Background Hospital pharmacists working in the Italian SSN need a compendium of leadership and management skills. Currently, the health system does not envisage in-depth assessment of these skills when it comes to choosing heads of department who coordinate and manage other professionals. So we have to envisage meeting these training needs, mostly for the heads of departments, services and pharmacies. We think that even if shared leadership is not restricted to such people, head pharmacists and experienced practitioners should be trained for the greater complexity and responsibility of their roles. The BEAM summit held by the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) offered material and tools with which to disseminate this knowledge in Italy.
Purpose The first step probably is for head pharmacists and experienced practitioners to become aware of the skills they have in this field; therefore an on-line internet survey for SSN pharmacists is being organised to cheque the situation regarding individual knowledge. Furthermore, the intention is to raise awareness of the areas of expertise required among the pharmacy colleagues and communicate their personal level of knowledge and their leadership and management abilities to SIFO. Courses can then be designed to cover areas of skills that are most lacking. Later on, all of those who have got a global mark below the expected value will be invited to attend more training to fill in the gaps regarding these competences.
Materials and Methods The aim is to use the leadership competence framework of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in which competency statements describe the activity all pharmacy professionals should be able to demonstrate. The statements will be subdivided by areas: 1) demonstrating personal qualities, 2) working with others, 3) managing services, 4) improving services, 5) setting directions. To develop the questionnaire, we will ask questions based on examples of situations pharmacists may be faced with in their daily work. The statements will be handed over to experienced practitioners and each question will have several possible answers, each of them providing a different rating (10 being the most correct answer, 0 being the wrong one). The most correct answer will be set based on answers we expect from experienced pharmacists with leadership skills. The software used will limit the time to answer each question. The final score will be shown as a percentage and those receiving a total score higher than 50% will be considered sufficiently competent. The data will be statistically analysed and means, medians, by age, by region, by function, by area, etc. will be calculated. Attending a specific training course will be recommended to those individuals that achieve a score under 50%. The software that will be used is Question Writer professional 4, which is licenced to SIFO.
Results In order to be able to present the results at the EAHP congress in Paris, the questionnaire will be available online, to be answered during January–February 2012. The SIFO will dispatch the survey to some 2000 SSN pharmacists via email making use of the society’s mailing list. The results will be presented in a poster and the final situation about the general skills of Italian SSN pharmacists regarding leadership will be presented by area as specified in the RPS framework. These results will provide an overview of the knowledge of Italian pharmacists and SIFO intends to arrange specific training courses in follow-up and to encourage the participants who do not get good scores to engage in autonomous training.
Conclusions Pharmacists’ awareness of leadership and management, acquired by completing the questionnaire and being awarded an individual skills level, will be an incentive for the SIFO and other professionals to undertake the necessary corrective activities, such as education and specific training. We would like to start a self-awareness path regarding the importance of leadership competences in the personal CVs of pharmacists working in the Italian SSN. The ultimate aims of improving leadership skills are improved cost-effectiveness, better quality services, and risk reduction in patients who benefit from the SSN services. The questionnaire will be available in English, for it to be used within the EAHP and other European scientific societies.
No conflict of interest.