Objective: To explore pharmacists' perceived needs on training required to undertake an expanded prescribing role taking account of their years of registration, current professional practice area and preferred prescribing model.
Methods: A piloted self-administered questionnaire was distributed nationally to a random sample of pharmacists. Data were analysed using SPSS version18 software where data cross-tabulations, chi-squared and one-way analyses of variance were performed.
Key findings: A response rate of 40.4% (1049/2592) was achieved. Pathophysiology of conditions, principles of diagnosis, and patient assessment and monitoring were the most preferred training topics. There was no difference (P = 0.620) in pharmacists' perceived needs for additional training with respect to the model of prescribing (i.e. supplementary or independent or both) and years of registration as pharmacists (P = 0.284). However, consultant pharmacists were less supportive of the need for additional training (P = 0.013). Pharmacists' years of registration and professional practice influenced their training topic preferences. Supporters of an independent prescribing model only demonstrated a weaker preference for training in key therapeutic topics (P = 0.001).
Conclusions: This study provides information on key areas for consideration when training pharmacists for an expanded prescribing role. Although most pharmacists preferred a supplementary model of prescribing where doctors retain their diagnostic role, their strongest training preferences were for topics that provided pharmacists with further skills in patient diagnosis, assessment and monitoring.