An in-depth look at the new CPD requirements of reflective accounts and peer discussions

What is the purpose of a reflective account?


The idea is to make you think about how you meet the standards for pharmacy professionals within the work that you do. It aims to increase awareness and understanding of the standards. It helps you to reflect on how your practice affects those using your services.


What is a reflective account?


The main parts of a reflective account will be:

- A brief summary of your practice history for the last year (including who the typical users of your service are)

- A statement of how you have met one or more of the standards for pharmacy professionals

- Examples to support your statement


Each year the GPhC asks you to select one or more of the standards to reflect upon. They will say which of a range of standards for pharmacy professionals that they expect you to reflect upon from that year. You will be told by the GPhC which standards you should choose from at the start of your registrant year.


What information is needed in a reflective account?


The write up will include brief information about your worker example:

- The setting of your practice

- Your main roles and responsibilities

- The typical users of your service


You will need to give at least one example (but ideally more) to support your account. This is to show how you have reflected on the standards and their applications in practice. It is possible to show how you meet more than one standard in one example, as the standards are linked.  


What is the purpose of a peer discussion?


A peer discussion encourages you to engage with others, when you are reflecting on your learning and practice. According to the GPhC’s research, they have indicated that having an external view can help pharmacy professionals to reflect on their practice and it can it also reduce the isolation that can be felt within this sector.


It is suggested that to be most effective these discussions should be open and honest. They should also be held with someone whom you trust and respect. It should take into account your activities over the past year. The aim of the discussion is to positively influence your development and not for your peers to make an assessment of you.


How do I choose my peer? 


Some peers to consider include:

-    A trusted college

-    A line manager

-    Another health professional

-    A group of peers

-    A mentor or coach


For many, the most effective peer relationship will be another pharmacy professional. However, for some it might be worth considering a peer from another health profession. This may bring another perspective to your work. There may be rare occasions where an expert patient is appropriate.


The relative status of the peer chosen does not matter. You can have different peers at different stages of your career. You must not have a peer allocated to you, unless you are happy and comfortable with the person that has been selected. You also must not choose a peer with whom you have too closer relationship, such as family or very close friend.


During this process you will be asked to make a declaration, to make sure that there is no conflict of interest in your selection. You must make sure that your peer is happy to be named on your records.


You can find peers through:

-    Your employer

-    An education and training provider

-    A professional body or association

-    A local or national network


How do I prepare for the discussion?


Before your peer discussion, you should consider sharing information. This is in order to make the conversation more effective. It is advised that you consider discussing your CPD activities and your reflective account.


You might also want to include:

- Quality improvement activity

- Critical incidents

- Significant events

- Review of complaints and complements

- Feedback from people using the service

- Performance and development reviews

- The standards for pharmacy professionals


The discussion can take place in person, over the phone or using another form of communication (for example web chat).


What do you need to do after a peer discussion?


You should then write up this discussion covering:

-    Why you selected this peer

-    How the discussion helped you reflect on your practice

-    What you have changed as a result of these discussions

-    How the change benefited the people using your service


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