As medication experts, pharmacists are key members of the patient’s healthcare team. Pharmacists must maintain their competence to practice to remain responsive to the increasingly complex healthcare sector. This paper seeks to determine how competence training for pharmacists may enhance quality in their professional development. Results of two separately administered surveys (2012 and 2013) were compared to examine the reported continued professional development (CPD) practices of Australian pharmacists. Examination of results from both studies enabled a focus on how the competency standards inform CPD practice.In the survey administered in 2012, 91% (n
= 253/278) pharmacists reported that they knew their current registration requirements. However, in the survey administered in 2013, only 43% (n
= 46/107) reported utilization of the National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia (NCS) to self-asses their practice as part of their annual re-registration requirements. Fewer, 23% (n
= 25/107), used the NCS to plan their CPD. This may be symptomatic of poor familiarity with the NCS, uncertainty around undertaking self-directed learning as part of a structured learning plan and/or misunderstandings around what CPD should include. This is supported by thematic analysis of pharmacists’ social media comments. Initial and ongoing competence training to support meaningful CPD requires urgent attention in Australia. The competence (knowledge, skills and attributes) required to engage in meaningful CPD practice should be introduced and developed prior to entry into practice; other countries may find they are in a similar position.
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