A study has found that educational and training models are appropriate for a new urgent care pharmacist role and that pharmacists in this setting could be better located in the minor illness area rather than major trauma areas.
The study was designed to describe the most effective model for managing, educating, and training pharmacist advanced clinical practitioners (ACPs) in the urgent care centre (UCC) setting. The study also looked at role evolution and how to measure their effectiveness.
A qualitative longitudinal cohort study was conducted in three sites, with three pharmacists in each trained as ACPs from 2016 to 2017. ACP role, location, management, mentorship, and supervision were locally determined. ACPs attended focus groups (FGs) at 1 and 3 months (sites 1–3), 6 and 12 months (site 1 only), and the UCC staff were interviewed once with a topic guide regarding training, integration, role, and impact. Verbatim transcriptions were analyzed thematically.
Eight ACP FGs and 24 stakeholder interviews produced the following major themes;
- Education and training.
Effective education, training, and integration required communication of role to address concerns regarding salary differentials, supportive management structure, and multi-professional learning.
The education and training model was found to be appropriate. Communication and management require careful consideration to ensure effective integration and role development. Pharmacists were better located initially in the minor illness rather than major trauma areas. Quality of patient experience resulting from the new role was important in addition to reassurance that the role represented a positive contribution to workload.
One of the authors Stephen-Andrew Whyte commented:
“Our initial evaluation has shown that following a period of education and training pharmacists are able to competently and confidently assess, diagnose and manage patients presenting with a variety of previously undiagnosed conditions in the urgent care setting.
“The outputs from this initial evaluation have been used to inform the implementation of trainee advanced clinical practitioners at an additional three sites across London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex. There are now 17 trainee ACPs across the region.
“This research builds on previous studies conducted by HEE in the West Midlands showing that up to 36% of patients presenting at the ED could be assessed, diagnosed and managed independently by a pharmacist with advanced clinical skills training.”