Kirstie Galbraith one of Australia’s first Advanced Practice Pharmacists

In an Australian first, Monash pharmacy graduate and staff member Kirstie Galbraith has been recognised as one of the first Advanced Practice Pharmacists by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC).  Ms Galbraith is one of 29 pharmacists in Australia and New Zealand whose performance has been independently evaluated by the APC against criteria of the Australian Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework (APPF) and formally credentialed as an advanced practitioner.

The APC undertook a credentialing of advanced practice pharmacists pilot program throughout 2015. The pilot used the APPF, which describes 30 advanced competencies across three levels of advancement, as a tool for evaluating practitioner performance and guiding development. Forty-three pharmacists who took part in the pilot program demonstrated the impact of their practice via a portfolio of their training, achievements and experience.  Following independent evaluation by a panel of trained credentialing evaluators, candidates were recognised at one of the three levels of advancement. The findings for the pilot program will inform the roll-out of a formal program of advanced practice recognition for Australia.

Ms Galbraith who is the Director of Postgraduate Studies and Professional Development Unit at Monash's Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences says the pilot program is a strong and much needed foundation for the future of formal professional development and recognition of Australian pharmacists. "I am very excited to be part of an initiative that has implications for our entire profession. I expect over time many pharmacists, who are performing at a level beyond that of initial registration, will seek recognition of their more advanced capabilities via this pathway".

There is an international trend towards a wide range of national initiatives aimed at practitioner advancement.  A recent report prepared by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), which Ms Galbraith co-authored, shows that the use of national frameworks such as the APPF, is a key activity for the global development of the pharmacy workforce.

Benefits of developing and recognizing advancement in pharmacy practice include enhanced professional development pathways.  It also enables pharmacists working at a recognised level of advancement to more effectively manage complexity in many areas of expert practice including research, education and management.