4.5 Developing your competence
You should develop your competence by:
- agreeing development objectives
- agreeing your learning contract
- developing an outline training plan
- gathering a portfolio of evidence to prove your competence
- taking responsibility for your own development
- meeting all the GPhC’s pre-registration performance standards and learning outcomes
- passing the GPhC’s registration assessment
4.6 Assessing your competence as it develops
We encourage you to keep a learning log of daily activities and significant events. You can use this later to create:
- a CPD entry - see our main website where you can download forms (with guidance) to record CPD entries, or
- another reflective account that records evidence of your competence in the relevant performance standards.
See the section below on recording your progress for more information.
Satisfactorily performing an activity just once is unlikely to prove your competence. You must demonstrate your competence consistently, in a variety of circumstances, to the standard expected of a newly registered pharmacist.
Your tutor is responsible for judging whether you have reached the necessary level of competence. This judgement should be evidence based and not a subjective decision. It should be supported by written and observed examples. If you do not agree with a judgement, ask your tutor for specific examples of your practice to clarify why they made it.
Your tutor should also assess whether you have the knowledge that you will need to demonstrate in the registration assessment, as you will need to have this knowledge to practise competently. This is part of the ongoing monitoring of your performance and should be done by open questioning such as:
- what would you have done if …?
- what factors did you take into account when you decided to…?
- what else would be important if …?
- in what circumstances would you ...?
- how would you ...?
4.7 Once you have achieved a performance standard
Once you have achieved a performance standard to the level required of a newly registered pharmacist, your tutor can sign it off. They do this on the assessment summary form.
Once you have achieved a standard you no longer need to collect evidence about it. But you will still be expected to demonstrate competence in practice. Your tutor may, if they have a good reason, reverse their decision if your performance becomes unsatisfactory in a performance standard you have already achieved.
If you have more than one tutor during your training, the expectations of each tutor could be different- which could lead to different opinions of your overall performance.
The tutor who signs off your final declaration ultimately takes responsibility for the overall decision that you are competent.
If you change tutors during the year, it is reasonable for a new tutor to ask you to provide further evidence to confirm that you meet any standards that have previously been signed off. This will help to make sure that they are able to make an informed decision.
Where there is a joint tutoring arrangement in place, or a planned handover of responsibility, we would expect the tutors to communicate with each other to inform their assessment decisions.
Feedback tells you how you are progressing. It can be good motivation to focus on things you have performed well. It can also be developmental – getting feedback about what you need to achieve or something that you need to improve. It may be an area that needs you to take ownership of tasks and decision-making processes.
As part of a constructive feedback process you should remember the following:
- lead the process, with your tutor asking for your views on your own performance before commenting
- use evidence such as facts and observed examples, rather than hearsay or assumptions
- give and receive feedback regularly – this stops you being overwhelmed with lots of it all in one go
- choose a suitable environment that allows honesty and openness in the discussion
- use appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication such as tone, pitch and body language
- be positive and act upon feedback as an aid to your personal development
- respect and ask for your tutor’s opinion
- reflect on the possible consequences of the course of action you are discussing and consider the possible outcome, whether better or worse, if you had chosen a different course of action
- identify and agree ways to improve your performance, with an appropriate time limit for reassessing your performance in that particular area
- remember it is a two-way process – you should provide constructive feedback for your tutor and their development
Most of these ideas depend on you and your tutor working together, so you both need to be committed to them. If you feel something isn’t happening in the way it should, be sure to talk to your tutor about it.
4.9 Managing problems and raising concerns
When issues crop up in the workplace, it is important that you try to sort these out locally and as soon as you can. However difficult a problem may seem, the experience of recognising, managing and resolving it can benefit you. It will help you develop the skills to manage the difficulties that you are bound to face during your future practice. You can manage and resolve problems between you and your tutor, and benefit from the experience.
If you feel a problem between you and your tutor is impossible for you to solve, you should first try to get help from a more experienced colleague or a senior manager. If there is a pre-registration manager, ask them for guidance. In some organisations you can get support from the regional or national pre-registration coordinators. It is important to tell them about any significant issues.
Performance standards A3.1 to A3.5 say you must demonstrate your competence in defining problems, and evaluating options to resolve or manage them. This does not only mean managing problems relating to patient care. Skills in this area apply in other circumstances too.
Problems with your personal training can be complicated, as they may have several causes. It is therefore important for you to define the elements of your problem. Often, the problem can be mainly about employment issues that the GPhC (as the pharmacy regulator) can’t help with. But there are several organisations that will be able to help you with these types of problem.
Once you have planned how to deal with the employment aspects of your problem, you should consider any other aspects. Then see our guidance to help you decide whether it is appropriate to raise a concern with us.
If you would like to discuss an issue further, you can email a pre-registration training facilitator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4.10 Recording your progress
You should produce a portfolio of evidence throughout your training period which includes copies of all your documentation and evidence to support your performance. We recommend you use the revalidation CPD recording resources on the main GPhC website, to help you prepare for future practice.
It is very important to keep an up-to-date working portfolio. If you had an unexpected change of circumstances, such as a period of absence or a move to a different training site, it would help you continue your training ‘seamlessly’.
We do not specify how much evidence you need to meet the satisfactory level of competence. Mainly, it is the quality not the quantity of the evidence that is most important. However, one piece of evidence would rarely be enough to demonstrate competence. There are some exceptions to this – for example, the first-aid certificate you need to achieve performance standard C2.10.
One piece of evidence might apply to several of the performance standards, and we expect this to be documented in the written evidence.
Make sure you can justify, if challenged, why you consider that the evidence demonstrates competence against the standards claimed. If a piece of evidence clearly demonstrates competence against standards that you may not have considered, your tutor should point this out to you.
4.11 Reporting your progress to the GPhC
As well as having your regular discussions, you and your tutor must carry out a formal progress review every 13 weeks. You must then fill in a progress report form. Your assessment summary should also be updated to show how much progress you have made towards demonstrating the performance standards.
Progress must be assessed as ‘satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory’.
You should then agree an action plan for the next period of your training, based on:
- any development needs identified in your progress report
- the opportunities available in your training plan, and
- the performance standards you have yet to satisfy
If you cannot carry out your progress reviews at, or near, the time they are due, you should tell us. If the week-39 report cannot be done on time please contact us.
If you have a split, joint or sandwich placement, your final declaration must be signed at the end of that placement, at 26 weeks before you leave. This will tell us when you apply to register that your training at that site has been completed successfully. You can send us a change of training details form once you have started your second six-month placement, to ensure that we have the correct address for you.
You and your tutor should keep copies of all your reports as we may ask for them at any time. If your progress report is unsatisfactory at the 13- or 26-week stage, you must send it to us when it is completed. If your report is unsatisfactory please see section 5.2. of the manual.