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APTUK IPP Bulletin article June 2023

APTUK IPP Bulletin article June 2023

Inclusive Pharmacy Practice (IPP) Bulletin focus this summer is improving diversity of people in senior pharmacy professional leadership roles, through supporting and developing the students, trainees and early career professionals. Fiona Smit, a Pre-Registration Trainee Pharmacy Technician (PTPT), gave us an insight into a PTPT’s training and learning journey in relation to inclusive pharmacy practice encompassing the aspects of diversity and inclusion. Fiona has previously written an article in the Autumn Pharmacy Technician Journal (PTJ) title “Started with a Comment on Social Media”. Within this article she shared her experiences and views of racial diversity, including the impact Black History Month had on her; to read more please find this PTJ article on our website.  Fiona was asked as a follow on from her article to take part in an interview to express her views of the current topic for IPP Bulletin.

Q: What do you believe diversity in senior leadership means to our grass roots level members? 

Trust and being relatable.  

 Q: How do you feel the profession is making progressive and impactful steps towards inclusive practice? 

There always could be more, more progress more inclusivity but we have to see the little steps and the active roles people are taking to make the practice more inclusive. Pharmacy needs to continue being open to change and to continue to work at it.  

 Q: As a PTPT, what does inclusive pharmacy practice (IPP) mean to you? 

Inclusive practice means the ability to have all the people and tools required to be able to do your job to the best of your ability, and in reflection to today's society and demographics.

Q: Within the PTPT course, how is the topic of senior leadership taught? 

I would say the course looks at becoming the leader and embodying the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) standards once qualified.  There is an in-depth look into leadership styles, team member roles and the pro's and con's within how a team works. 

Q: Do you see yourself being well equipped, through your PTPT course, to take on leadership roles in the future and why?

You get out what you put in as they say.  The course is strengthening my people skills that I already have whilst giving me more insight and ability to improve on other life skills.  The range of different activities through the course work supports the ability to take on leadership roles.  The practical work time within the course also allows for taking on further opportunities that arise within the organisational.   

Q: Are there any improvements you could suggest for the PTPT course with regards to Inclusive pharmacy practice, and achieving diversity in senior leadership within every pharmacy team?  

More culture-based learning within the course to strengthen the norm of diversity within pharmacy.  There could be topics like medicines during Ramadhan, signs to spotting skin conditions on all skin colours, Sickle cell disease or diseases more prone to specific groups of people, anatomy illustrations that are on different body and skin types. Also looking at language used in the course- make it more inclusive and real to life.  

Q: What, if any, are the enablers of diversity senior leadership? Continually evaluating, contemplating and learning.  It requires honesty and a look at the current practice and how we can do better.  We must “talk the talk to be able to walk the walk”. There is still the trust barrier within communities' reluctance to use the health service, working on that will also help diversity within all sectors. 

Q: How does diversity affect you as a PTPT?

There are many different people out there and working in healthcare you can meet people in a vulnerable time of their life, thus empathy and respect are key requirement, as is the ability to be open minded and adaptable to many situations and realising that people are not alike.  

This interview features areas of improvement and celebration. Celebrate that we, as a profession, have made profound impactful strides, with the establishment of inclusive practice and leadership being taught in the training programme to our PTPTs. This give us confidence that the profession is progressing in developing and equipping the future inclusive leaders and senior representatives with skills and knowledge that the IPP agenda is promoting. Fiona has provided a fantastic and intuitive perception as a PTPT. There were many imperative points that she expressed throughout this interview, specifically touching upon cultural competence and further developmental needs to improve culture-based learning, which will benefit the care provisions we provide in our day-to-day practice as pharmacy professionals. IPP principles can be applied to all sectors of pharmacy and Fiona mentions the need to work closely with the communities we serve and our colleagues to break down the barriers and stigmas, which can at times act as disablers and obstacles in obtaining the diversity we seek in our senior leadership representatives.

As the IPP advances, I believe we must not demerit the affect that diversity brings to our practice as pharmacy technicians. Conversely, we should look to build on the valuable work the IPP programme has highlighted and empower the pharmacy technicians at grassroots level to become the inclusive leaders and advocate for diversity in senior leadership in the future.

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