into practice.
The clinical knowledge and IT skills I developed during my first two modules gave me the confidence to try this new role. The communication and team building skills developed during my more recent modules have helped me develop my role in the practice. Now this module is developing my knowledge of medicines management and medicines optimisation to enable me to be an effective practice pharmacist.