National Healthcare Group Pharmacy1
Structured training programs for entry-to-practice (ETP) pharmacists with aims of improving clinical knowledge and skill, exist in most tertiary public health care institutions. A similar program is lacking for ETPs in primary care. At National Healthcare Group Pharmacy, a foundational clinical training program was planned and implemented in early 2020. Objectives were to improve clinical competencies and increase confidence to practice safely and effectively. Each ETP was matched to a clinical mentor. Program delivery methods included case-based discussions with formative feedback provided by clinical mentors and didactic teaching by content experts.
At the end of the program, all ETP pharmacists enrolled were invited by email to participate in an anonymous, online self-administered survey. Survey items aimed to elicit the program’s impact on the development of each ETP pharmacist’s clinical competencies. Survey questions included close-ended items on a 5-point Likert scale and open-ended items. Thematic analysis was applied to answers from open-ended questions.
Response rate was 100% (N = 8). 75% agreed that their clinical knowledge improved. 50% felt that the program was beneficial and had become more confident in patient care. 75% felt overwhelmed and 50% felt that too many topics were being covered. Themes that emerged included: additional topics needed, more rigour needed, different delivery methods, improved clinical knowledge, challenges faced and unmet objectives.
The program met objectives in assisting ETP pharmacists in deepening their clinical knowledge and increasing confidence in patient-care activities. Notable findings will be used to further improve the program for the next run.