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Education & training

What happens during a peer discussion?

Danielle Stacey, a Lead Pharmacist in Antimicrobials, recently discussed her practice with some expert UKCPA peers. She found it insightful and valuable.

I was apprehensive at the thought of completing a peer discussion. But I had spent a lot of time working on my Faculty portfolio and assessing my own perceived stage of practice, and I was keen to get some impartial feedback on my performance.

I chose to complete the first of my discussions at the UKCPA Conference. I was keen to discuss my work with someone outside of my own workplace so that I could get an alternative perspective. 

My first step was to decide which case to discuss. During my day to day practice I encounter many interesting cases and make effective interventions. In order to select the best example of my practice, I looked at the case based discussion assessment formand considered the competencies I was expected to demonstrate through my case discussion. 

After careful thought, I decided to discuss a service improvement project I had implemented as I felt this was one of the best examples of my practice and it demonstrated competencies across the first two clusters of the Advanced Pharmacy Framework.

I was initially nervous going into the discussion, but I needn’t have been. My assessors were very welcoming and instantly made me feel at ease. They invited me to talk through my case and asked me questions which encouraged me to expand on my discussion. My assessors asked me why I did what I did, what other options I considered and why they were discounted. This challenged me to reflect on my practice and question my approach. This led me to talk about what I had learnt and what I would do differently next time.

The feedback described the strengths that I had demonstrated and suggested some opportunities to develop my practice further

At the end of the discussion, the assessors provided me with written and verbal feedback.  The feedback described the strengths that I had demonstrated and suggested some opportunities to develop my practice further.  We also discussed how the case mapped to the Advanced Pharmacy Framework. The assessors helped me to realise that I could map some competencies at a higher stage than I had identified myself.

The discussion provided far more insight than I had expected. I wanted to hear how others perceived my practice, but I unexpectedly found that it enabled me to reflect on my practice in a way which I would not have done otherwise. The assessors asked me questions that I would not have asked of myself and this challenged my thinking. 

The experience made me realise that we should all be completing peer discussions regularly to support our professional development. It is something that I will continue to do and will encourage my peers to do the same.

What does a peer discussion involve?

The aim of a peer discussion (often called a case based discussion, because it focusses on a specific case, project or scenario) is that it is a supportive discussion between you and a peer. It is not an exam – you cannot pass or fail. You will be able to share your experience and receive advice on how to develop yourself.

The discussion should take between 15 and 25 minutes. You can choose what you would like to discuss. This could be clinical or patient facing, or it might be non-clinical – perhaps a service improvement initiative or a scenario involving leadership or management.

What are the benefits to me?

A peer discussion will allow you to demonstrate your strengths and achievements and identify areas where you could develop further, in a relaxed and supportive environment. The topic or case you wish to discuss is entirely up to you. The key points of the discussion can be captured by your peer on a form which you can then submit as evidence for your GPhC CPD. You can also use the form for your RPS Foundation or Faculty portfolio.

Would you like an opportunity to discuss a recent patient case or scenario with an experienced pharmacy colleague in a supportive environment? We offer free peer discussion opportunities for UKCPA members at our learning events. Please contact us if you are interested.

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