Accreditation: The only way I could get the full picture

As a community pharmacist I get a glimpse into a patient’s life but it’s never the full picture.

Seeing the Big Picture

Margaret comes in with a prescription for a new cholesterol drug, but did she bring in the blood test results? Nope. Jonathan, well he’s a character, 80 and still as sharp as ever. I see him most weeks but last week he was prescribed the maximum dose of Metformin to control his Type 2 Diabetes, but I have no idea if his kidneys are functioning well enough to stand the dose. Yearning to do more for my community, Medication Management Reviews (MMRs) were the answer for me. As a consultant pharmacist I would finally get the chance to see the whole picture of patient care, and make clinical recommendations. This was an exciting prospect.

Hi, I’m Joe and welcome to the first of many posts where I will share my journey to becoming accredited as a consultant pharmacist. For me, it all started on my 28th birthday, when I received my confirmation letter from Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy (AACP) to say I had been registered to complete Stage Two Accreditation. I now had access to the online portal and one month to complete the first modules on communication. Plenty of time, right? It was at this very moment I had a flash back to my time at Curtin University, studying a Masters of Pharmacy, the pain and continuous stress involved in studying a difficult degree. But, as the pain of study fades, so does the information learnt.

I know the pain of studying again will make a difference to my community

Two and a half years post uni, working in rural Western Australia, my confidence as a pharmacist was ever increasing, but my clinical knowledge was waning. I found myself, referring to resources for information I should retain in my head. I even found myself saying “generally well tolerated” when counselling on certain new medications. What does generally well tolerated mean? It means as much as when you answer an exam question about medicine side effects and you rattle of the three staples – nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Essentially nothing.

I want to be a competent pharmacist who gives patients the advice they deserve. I want to be on top of my game. I want to have the clinical judgement that the public and other professionals expect from pharmacists. And this is where AACP comes in to my picture. The Association was developed to upskill pharmacists and improve their clinical knowledge base. They accredit consultant pharmacists to conduct Home and Residential Medication Management Reviews (I’ll explain the difference next post!) which give pharmacists the opportunity to visit a patient in the community, review the medicines they are on and make recommendations to their GP to reduce unwanted side effects.

The clock is ticking, one month to complete the first modules so I best be going but welcome to my journal series, I hope it inspires you to be the best pharmacist you can be too as you travel with me on this journey but don’t just rely on me, check out the benefits of accreditation here:

Image credit: Photo by Nakita Cheung on Unsplash