Set your own standards on how you practise


With pharmacy practice evolving before our eyes, pharmacists need a say in how they undertake new roles and services by shaping the Professional Practice Standards (PPS).

 It’s an exciting time for pharmacists. Over the last 5 years, we’ve seen many new roles emerge in new practice settings and scope of practice changes in existing settings. To empower pharmacists to meet the health challenges of the future, the PPS have been reinvented.

The PPS describe the minimum practice expectations for all pharmacists in Australia, articulating the values of the pharmacy profession and expected standards of professional behaviour of pharmacists towards individuals, the community and society. 

Regularly revising the PPS is an opportunity for clinical governance to stay up to date with the evolving roles of pharmacists, said PSA National President Dr Fei Sim.

‘The Standards reflect the important role of pharmacists in the fast-changing healthcare sector, with a focus on patient-centred collaborative care,’ she said.

From this week, for a period of 4 weeks, pharmacists, patients and other members of the healthcare team are invited to provide feedback on the revised PPS draft to ensure all stakeholders have a say in the development of the Standards.

‘It’s vital that we have diverse voices included in the Standards so that they accurately reflect both the expectations of the professional requirements of contemporary pharmacist practice and patients,’ Dr Sim added.

What to expect in the new PPS

With PSA continuing to advocate for pharmacists to work to full scope, the PPS redesign is a movement away from individual, standalone, service specific standards, said Jacob Warner MPS, PSA Professional Practice Pharmacist  – Project Lead.

While the previous PPS had a separate standard for each service, such as the Dose administration aid service standard, the new design uses different standards to interlink aspects of pharmacy practice.

The standards are aligned with the Medicines management cycle, reflecting the importance of pharmacists being everywhere where medicines are. The revised standards have been significantly reduced in length with similar structure and headings to allow pharmacists to easily navigate the actions. 

The shift in structure requires pharmacists to apply multiple standards to the delivery of a service, with the revised draft containing a ‘How to use the standards in practice’ section that clearly articulates this.

The six sections of the revised PPS are:

  • Core standards
  • Prescribing
  • Dispensing and preparation
  • Administration
  • Monitoring
  • Population health

The core standards, which are a new section, include four standards – Patient-centred care, Responsibility and accountability, Interprofessional collaboration and Service delivery.

They are designed to be used in every pharmacy interaction, in combination with the other standards relevant to that service.

‘That means when providing a vaccination service, pharmacists need to apply multiple standards,’ said Mr Warner.

‘These include a decision to initiate the vaccine (Prescribing), administration of the vaccine (Administration, including supervised administration, of a medicine), storage of the vaccine (Safe and secure handling of therapeutic goods), and health promotion and education (Population health). ’

PSA is also commencing development of an implementation tool to accompany the release at PSA23. The tool is designed to orient pharmacists with the PPS, educate them about how to use the Standards in the new structure and describe the actions in the PPS. 

Pharmacists will be able to accrue CPD points for using the implementation tool. The tool will also generate an action plan to help pharmacists directly apply the Standards and improve their practice.

‘We have worked to ensure the actions contained in the Standards clearly articulate the expectations of pharmacists, so there’s no confusion in terms of what they need to do,’ said Mr Warner.

Get involved

The PPS consultation, which takes place from Monday 20 February until 5:00 pm on Friday 17 March, will collate feedback from pharmacists from all areas of practice and specialties, pharmacy bodies, consumer groups, other members of the healthcare team, and subject-matter experts across various areas of pharmacy practice.

Pharmacists can shape the profession by providing feedback on the Standards usability, and whether they convey clear and concise minimum expectations of what pharmacists should do when providing a service.

‘It’s a great opportunity for pharmacists to get involved in something that affects all pharmacists, in all practice settings,’ added Mr Warner.

The draft revision of Professional Practice Standards and feedback form can be accessed here.