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Pre-registration Trainee Pharmacist Project Awards Day

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Does the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) expect me to enter the Project Awards? Is it compulsory?

Although entering your project for the Project Awards is not compulsory, the GPhC expect pre-registration trainee pharmacists to have successfully carried out a small, planned audit assignment (performance standard A4.8). Therefore, we encourage all pre-registration trainee pharmacists to work towards completing their audit by the competition’s deadlines and to take the opportunity to share and if short listed, present their work on the project awards day. Completing a project is an excellent opportunity to show a range of your skills and can give you a great sense of achievement.

Q: Do I need to write a detailed full version of the project in addition to an abstract?

For the purpose of the project awards, we do not require a detailed full version of your project. If the findings of your project are very significant and have major implications to practice, your hospital may ask for further information e.g. full presentation of all your results.  This would be a major achievement to see your work recognised and you should discuss this with your supervisor/tutor. In most hospitals, you will be asked to present your results to the pharmacy department.

Q: What is the difference between research and audit?

The differences between research and audit are as follows.

Audit

Asks: Are we doing the right thing in the right way?

  • Determines whether guidelines and standards are being followed and whether best practice is being applied
  • Collects routine data
  • Results are only relevant locally, where they influence the practice of local healthcare professionals
  • Measures performance against standards, identifies possible improvements and introduces appropriate changes
  • Carried out on a relatively small population over a short time span  
  • Doesn’t involve the use of statistics
  • A cyclical series of reviews

Research

Asks: What is the right thing to do?

  • A series of “one-off” projects
  • Collects complex data
  • Often possible to generalise the findings
  • Generates new knowledge and evidence which then forms the basis of agreed guidelines and standards
  • Carried out on a large scale over a prolonged period
  • Involves complex statistical analysis

If your project has a research focus, ensure you have agreed this with your tutor. Research should not be overtly exhaustive but should include clear findings and recommendations. Further research may be one of your conclusions if you were auditing on a particular area.

Q: What is the difference between survey and audit?

The difference between survey and audit are as follows.

Survey

  • Usually involves identifying a problem and collecting data
  • No standards set
  • Useful to conduct prior to an audit as it may identify a problem
  • Does not measure performance against standards

Audit

  • Reviews performance, identifies possible improvements and introduces appropriate changes
  • Standards set
  • On-going process, repeated to improve standards
  • Measures performance against standards
  • Your project should be an audit and not be a survey. In your conclusions, you may wish to suggest that this is an area which requires a survey, but the focus of your project should be on audit or research as agreed with your tutor.

Q: Can I use questionnaires in my project?

You should think carefully about the overall objectives of your project which should be an audit of a subject area. You may wish to use questionnaires if this is relevant to your objectives and if it is a useful tool to extract data you need. By completing a questionnaire and presenting the results without linking it to your objectives will not be useful. You should think carefully about how you will design questionnaires, over what time frame, whether it will capture the data you need and whether it will help you.

Q: How much project time should I be allocated during the year?

Check with your work place rota/ training agreement to see if the document contains a ‘project week’ for your trust. The GPhC does not specify how much time should be allocated for their audit, only that you complete your project during the course of the year. Some trusts give trainees from 1 – 4 weeks to focus on their project. However much time you get (if any) would be given at the discretion of your manager/ project supervisor/ line manager in a particular rotation.

Q: Can I submit a project that has been carried out by two or more pre-registration trainee pharmacists?

Yes, as long as one pre-registration trainee pharmacist is prepared to put their name against the work and take the credit for it.

Q: Can I go over the maximum word count of 1000 word limit for the abstract?

No, the maximum limit word count (including references, appendices, images of text, forms etc and any text in graphs and tables) must be adhered to. You should also pay particular attention to the format requirements which are detailed in the project guidance section of our website. If your project does not meet any of the format requirements and word count limit, your project will not be short listed, although the standard of work may be exemplary. So, always check each of the guidance points stated before submitting.

Q: Are words, titles or texts used in graphs, tables and references included in the word count?

The words you use in tables, graphs and references including titles are all included within the word count.

Q: Will the project have any use after my pre-registration year is completed?

Completing your project is a great achievement. You may wish to include details of what new skills you gained whilst completing it on future job applications and in interviews. In some cases, you may even be contacted in the future by someone who wishes to seek further information on your findings, and seek consent in quoting your results for their project.

Your trust may also want to take the opportunity to present a poster of your work at one of the many pharmaceutical conferences.

Q: Although I need to complete the project, I am concerned that I will be short listed to present on the project awards day which is so close to the registration exam.

You should view the project award presentations as an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills and to share your achievements with your peers. To be selected is an accomplishment to state in your CV.  You should manage your time and you may wish to discuss protected time for your preparation but this will be at your tutor's discretion. We will provide guidance information on how to prepare oral and poster presentations.

While the GPhC registration assessment is in June, you should view your preparation as part of your normal work.