Continuing Professional Development

The PSI is currently implementing an appropriate and effective system of mandatory CPD for pharmacists in Ireland, in line with the recommendations of the Review of International CPD models.

Read more about the CPD review project in CPD Review.

Transition To Lifelong Learning

Statutory Obligation
The Pharmacy Act 2007 introduced mandatory continuing professional development for pharmacists in Ireland. In order to be accepted for continued registration, all pharmacists now sign a declaration on an annual basis that they undertake to ‘maintain appropriate experience in the practice of pharmacy, keep abreast of continuing education and professional developments in the profession of pharmacy and undertake appropriate continuing professional development relevant to the practice of pharmacy'.

The PSI Council, following the recommendations of the Review of International CPD Models commissioned in 2010, established the Irish Institute of Pharmacy (the Institute) at the end of 2011 as the most appropriate structure to oversee the CPD system on behalf of the Council of the PSI.

New CPD System
To facilitate this professional obligation, a new system of CPD is now being developed. This new CPD system is not based on a traditional CPD points system or accumulation of contact hours. Instead all pharmacists will be encouraged to adopt a more reflective approach to learning and to identify their own learning and development needs based on the skills and competencies required for their particular professional practice. The intention is that a pharmacist's development should encompass a balanced range of activities carried out across the learning spectrum over a period of time, such as five years. Pharmacists will be encouraged and facilitated to participate in a range of learning activities which meet their individual needs, enabling them to retain their capacity to practise safely, effectively and legally within their evolving career and scope of practice.

To enable pharmacists to record, evaluate and demonstrate their professional development, a ‘CPD portfolio’ is currently being developed. This portfolio will function as a structured template for pharmacists to help them assess their learning needs and track the fulfillment of their individual outcomes-based learning plan. The CPD portfolio can also be used by pharmacists as a guide to evaluate and reflect on their learning activities and to document their professional development.

The new CPD system will be flexible, enabling pharmacists to demonstrate their professional development in a style that best suits their requirements. It will also take into account the many types of learning in which pharmacists can engage in order to progress their professional development. These range from ‘Informal Learning’ (interactive, practical, ‘on-the-job’ learning from experience that traditionally does not lead to certification but is important for the professional role or for the benefit of particular patients within a practice setting); through to participation in ‘Formal Learning’ (structured learning courses which lead to formal recognition of learning outcomes delivered by education providers or training institutions). The system will accommodate all learning activities necessary for a pharmacist’s career development as well as those necessary to address the health care needs of local communities and the contribution of pharmacists to national, integrated health services.

Details of some of the ‘Formal Learning’ programmes currently offered by the three schools of pharmacy in Ireland that may be considered for the purposes of CPD are available below. The individual learning providers should be contacted directly for detailed and up to date information on courses available. Please note, these lists are simply provided as examples of current programmes on offer through the Irish higher education system. There are however many other Higher Education Institutes and learning providers, in Ireland and elsewhere, providing valuable courses which are of interest to pharmacists and which are acceptable for the purposes of CPD.

Pharmacists will be kept informed of developments during the roll out of the new CPD model to facilitate their engagement with professional development activities.

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