A large step toward a more skilled, flexible and adaptable Australian pharmacist workforce was made today with registrations of interest opening for Advancing Practice credentialing, Australia’s new pathway for objectively measuring practitioners’ influence on pharmacy practice and patient care.

The go-live of the Advancing Practice website this morning marks the return of advanced pharmacy practice credentialing to Australia; the site features testimonial videos from participants of a 2015 pilot program.

Under the auspices of an Advisory Board comprising leaders from across academic, community, general practice and hospital pharmacy, Advancing Practice will provide a centralised mechanism for assessing practitioners’ career achievements and impacts across five domains: Professionalism and ethics,
Communication and collaboration, Medicines management and patient care, Leadership and management and Education and research.

Associate Professor Ian Coombes, Chair of the Advancing Practice Advisory Board, says the timing is perfect for the reestablishment of advanced practice credentialing in Australia.

‘Our healthcare landscape is changing and more Australians are using more medicines than ever before, and the roles, scope and impact of pharmacists continue to expand.

‘In this complex environment, Advancing Practice will provide a vehicle that can move the profession forward. By evaluating, recognising and guiding further development of our workforce, we have a process to ensure pharmacists are more responsive to the evolving needs of patients and the healthcare sector.’

Associate Professor Coombes says Advancing Practice is much more than a process for assessing individual pharmacists’ experience and expertise.

‘As part of broader efforts to build a more highly skilled, flexible and adaptable pharmacy workforce, Advancing Practice provides a robust framework that will assure Australians that improving outcomes for patients is absolutely central to pharmacists’ work.’

Dr Chris Freeman, a fellow member of the Advisory Board, says Advancing Practice will endorse the career progression of pharmacists by collating and reviewing the impact of their practice.

‘By facilitating independent assessment, Advancing Practice will provide an objective mechanism through which any pharmacist – regardless of their scope of practice and healthcare setting – can determine the strongest paths for their career progression.

‘In addition to enabling practitioners to reflect on where they’ve been and where they’re heading, the robust nature of this process will encourage more pharmacists to begin gathering evidence on how their work has influenced patient care, which is crucial to maximising the value of pharmacists in collaborative models of care.’

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