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Preparing hospital pharmacists to prescribe: stakeholders’ views of postgraduate courses



Dr Rebekah Moles, Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Room N517, Pharmacy Building A15, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.




To explore pharmacy stakeholders’ views on developing a postgraduate course to prepare hospital pharmacists for collaborative prescribing in Australia.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with pharmacy stakeholders from universities, hospitals and professional organisations (n = 25) to gather views on the content, structure and delivery methods of a possible postgraduate prescribing course for pharmacists. Transcripts were analysed thematically and coded using NVivo software.

Key findings

There was strong support for collaborative prescribing as an appropriate role for advanced pharmacist practitioners and acknowledgement that further training is needed to implement this new role. It was proposed that postgraduate training for hospital pharmacists should be based on a national prescribing competency framework and participants highlighted key aspects of the prescribing process in which pharmacists need particular up-skilling: diagnosis, physical assessments, clinical decision-making and consultations. The training model used in the UK was favoured, where candidates undertake university-based study combined with collaborative training with a doctor and a practical assessment of competency.


The findings from this study have provided valuable information which can provide a pathway for the development of a postgraduate course to prepare Australian hospital pharmacists for prescribing. Future research should focus on uncovering the perceptions of Australian doctors, nurses and policy makers on the training requirements needed for pharmacist prescribing in the hospital setting. Stakeholders’ views on pharmacist prescribing training in the community setting could also be explored.