Alabama Hospital Pharmacists Climb Meritorious Ladder to Meet Career Goals
Known as "Guidelines for Faculty Recognition," the program has helped bolster "pride in the hospitals pharmacy practice by establishing certain expectations of pharmacists," said Nancy Cooper, senior pharmacist and chairwoman of the pharmacys education committee.
Cooper said her 900-bed hospital has established guidelines for three levels of progression: practitioner, specialty practitioner, and preceptor. As of March 5, 47% of the pharmacists have met the requirements to become practitioners, 15% have reached the level of specialty practitioner, and about 26% have obtained preceptor status; another 8% were recently hired or are training to become practitioners.
Requirements for Each Rung on Career Ladder
Specialty practitioner level
"Not all practitioners may want to go on to be specialty practitioners, and not all specialty practitioners may want to be preceptors," she said. "It depends on what their goals are and what they can fit into their lives. Because we have some pharmacists who work part time or prefer to rotate to different patient care areas, they may not meet the requirements to become specialty practitioners or preceptors."
Pharmacists who have completed a Pharm.D. degree and a residency program, Cooper said, need no additional practice experience to be considered by the pharmacys education committee for preceptor status. Pharmacists who have completed a residency but do not have a Pharm.D. degree need at least one year of practice experience to be considered for preceptor. Pharmacists with a Pharm.D. degree but who did not complete a residency program are required to have at least three years of practice experience. And pharmacists with a bachelor of science degree must have at least five years of practice experience to be considered for preceptor status.
The program does include a fourth level of progression, Cooper added, that of residency program director. For that level, attained by 4% of the departments pharmacists, the department adopted the requirements established by ASHPs Commission on Credentialing.
As a reward for reaching the practitioner level, pharmacists are eligible for departmental support to attend continuing-education (CE) meetings.
The benefits of obtaining specialty practitioner status include preferential scheduling and first consideration, ahead of pharmacists at the practitioner level, for departmental support to attend CE meetings.
Cooper said the prospect of having a "meritorious leadership role to guide students through rotations" acts as an incentive for a pharmacist to seek preceptor status. Also, she said, preceptors are rewarded with other decision-making roles, including the ability to accept students applying for a clinical rotation program. Preceptors are compensated with the same benefits provided to specialty practitioners concerning work schedules and consideration for CE meetings.
Pharmacists who attain the status of specialty practitioner or preceptor, Cooper said, are presented with a certificate of achievement from UABs pharmacy director, Mark Todd.
The program has acted as a good recruiting tool, Cooper said. Many studentsseveral of whom come to the hospital from nearby Samford Universitys McWhorter School of Pharmacywho have completed a clinical rotation or residency program at UAB Hospital and observed the leadership development program have stayed to join the more than 100 pharmacists at the hospital as full-time staff members, she said.