The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) competency framework outlines the skills and knowledge that prescribers (doctors, dentists, nurses & pharmacists etc) should possess to provide high-quality patient care. The framework is generally speaking can thought of being divided into three main sections: knowledge and understanding, professional skills, and professional values.
What is the competency framework?
A competency framework is a tool organisations use to define and evaluate the skills, knowledge, and behaviours necessary for effective job performance. It provides a clear, standardised understanding of employees’ expectations in a particular role or organisation. It typically includes a set of competencies or critical areas of expertise that employees are expected to possess and demonstrates, as well as the level of proficiency required in each area. This can include technical and soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. The framework guides recruitment, training and development, performance management, and career progression.
What should a competency framework include?
A competency framework is a set of guidelines that outlines the skills, knowledge, and behaviors required for a specific role or job within an organisation. It typically includes a list of competencies that are grouped into categories or areas of expertise.
These competencies are used to define the expectations for performance in a given role and to guide the development and assessment of the skills of individuals within the organisation.
A competency framework typically includes the following components:
- A clear and concise definition of the role or job for which the framework is being developed.
- A list of core competencies deemed essential for successful performance in the role.
- A set of performance indicators or behaviors that demonstrate the level of proficiency required for each competency.
- A list of resources and tools can be used to support the development and assessment of competencies.
- A set of guidelines for using the framework, including how to apply it in practice, measure and evaluate performance, and provide feedback and support for development.
Examples of competencies that might be included in a competency framework for a healthcare role include:
- Patient-centred care
- Communication skills
- Cultural competence
- Medical knowledge
- Quality improvement
- Time management
Examples of competencies that might be included in a competency framework for a Business role include:
- Strategic thinking
- Customer service
- Financial acumen
- Project management
Examples of competencies that might be included in a competency framework for an IT role include:
- Technical expertise
- Project management
- Time management
- Strategic thinking
It is important to note that the examples mentioned above are not exhaustive and can vary depending on the organisation or industry.
What will I learn from this article:
- I. Introduction
- A. Explanation of the RPS competency framework
- B. Purpose of the RPS competency framework
- C. Importance of the RPS competency framework
- II. Overview of the RPS competency framework
- A. Explanation of the different competencies
- B. Key elements and statements of each competency
- C. Importance of each competency
- III. Assessment and development of competency
- A. Explanation of how the competencies are assessed
- B. Importance of continuous improvement and development of competency
- C. Tools and resources for assessing and developing competency
- IV. Importance of the RPS competency framework in practice
- A. Explanation of how the competencies are applied in practice
- B. Importance of the competencies in patient care
- C. Examples of how the competencies have improved patient care
- V. Conclusion
- A. Summary of the importance of the RPS competency framework
- B. Future developments and plans for the RPS competency framework
- C. Call to action for healthcare professionals to adopt and implement the RPS competency framework
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) competency framework
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) competency framework is a set of standards and guidelines that outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours expected of pharmacists in the UK. The framework is designed to support pharmacists in their professional development and ensure that they provide safe, effective, and high-quality care to patients. This article will provide a detailed overview of the RPS competency framework, including examples and cases to illustrate its key components.
The RPS competency framework can be thought of as being divided into six main areas:
- Communicate effectively
- Deliver and monitor care
- Manage self and others
- Provide information
- Prescribe as part of a team
- Improve prescribing practice
Communicating effectively is essential for any healthcare professional, and this is especially true for pharmacists. The RPS competency framework highlights the importance of communication in building relationships with patients, carers, and other healthcare professionals. This includes understanding the patient’s needs, adapting communication styles to suit different situations, and using appropriate language and terminology.
For example, a pharmacist may need to communicate with a patient with limited English language skills. In this case, the pharmacist would need to use clear and straightforward language, as well as visual aids, to ensure that the patient understands the information being provided. Additionally, the pharmacist would need to be aware of the cultural and social factors that may influence the patient’s understanding and acceptance of the information.
Deliver and monitor care
Pharmacists play a critical role in delivering care, and the RPS competency framework sets out the standards that should be met in this area. This includes identifying the patient’s needs, developing and implementing care plans, and monitoring the effectiveness of the care provided.
For example, a pharmacist may work with a patient who has been prescribed a new medication. The pharmacist would need to ensure that the patient understands how to take the medication and any potential side effects. Additionally, the pharmacist would need to monitor the patient’s progress and make necessary adjustments to the care plan.
Manage self and others
Managing oneself and others is an important aspect of being a pharmacist, and the RPS competency framework sets out the standards that should be met in this area. This includes working effectively as part of a team, managing time and resources, and handling difficult situations.
For example, a pharmacist may be working in a busy pharmacy where there are a lot of demands on their time. In this case, the pharmacist would need to be able to prioritise tasks, manage their time effectively, and delegate tasks to other team members when necessary. Additionally, the pharmacist would need to be able to handle difficult situations, such as dealing with a demanding customer, professionally and calmly.
Providing clear, accurate, and understandable information is essential to being a pharmacist, and the RPS competency framework sets out the standards that should be met in this area. This includes being able to assess the patient’s health literacy, check the patient’s understanding of the information provided, guide the patient on how to identify reliable sources of information, and ensure the patient knows what to do if there are any concerns.
For example, a pharmacist may be working with a patient who has been diagnosed with a chronic condition. The pharmacist would need to provide the patient with clear and understandable information about the condition, including information about the medications that have been prescribed.
Prescribing as part of a team
One key aspect of prescribing as part of a team is working collaboratively with other healthcare team members. This may involve participating in regular meetings or rounds to discuss patients’ care plans, sharing information and updates about patients, and coordinating medication orders and administration. This type of collaboration ensures that all members of the team are aware of the patient’s care plan and can provide appropriate support.
Another important aspect of prescribing as part of a team is establishing relationships with other professionals based on understanding, trust, and respect for each other’s roles. This may involve building connections with primary care physicians, nurses, and other specialists to ensure that all team members are working together to provide the best possible care for patients. Additionally, practitioners may need to be able to seek advice and support from other members of the team when they are uncertain about a specific case.
It’s also essential to agree on the appropriate level of support and supervision for their role as a prescriber. It means that the practitioner should be able to identify when they need support from more experienced colleagues and should be able to provide guidance to less experienced team members.
Additionally, a prescriber should provide support and advice to other prescribers or those involved in the administration of medicines where appropriate. This could include providing education and training on appropriate prescribing practices, reviewing medication regimens for patients, and providing feedback on potential issues.
An example of this competency in practice would be a hospital pharmacist working with a team of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to manage the medication regimen for a patient with multiple chronic conditions. The pharmacist would collaborate with the team to develop a comprehensive treatment plan, provide education and support to other team members regarding appropriate prescribing practices, and work with the patient to ensure that they understand their medications and how to take them safely.
Improve prescribing practice
Improving prescribing practice involves reflecting on one’s and others’ prescribing habits and taking action based on feedback and discussion. For example, a pharmacist may review their prescribing records and identify patterns of over- or under-prescribing certain medications. They can then adjust their prescribing habits accordingly, such as seeking additional education or guidance on prescribing for specific conditions.
Pharmacists can also act upon inappropriate or unsafe prescribing practices by using appropriate processes, such as reporting the issue to the relevant regulatory body or discussing the issue with a colleague or supervisor.
Another important aspect of improving prescribing practice is the use of available tools. For example, pharmacists can use prescribing analytics software to monitor and analyse their prescribing habits and identify potential areas for improvement. They may also use guidelines, protocols, and other resources to ensure that their prescribing align with current best practices.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is also crucial for improving prescribing practice. Pharmacists must take responsibility for their learning and ensure that their CPD is relevant to their prescribing role. They can also seek support and learning opportunities through networks, such as professional associations or online communities.
In addition to these considerations, pharmacists must also consider the impact of prescribing on sustainability. This includes considering methods of reducing the carbon footprint and environmental effects of any medicine, such as opting for more eco-friendly packaging or prescribing generic alternatives to brand-name medications.
As an example, a pharmacist may have found out that a high proportion of patients with hypertension are not taking their medications as prescribed; this could be due to side effects, cost or lack of understanding of the condition. The pharmacist can then review their prescribing habits, seek additional education on hypertension and its management, and explore alternative treatment options that patients may better tolerate. They can also take steps to improve patient education and engagement, such as providing written or verbal instructions, or using visual aids to help patients understand their condition and treatment plan.
Another example is that a pharmacist may come across a patient who is taking multiple medications that interact with each other. The pharmacist can use tools like medication interaction checkers to identify and address potential drug interactions. They can also consult with other healthcare team members and make changes to the patient’s medication regimen as necessary.
In both of these examples, the pharmacist is improving their prescribing practice by reflecting on their habits, seeking out additional education and resources, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals.
Now lets summarise the RPS prescribing competency framewrok.
Prescribing competency framework example
1 . Assesses the patient
The competency of assessing a patient includes conducting the consultation in an appropriate setting, considering patient dignity, capacity, consent and confidentiality, introducing oneself and confirming patient identity, assessing communication needs and adapting the consultation, demonstrating good consultation skills and building rapport, taking and documenting a medical, psychosocial and medication history including allergies and intolerances, undertaking and documenting a clinical assessment, identifying and addressing potential vulnerabilities, accessing and interpreting patient records, requesting and interpreting relevant investigations, making, confirming or understanding a diagnosis, understanding the condition being treated and its progression, assessing the severity, deterioration and response to treatment, reviewing adherence and effectiveness of current medicines, and referring or seeking guidance from other members of the team, specialists, or information sources when necessary.
2 . Identify evidence-based treatment options for clinical decision making
The competency of identifying evidence-based treatment options for clinical decision making includes considering both non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment approaches, evaluating all pharmacological treatment options including optimising doses and stopping treatment, assessing the risks and benefits to the patient, understanding the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of medicines and how they may be affected by individual patient factors, evaluate the impact of co-morbidities, existing medicines, allergies, intolerances, contraindications, and quality of life on management options, considering relevant patient factors and their effects on medicine choice and administration, accessing, critically evaluating, and using reliable and validated sources of information, staying up-to-date in one’s area of practice and applying the principles of evidence-based practice, considering the broader perspective including public health issues related to medicines and promoting health, and understanding antimicrobial resistance and the roles of infection prevention, control, and antimicrobial stewardship measures.
3 . Present options and reach a shared decision
The competency of presenting options and reaching a shared decision includes actively involving and working with the patient/carer to make informed choices and agree on a plan that respects their preferences, considering and respecting patient diversity, background, personal values and beliefs about their health, treatment, and medicines, supporting equality and inclusivity, and developing cultural competence, explaining the risks and benefits and rationale behind management options in a way that the patient/carer can understand, assessing adherence in a non-judgmental way and understanding reasons for non-adherence, building a relationship that encourages appropriate prescribing, exploring the patient’s/carer’s understanding of the consultation and aiming for a satisfactory outcome for both the patient/carer and prescriber.
4 . Prescribe
The competency of prescribing involves being aware of the actions, indications, dose, contraindications, interactions, cautions, and adverse effects of the prescribed medicine or device. It also includes understanding and using relevant national, regional and local frameworks for the use of medicines, prescribing generic medicines where practical and safe, and following appropriate safeguards when prescribing unlicensed and off-label medicines. It also requires accurately completing calculations, prescribing appropriate quantities, and recognising and minimising the risk of misuse. Additionally, it involves using up-to-date information about the availability, pack sizes, storage conditions, excipients and costs of prescribed medicines, writing legible and complete prescriptions, effectively using systems necessary to prescribe medicines, and effectively communicating with other healthcare professionals in the patient’s care.
5 . Provde information
The competency of “Provide Information” involves assessing the patient’s/carer’s health literacy and adapting communication to provide clear and understandable information, checking for understanding, guiding the patient/carer on how to find reliable sources of information, ensuring the patient/carer knows what to do in case of concerns or lack of improvement, and encouraging and supporting self-management of their condition.
6 . Monitor and review
The competency of monitoring and reviewing involves establishing and maintaining a plan for reviewing the patient’s treatment, monitoring the effectiveness of treatment and potential unwanted effects, adapting the management plan in response to ongoing monitoring, and recognising and reporting suspected adverse events to medicines and medical devices using appropriate reporting systems.
7 . Prescribe Safely
The competency of prescribing safely involves being aware of one’s limitations and scope of practice, understanding common types of medication errors and how to minimise their risk, recognising potential risks associated with remote prescribing methods, keeping up to date with emerging safety concerns, and reporting incidents and errors while regularly reviewing practice to prevent a recurrence.
8 . Prescribe professionally
The competency focuses on maintaining confidence and competence in prescribing, accepting personal responsibility and accountability, understanding legal and ethical implications, making prescribing decisions based on patient needs, recognising and responding to factors that might influence prescribing and working within codes of conduct when interacting with the pharmaceutical industry.
9 . Improve prescribing practice
The competency of improving prescribing practice includes reflecting on own and others’ prescribing practice, acting upon feedback and discussion, using appropriate processes to address inappropriate or unsafe prescribing, understanding and using available tools to improve prescribing practice, taking responsibility for own learning and continuing professional development relevant to the prescribing role, making use of networks for support and learning, encouraging and supporting others with their prescribing practice and continuing professional development, and considering the impact of prescribing on sustainability and methods of reducing the environmental effects of any medicine.
10. Prescribe as part of a team
The competency involves working collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team to ensure that the transfer and continuity of care is developed and not compromised. It includes establishing relationships with other professionals based on understanding, trust and respect for each other’s roles in relation to the patient’s care, agreeing on the appropriate level of support and supervision for the role of a prescriber, and providing support and advice to other prescribers or those involved in the administration of medicines where appropriate.
We hope you find this article, Royal Pharmaceutical Society Competency Framework, helpful. Please share this article with your friends.