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Final reflections on PCPEP

The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) supports pharmacy technicians working in primary care mainly through their Primary care pharmacy education pathway (PCPEP).

This month, Jo Nevinson (pharmacy technician, education supervisor and member of the CPPE learning development team) and Bianca Glavin (senior pharmacy technician in pathway education) share some final reflections on the pathway and how pharmacy technicians can get involved.

Over this interview series, you’ve shown us how integral pharmacy technicians learning on the programme is to improving patient care. Do you have a lightbulb moment from your work on PCPEP that supports this?

Jo Nevinson (JN): My lightbulb moment came after the first cohort of pharmacy technicians joined the pathway. It became apparent that most had previously been in defined roles, and they knew what to do for every minute of their working day. The pharmacy technician role in a primary care network (PCN) is new, and the PCN managers often don’t know how to best use them. It can be the first time pharmacy technicians have been in a position of developing their own role. This is when Bianca and I started to provide resources and networking opportunities to support pharmacy technicians to do this.

Bianca Glavin (BG): My lightbulb moment came when a pharmacy technician shared her experience of attending a clinical online workshop about heart failure. The following week, when carrying out a telephone consultation with a patient who had been recently discharged from hospital, she put into practice the consultation skills learnt on the pathway, such as using open questions and the golden minute. The consultation moved from routine medicines reconciliation, to the pharmacy technician being concerned about the symptoms described by the patient, and the medication the patient had started. The pharmacy technician quickly escalated the patient to the duty GP, and her instinct was correct – the patient was in heart failure and subsequently admitted to hospital that afternoon. This showed me that the pathway is successful in developing pharmacy technicians who are able to support and improve person-centred care.

What would you say to someone who is still unsure about how the pathway could benefit them and their work? What advice would you give about starting the pathway?

BG: The pathway opens up so many opportunities for you as a pharmacy technician; it doesn’t just focus on what is required now. Much of the learning and reflections aim to get you to consider what you could do to develop for the future. This involves getting pharmacy technicians to think more strategically; where are the gaps or opportunities in practice? What skills to do I need to support in those roles? My biggest piece of advice about starting the pathway is to be organised, make a list and work through the content in bite-sized chunks!

JN: It is a fabulous pathway that guides you through everything you need to learn to develop a patient-facing role in a PCN. You can be assured that all the learning is evidence based and up to date. It also provides lots of opportunities to network with other pharmacy professionals. The earlier you start the learning pathway after starting in a PCN role, the better. Don’t delay, book on now to support those early days in your new role and beyond.

When is the next cohort opening for PCPEP, and how can someone apply?

JN: The next cohort will be cohort 12 which will officially start on 1 January 2023. To apply, your employer must complete a proof of employment form. You will then complete the online registration form and attach the proof of employment form and a copy of your CV. Once the application is approved, you receive a welcome pack and log-in details for the Canvas virtual classroom by email, so you can get started with the learning. You are allocated to a CPPE education supervisor who will contact you to welcome you and discuss your learning plan.

BG: The education pathway is only open to pharmacy technicians and pharmacists who have been recruited as part of the primary care network Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme. However, if you are interested in applying for a PCN role, you can access the Primary Care Learning in the CPPE portfolio document which details learning you can access via the CPPE website.

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