Importance of CPD: 2023 deadline is fast approaching

Each year, registered pharmacists are required to submit at least six (6) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) entries by 31 December. Pharmacists are encouraged to record their CPD activities in areas including but not limited to lessons and skills learnt while practising, and any knowledge retained from journal articles, seminars, workshops and/or training courses. The intention of recording CPD activities is for pharmacists to reflect on the outcomes they have achieved in the annual cycle and how they intend to improve their skills to ultimately provide better and equal healthcare for all.

Importance of CPD: 2023 deadline is fast approaching

As we approach the close of the year 2023, registered pharmacists are encouraged to take heed of the fast-approaching deadline. Registered and practising pharmacists are required to submit a minimum of six (6) CPD entries annually and this requirement is in line with the Regulations relating to Continuing Professional Development (hereafter “CPD Regulations”). These entries are to be made online on the SAPC CPD system. Furthermore, the pharmacist should keep a separate electronic portfolio of the evidence concerning their submissions.

According to the CPD Regulations, the deadline is extended by 31 days into the following year however, pharmacists are encouraged to submit their CPD entries throughout the year to avoid submitting rushed entries that may not capture the thorough reflections of the pharmacist’s experience.

In the event that a practising pharmacist misses the submission deadline, that pharmacist will be designated non-compliant and non-practising. Furthermore, practising pharmacists who are Responsible Pharmacists and tutors may face disciplinary action. A non-practising pharmacist is prohibited from practising the prescribed scope of practice of a pharmacist and this includes but is not limited to working in direct non-clinical relationships with patients, any management or administration work, advisory and policy development roles, and any other roles that have an impact on the delivery of services within the pharmacy profession.

Completing the annual declaration

The annual declaration must be done each year by 1 February. This declaration is to designate yourself as a practising or non-practising pharmacist by completing the list of questions that determine your degree of participation in activities related to your scope of practice. Designation as a practising pharmacist will be indicated by participation in one or more activities related to the scope of practice of a pharmacist. The CPD Regulations stipulate that should a pharmacist fail to provide an annual declaration by the deadline, the pharmacist will be auto-designated by the SAPC (hereafter Council) whose designation will depend on the previous year’s designation and/or CPD compliance status.

Ways to submit your CPD entries

Council offers two (2) ways in which a pharmacist may choose to submit CPD entries. There is a four-step cycle beginning with reflection followed by planning, implementation, and evaluation. Then there is the second option which is the two-step cycle which includes only the implementation and evaluation steps. Pharmacists are encouraged to submit at least one (1) CPD entry bi-monthly as this will lessen the load towards the end of the year and help avoid delayed submissions. Manual submissions are not acceptable under any circumstances. All CPD submissions must be made online and the pharmacist should keep a separate electronic portfolio of the evidence.

In the interest of developing the pharmacist in both their personal and professional capacity, the format of the CPD entries allows pharmacists to introspect and reflect on how they plan to better their skills and to track their progress in areas they may have lacked in previous years. While their CPD entries are primarily guided by the scope of practice, pharmacists may also include activities they partook in that developed them in their personal capacity which adds to their value as holistic pharmacy professionals.

The virtue of healthcare professionals is to continuously search for and employ innovative and efficient ways to service the public. Hence, pharmacists are encouraged to immerse themselves in the opportunity to reflect and display an understanding of where they need to improve and how they intend to do so using the appropriate learning method.

Guides for CPD success

The Office of the Registrar has made a multiplicity of resources available for pharmacists to ensure success in the CPD entries. Pharmacists are encouraged to access the CPD Guidance Document and the how-to articles and videos, among others, via the SAPC CPD Blog.

There is also an official SAPC YouTube Channel that has tutorials and recordings of previous CPD Masterclass sessions, which may be accessed at any time to learn and refresh your memory on the CPD requirements, submission steps and other important guides for submitting CPDs. A full CPD playlist is available here.

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