Recently we did a piece helping to explain the new revalidation timeline. This document mentioned what was needed to be submitted and how over the next two years. It did not however, outline the new requirements such as what is needed in the 4 CPDs, and how to document the peer review. This article is here to help out line what is needed in each of the three revalidation requirements.
The 4 Continued Professional Development (CPD) records
The new requirements for CPDs are that four are completed each time you revalidate rather than the old system of a declaration that 9 CPDs were completed each year. The requirement is for at least a minimum of two CPDs must come from planned learning events, after that they can also come from unplanned learning events. The benefit of any CPD to users of your service or to your colleagues is that it needs to be documented using real events and examples as the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) want to move away from theoretical examples of impact. This means you can start the CPD to show the learning and the planning required but then return to it later when you have actually put your learning into practice, which might not be for a few months. This is why starting the CPDs on the myGPhC website early in the year is beneficial as it gives you times for the learning to be put into practice. The council is also wanting to see a wide variety of learning styles recorded across the four CPDs. The council has put out no rules on the type of learning they want to see, simply that they want to see more than one style being used and so this allows you the freedom to learn in whichever way suits the material and yourself best.
The two types of learning as outlined above are planned and unplanned. A planned learning event is what you would expect, any piece of learning that you planned to undertake to improve your knowledge or skills in any area of your professional life. So your reflective document will start at the planning stage of the CPD cycle. The unplanned learning events are described by the GPhC as “when an event happens that causes an unscheduled learning activity without prior thought or planning, for example through reading a journal or talking to a colleague”. Now these two events can work together an unplanned learning can spark a deeper planned learning CPD or the other way around. The GPhC are still wanting pharmacists to use the main themes of CPDs; What do you want to learn, Why should you do this, How will you undertake your learning, What options for learning do you have, How will this learning be applied, Examples of how it helped people. So overall this change should be something pharmacists will be ok at.
The Reflective Account
This piece of the revalidation framework is asking you to reflect on the GPhC’s standards for pharmacy professionals and how they impact you and your work. This is not a piece where you select which standard or standards you want to write about. The GPhC will send you individually the standard or standards that they want you to reflect on each year. So this is not a larger CPD, it is an in-depth look at your practice over the last year and going forward into the next. You are asked to outline your area of practice for the past year, provide a statement about how you have met the pre-assigned standard(s) for the year, then provide examples to support your statement. The number of examples needed is set at a minimum of one, however the GPhC do state they ideally want to see more than that to show that you are effectively and consistently demonstrating commitment to the standards. To prepare for this document it would be worth at the start of the year revising the standard(s) that you are being requested to produce at the end of the year. Then during the year make a regular return to a draft document and note any events that have occurred, keeping them under bullet points so that they can be pulled together into a full piece of work by the end time of revalidation.
The Peer-to-Peer Discussion
This new addition to the revalidation process is something very new to pharmacists however, this has been done by doctors and nurses for a number of years now. So one of the main questions is around who can be the ‘Peer’. The GPhC has given this title very large scope, you are not limited to another pharmacist. Depending on your role it is down to you as the pharmacist to select someone who will provide “the most effective peer relationship”. The peer you choose each year can be different and using peers who are not even health-care professionals is also allowed. So long as their work and background can help to have a positive impact on your practice. A good example would be a pharmacy area manager having their peer review with a senior area manager from another sector to find out how better to motivate their teams or manage targets and pressures. This peer selection is acceptable as the main point is that the selection can be justified as helping you as the individual pharmacist to improve. The peer does not always have to be someone who is senior to yourself in role and responsibilities, again you have to be able to justify your peer selection choice as being one which will help you to improve as a pharmacist. The peer must be your choice and not allocated, if someone suggest a peer to you and you disagree with the suggestion then do not use that peer. You have to choose the peer and declare that you are happy with your choice when you submit the declaration form. The only thing that would bar someone from being the peer in the discussion is if they are a healthcare professional currently (not previously) under a fitness to practice review themselves, this can be checked on each regulators web page. The selection of a line manager is also something that though ok if you think it will benefit you is acceptable but this is not the same as your annual appraisal and so pharmacists are encouraged to find other peers to help them reflect and improve their practice.
After finding your peer, what should you talk about? This should be planned agree with your peer a time, a place and a goal for the discussion. Share with your peer the area you want to focus the conversation on and if necessary share information you have on your performance in the selected area. How the actual conversation goes is an individual thing, questions are encouraged from both sides to help improve your practice as this session is for the reflectors benefit. It is not a critique session from the peer to evaluate you, this is a reflective conversation.
The conversation is over and so what needs recording and submitting to the GPhC? Obviously you need consent from the peer to record their name, occupation and contact information so do ensure you ask them for this. You then need to, as mentioned earlier, record why you chose this peer. Outline how this discussion has helped you to reflect and what improvements you will be able to make to your practice having had this discussion. Then again as with the reflective account give some examples of real beneficial outcomes that stem from this conversation. You do not in the recording of this discussion have to include detailed information on the subject(s) discussed if the contents are confidential. To enable you to meet this point it would be logical to have the peer discussion early on in the revalidation year so as to allow time for you to gather examples of positive impacts. The discussion is not a reflection on the year, it is a reflection on your practice as such it can happen at any time of the year.
These changes all require a more active involvement in the reflective process and given the increased needs for real life examples of positive impact, pharmacy professionals should aim to start recording everything they need at the start of a new revalidation year so that by the end they have good examples. A possible way of undertaking the process would be to at the start of a newly revalidated year undertake a peer discussion on your practice, areas for improvement, and the GPhC requirements for the reflective account that year. Then using the discussion begin the reflective account and the plan for the year ahead. The discussion could also spark at least one planned CPD cycle. In short starting this process at the beginning of the year will maximise the ease with which you complete the revalidation process but more importantly will improve your work and satisfaction in that work throughout the year as your will be setting yourself mini targets that will be achieved regularly.