4.1 Assessing your knowledge and competence
You are assessed in two ways.
- Firstly, you are assessed against the pre-registration performance standards so you can show that you can carry out specified tasks in a particular way.
- Secondly, you must sit the registration assessment to demonstrate your understanding of the knowledge and outcomes in the registration assessment framework (which is relevant to working as a pharmacist), as well as your calculations ability.
These two assessment methods have been designed to complement each other and give a broader picture of your ability.
The theory behind assessment in the pre-registration year is broadly based on Miller’s Triangle, which is used to describe levels of competence. It starts at the bottom and works upwards, and every step is a building block towards the next level.
Level 1: The first level is ‘knows’, or demonstrating that you know something.
Level 2: The next level is ‘knows how’, or applying your knowledge to show that you know what it is for. So ‘knows how’ is tested in written examinations such as tests in MPharm or OSPAP courses.
Level 3: The next level is ‘shows how’, that is, you should be able to show how something is done. This is often in a simulated environment such as a classroom.
Level 4: The last level in the process is ‘does’, when you have moved beyond ‘showing how’ to ‘doing’. You are able to routinely do it in a reliable and safe way in a real environment such as a pharmacy.
An example of this process is dispensing. As a pre-registration pharmacist, you will have already completed the first two stages. You will begin at level 3 able to ‘show how’ to dispense a prescription. But this may have been on a limited number of occasions in pharmacy practice classes or in an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).
Your pre-registration year really focuses on this last step in the process, progressing from ‘shows how’ to ‘does’ – from the classroom to the real world. Under supervision as a trainee, you will be expected to repeatedly, accurately and safely dispense in a pharmacy.
The earlier steps are often based on logic and are easy to plan. But this last step demands thorough analysis of how you can incorporate a skill into an everyday situation and remain able to reflect on it as a learning experience. The ‘does’ situations are real, time pressured and can be complex.
4.2 Progress reports
Don’t worry if you only have a handful of the performance standards signed off at the week-13 stage. It is likely that your tutor will be monitoring your performance for both consistency and your ability to adapt your skills and behaviours appropriately to a range of different situations.
Your tutor will still sign your progress report as satisfactory if you have met their expectations for this stage of training.
If you do get an unsatisfactory progress report at any stage you should:
- send the original to the GPhC, keep a copy in your file and make sure your tutor has a copy
- send us a copy of your assessment summary
- treat this as a warning sign that you will need to make changes
- not be discouraged, but it is vital that you and your tutor agree clear expectations that would result in a ‘satisfactory’ outcome at the next progress report
- review your progress against the expectations of an earlier progress report if this is your second unsatisfactory report. For example, if your week-26 report is unsatisfactory, your tutor should say whether they would be prepared to sign you off as at a ‘satisfactory’ stage for a trainee at week 13
- talk to your training manager or another colleague. You can also get in touch with the RPS mentor scheme, or other pre-registration networks if you need more help.