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Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacist Prescribing (PGCertPharmPres)

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It is an exciting time to be a pharmacist! Internationally, the role pharmacists can play in patient care is rapidly expanding and New Zealand is at the forefront of this. Legislation has now been passed that allows pharmacists to prescribe, and the numbers of New Zealand pharmacists registered to prescribe is steadily growing.

This innovation is in line with the Government's commitment to support health practitioners to work to their full capacity and provide better, sooner, more convenient access to services for patients. New Zealand's two Schools of Pharmacy are collaborating to train pharmacists in the competencies needed to be an effective and safe pharmacist prescriber.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacist Prescribing (PGCertPharmPres) is designed to prepare pharmacists with the knowledge, skills, and attributes to competently prescribe medicines within a collaborative health team environment. The programme is taught by a wide range of expert professionals including medical practitioners, bioethicists, lawyers, patient safety experts, clinical pharmacists, and academic staff.

Graduates of the Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacist Prescribing will be able to:

  • Demonstrate comprehensive pharmacotherapeutic knowledge of medicines within their proposed area(s) of prescribing practice
  • Access and evaluate relevant clinical information concerning individual patients in order to prescribe safely and effectively
  • Demonstrate skills in patient assessment, diagnosis and clinical decision-making to facilitate good prescribing decisions
  • Demonstrate competence in prescribing practice under supervision

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The role of pharmacist prescribers

Pharmacist prescribers are experienced pharmacists who work in patient focused roles in collaborative healthcare teams to optimise medicines use.

For example:

  • In Primary care, general practitioners are now referring patients to pharmacists, who assess the patient and work in partnership with them to optimise their ongoing medicine use and prescribe for them. Example areas of prescribing practice include renal, diabetes, hypertension, gout, and management of cardiovascular risk.
  • In hospitals, pharmacists are working as members of the clinical team who can now prescribe. Example areas of prescribing practice include renal, emergency admission, surgical preadmission, parenteral nutrition, paediatrics, and mental health

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To be advised.

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The Pharmacy Council of New Zealand has set the following pre-requisites for admission:

  • Entrants must hold registration in the Pharmacist scope of practice and hold a current Annual Practising Certificate issued by PCNZ
  • Entrants must have at least two years of recent, appropriate and relevant post-registration experience within a collaborative health team environment, in community or hospital care based setting
  • Entrants must be able to demonstrate that Competence Standards 1, 2, 4, and 5 of the Pharmacist scope of practice are applicable and part of their current practice
  • Entrants should demonstrate how they reflect on their own performance and take responsibility for own CPD
  • Entrants must have identified an area of clinical practice in which to develop their prescribing skills and have up-to-date clinical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical knowledge relevant to their intended area of prescribing practice
  • Entrants must have identified potential Designated Medical Practitioner(s) to provide supervision, support, and shadowing opportunities for the pharmacist to the education provider
  • Entrants must have discussed and identified their possible role(s) as a prescriber within the collaborative health team environment they intend to practice In addition, pharmacists undertaking the programme need the support of their manager to undertake the programme
  • Entrants must obtain their manager's approval to undertake the programme, to ensure they will be allocated work time to complete the practicum

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Pre-admission information

Information for pharmacists planning to apply for the Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmacist Prescribing for 2019

We encourage you to begin preparing for your application as early as possible as there are a number of steps that need to be undertaken before applying. Feedback from past applicants is that this may take some time to organise. Please check the closing dates for enrolment for 2019.

Read through the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand’s entry requirements for the programme and ensure you will be able to meet them all.

Discuss your plan to apply for the programme and a proposed prescribing role with relevant people in your organisation. The application requires confirmation of support from your manager, a Designated Medical Practitioner who had agreed to supervise your Practicum and the Clinical lead of your collaborative healthcare team.

We suggest the following issues should be included in your discussion on a proposed prescribing role:

  • What benefits to patient care and the organisation are anticipated from introducing a pharmacist prescriber? Consider Government, DHB, PHO priorities.
    • Note: The government has supported the introduction of pharmacist prescribing as it is in line with its commitment to support health practitioners to work to their full capability, to improve access to integrated health services for patients, and ultimately achieve better health outcomes.
  • Identification of a service or patient need that will benefit from pharmacist prescribing
  • How will the prescribing role be supported? Does funding need to be arranged or a business case written for this? Consider potential for improved efficiency and effectiveness, with the introduction of a pharmacist prescriber.
    • The following article provides useful information: Butt M, Nicholls J. Make the case for pharmacist prescribing in your organisation. Clinical Pharmacist, Vol. 5, p113 | URI: 11120704. prescribing-in-your-organisation/11120704.article

PGCertPharmPres Pre-Admission Form (PDF)

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Mentor information

Information for doctors considering mentoring a pharmacist to become a pharmacist prescriber (PDF)

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Contacts for further information on pharmacist prescriber roles

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