Welcome to The Pharmacy Training Twitter Club! 

About the Twitter club

We want to have a regular that with those involved in pharmacy to share information, thoughts and experiences and to help signpost people to resources to help them in their practice. Each chat will have a different focus and will be advertised on our website and on Twitter via @pharmtraining. A summary of the main points from the chat will be posted on our website after the chat. So to help you on your way, please see the guide below to help you get set up on Twitter and take part in our chats. See below for summaries of previous chats.

Chat on Tuesday 22 October @ 8pm - Pre-reg 13-Week Healthcheck 

This chat will focus on how the training year is going at the 13 week review stage. Is everything going to plan? Do you have concerns or has something gone really well that you want to tell everyone about? Do you want to chat to others about your experiences? Do you want some advice? By including the hashtag #ptcsm in their tweets, participants make sure everyone can see the conversation.  

Twitter basics

How to join Twitter

  1. Set up a Twitter account on www.twitter.com. It’s free to register and you simply need an email address and to set up a username. You can also add a photo although this is not essential
  2. It helps to write a short profile or bio of up to 140 characters
  3. See the support centre on Twitter to help you get started. Also have a look at the Twitter tour  https://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics/topics/182-announcements-and-new-stuff/articles/20169519-twitter-tour-let-us-show-you-around
  4. Remember tweets are a maximum of 140 characters so keep it short!
  5. Follow organisations and people that interest you
  6. Remember that Twitter is public so anyone can see your tweets unless you use direct messaging
  7. Send your first Tweet!

Follow us on Twitter

  1. Follow @pharmtraining and we’ll advertise chats here
  2. We will introduce the topic a few days before the chat is due to take place
  3. Tweet us with any pre-chat questions or suggestions adding the hashtag #ptcsm to your tweets

How to join the chat

  1. At the set date and time, search on Twitter for #ptcsm so that you can follow the chat
  2. Join in using the hashtag #ptcsm in all your tweets so that everyone (including those who are not specifically following you) can follow what you are saying
  3. You could also use other software/websites to help you here as it can be difficult to remember to keep adding the hashtag to your tweets. These sites add the hashtag in for you. Examples of these sites are TweetChat (http://tweetchat.com/) or TweetDeck (http://www.tweetdeck.com/). The easiest is TweetChat where you simply add ptcsm to the # box. Others also exist.
  4. The tweets can happen so fast that you can’t keep up! Don’t worry, we’ll post a summary of the chat on our website. We’ll tweet you the link

Previous Chats

Here’s are some short write-up of previous chats that captures the most important points made. If you think we’ve missed something really important please contact us via our contacts page.  Please pass this to your colleagues and friends!

Notes from the chat held on Thursday 11 April 

This chat focused on the following areas: revision, mock exams, preparing, calculations, GPhC sample questions, new style questions & reference sources, and preparing for day 1 as a pharmacist.  A summary under each of these headings can be found by clicking on this link at storify http://storify.com/pharmtraining/exam-prep .  We have also identified the top tips from the chat, which can be found below.

If you think we have missed something really important please contact us via our contacts page. Please pass this to your colleagues and friends!


  • Condense revision by using sample papers & article/book tests to identify areas of weakness then focus on these
  • Do NOT just read the BNF, apply it!
  • Check your university alumni - they may offer support
  • RPS OnTrack is an excellent resource. Associate members get 30 days free access
  • Make sure you do the GPhC sample questions and understand the rationale for the answers
  • A lot of GPhC explanations use www.patient.co.uk 
  • Look out for organisations that provide support - have you seen our course http://www.thepharmacytrainingcompany.co.uk/upcoming-courses.php
  • Make sure you keep doing sample questions, including calculations
  • Tutors need to practise calculations too so they can help support trainees
  • If the question is about a child, look it up in the BNFC. If it's about an adult use the BNF
  • Many people struggle with the open book paper simply due to not managing time well. You don't need to look up an answer if you know it!
  • You don't have to know everything on day 1!
  • Make sure you're prepared for locums with; the MEP, biscuits, pens, satnav, laminated RP sign, up to date paper BNF (just in case), and ring the store the day before to check the following; important messages, that someone knows how to open up & how to use the computer

Notes from Chat on Thursday 28 February

This chat focused on four areas: standards that are yet to be signed off, signing off these standards, tutor experience and learning styles. A summary under each of these headings can be found below.  If you think we’ve missed something really important please contact us via our contacts page. Please pass this to your colleagues and friends!

Standards yet to be signed off

  • @nerual_rose Performance standards? With most people past the 1/2 way mark, trainees need to identify those standards they have not yet achieved 
  • @pharmtraining What stds do people generally have difficulty finding evidence for? 
  • @nerual_rose Supervise others in an appropriate manner to ensure that agreed outcomes are achieved  
  • @MrDispenser counter staff?  
  • ‏@cathrynjbrown I'm a bit community focussed, but is there an area that you could be put in charge of for a week maybe? And at the start of the week, agree the outcomes with the team and review at the end 
  • ‏@MrDispenser Any student techs that need help with calculations etc? Supervise their training  
  • ‏@expatpharmacist what about emergency supply in hospital?  
  • @Gurinder_Singh1 In community they are lookin at us managing the dispensary frm very early stage. Great to build skills throughout year 
  • ‏@expatpharmacist think we talked about leadership before -maybe it's good to get as much practice as can from early on -leading team 
  • ‏@Gurinder_Singh1 Clinical service stds always difficult to get just becuase tutor wants to see as many evidences as pos so wnt sign off 
  • @RyanPharmilton Don't worry about not getting the clinical services ones signed off until the week 36 or 42 reviews. 
  • @pharmtraining Maybe it wld be good to look at the stds and divide them up into early, middle and late phase of training so you know what to expect?
  • @nerual_rose That would be a good idea. 
  • @cathrynjbrown then you don't feel overwhelmed by what's still to achieve as well
  • ‏@cathrynjbrown good plan, and remember it is a 52 week programme :)  
  • ‏@RyanPharmilton Could be useful. I try and get this across in my talk to PreRegs at @PharmacyShow. Need more universal guides 
  • @nerual_rose There's an evidence tracker on PJ online that my tutor and I feel is very useful. 

Signing off Performance Standards

  • ‏@pharmtraining How often would trainees like their evidence reviewed?  
  • @nerual_rose Every 2 weeks seems fine to me.  
  • @pharmtraining How often do tutors think they should be reviewing evidence? 
  • @HelenRoot I think monthly look at evidence is useful, especially when students need extra development. 13 weeks is a long  
  • ‏@cathrynjbrown I'm mostly locuming at the moment, I'm always surprised that trainees don't ask me to sign them off for anything while I'm there  
  • ‏@pharmtraining There's often a fear that only the tutor can witness evidence (not sign off the whole std) - this is not the case  
  • @RyanPharmilton I got cross sector and ward pharmacists to countersign my reflections/records. How my tutor knew I had done it! 
  • ‏@MrDispenser I always got locums to sign off evidences when I was a pre-reg  
  • @nerual_rose Most of my evidences are not witnessed by my tutor. I usually get a testimony, and photocopy any drug charts etc 
  • ‏@pharmtraining It's a question of tutor trusting other staff, but also involving them in the training and letting them know what std  
  • ‏@HelenRoot - agree can learn from everyone. locums/relief p'cists, dispensers, ACTs. HCAs...think outside the box 
  • @pharmtraining other healthcare professionals too-even in community! 

Tutor experience

  • @HelenRoot I loved being asked questions as a tutor. Tap in to the knowledge we've forgetten we've got  
  • ‏@Gurinder_Singh1 Some tutors hav found the pre-reg prog different - its changed over th yrs nd so need to retrain 
  • ‏@GaryParagpuri I've tutored in the past, but been a while. Very rewarding but tutors would benefit from training on 'coaching' skills
  • @HelenRoot  - it also allows development opportunities for other team members.  
  • @RyanPharmilton Couldn't agree more Gary. I think tutors need more support & training in coaching and giving feedback. 
  • ‏@HelenRoot - still amazed that GPhC don't have tighter tutor criteria. 3 years plus FTP only 
  • @CPPESouthWest CPPE guides such as mentoring and feedback can help with supporting tutor, pre-reg and others 

Learning styles

  • @nerual_rose Plus, I learn much more when working with different people who have different "styles"  
  • @pharmtraining We all need to remember that ppl learn differently and we need to adapt style to help achieve outcomes  
  • @pharmtraining Have you done learning styles test? Honey & Mumford is one of many  
  • ‏@nerual_rose my tutor and I did one at the beginning of the year to learn about each other. We also got taught about our "colour personalities" at our regional training days   
  • ‏@pharmtraining There's no excuse then ;) Sometime tutors forget about using different leadership/management styles 


  1. Some Performance Standards are more easily signed off earlier in the training year, others need the development of skills and are best signed off later. An example of one that may suit being signed off later is ‘supervise others in an appropriate manner to ensure that agreed outcomes are achieved’. Ideas on how to undertake tasks to provide evidence for this are listed below
  2. Identify which standards are best signed off in the early, middle and late phase of the training year
  3. Use the evidence tracker on PJ online to keep a record of your standards http://www.pjonline.com/blog_entry/prereg_evidence_tracker 
  4. Trainees like the evidence for their standards to be reviewed every 2 weeks
  5. Tutors like to review the evidence for the standards every 4 weeks
  6. A variety of healthcare professionals can witness the completion of tasks that provide evidence for your Performance Standards – use every opportunity to get a range of people to be involved 
  7. Tutors would benefit from training on coaching skills as well as giving feedback
  8. CPPE provide guides on topics such as mentoring and feedback http://www.cppe.ac.uk/
  9. Try to understand each other’s learning styles early in the training year and adapt these as needed
  10. Embrace every learning opportunity  

Examples of how to ‘supervise others in an appropriate manner to ensure that agreed outcomes are achieved’ 

  • Supervise counter staff or technicians
  • Is there an area that you could be put in charge of for a week maybe? And at the start of the week, agree the outcomes with the team with a review at the end
  • Can you be put in charge of a presentation and involve others too
  • Emergency supply in hospital? 
  • Are there any student techs that need help with calculations etc? Supervise their training 
  • Can you involve others that you supervise when undertaking your audit project?
  • Later in training, can you act as the dispensary manager?


Chat on Thursday 29 November - SMART objectives and preparing for Progress Report 2

This chat focused on reflecting on your 13 week review (Progress Report 1). Did you learn anything new from your feedback? Did you act on your feedback? Did you developed SMART objectives? Will you do anything differently for your next review? Did you want some advice?   

Main points of discussion were:

  • Take every opportunity you get to do something new
  • Collect quality evidence for the Performance Standards
  • Ensure you note down evidence as it happens
  • Lots to get used to - leadership and teamwork is vital
  • Demographics of pharmacy team - 90%of dispensers are female, of which 54% are more than 40 years of age
  • Tap into as many pharmacy networks as possible

Summary of the main tweets from the session 

  • ChaChaChandni  Advice? Umm, take every opportunity you get to do something new, even if you're scared, because next year you're going to be the responsible pharmacist (hopefully) and there's going to be no room for hesitation.
  • MrDispenser I remember mine. (A few years ago!) i compared with my friends who got the most signed off. It was pointless in hindsight!
  • HelenRoot I would question anyone who has lots signed off early on. It's 52 weeks for a reason in my opinion
  • pharmtraining  Bet mine was longer ago! Think we've all done that. Agree with Helen, quality not quantity at this stage.
  • Gurinder_Singh1 What would you say is the average?
  • HelenRoot Think it's important to manage student expectation and support tutors to not feel pressured in to signing off.
  • pharmtraining couldn't give an average - seen all sorts from 5 to 50 signed off at 13 weeks!
  • RyanPharmilton  Be careful looking at standards as numbers that need ticking off. Use those with less evidence to plan activities.
  • pharmtraining  had a good point on other twitter feed just now re having learnt that everything needs evidence. Use a notebook.
  • MrDispenser also photocopy prescriptions before they get filed
  • Gurinder_Singh1 Please see evidence tracker we designed to help with just this. http://t.co/uNYKV1q7
  • pharmtraining Good advice. All about experience and confidence. Can you tell us about something scary that went well in the end and reassure us? 
  • ChaChaChandni Working with a locum pharmacist and dispenser! Stock control, opening and closing the shop, etc all had to be...
  • ChaChaChandni  …care of, quite a daunting experience, but with a cool head and a great team effort I survived.
  • Gurinder_Singh1  Most difficult part is the expectation to lead the team. We will be the future leaders in the field so lets strt now
  • pharmtraining  You're right! Leadership is key. Have you had any guidance or support as you develop leadership skills?
  • HelenRoot Loving your positive attitude. You're right - leadership can be hard to show. Start small and build up.
  • Gurinder_Singh1 Its not easy.Totaly different demographics 2 any other profession. Workin with 90% female dispensers of which 54% aged >40
  • pharmtraining Do you feel you need some guidance with working with this sort of team? Anyone any advice?
  • HelenRoot Get your dispensers onside. Tap into their strengths. Listen to them too, they have strengths                            
  • HelenRoot Make them feel included in decisions around change/development. Lead by example.
  • Gurinder_Singh1  Great advice,a team game so lets do it together. Stats re workforce I mentioned earlier from @TheGPhC
  • pharmtraining  Good attitude to take. Good time to practise your people skills, huge part of working life.
  • pharmtraining  Thanks for sharing this. Anyone got other new ways of making the processes for the year easier? Apps?
  • MrDispenser  network with as many pre-regs as possible uśing twitter etc. No excuse these days for going solo
  • RyanPharmilton  Also go to @RPharmS events, such as LPF meetings, and build up your network of local pharmacists.
  • pharmtraining  Agree. Always good to get other viewpoints and build a support network. Tutors - are you part of a tutor network?
  • ChaChaChandni  Thats a good idea, I've been to a few, but would love to be more involved in the @rpharms
  • pharmtraining ...not focussing too much on numbers of standards achieved at this stage, developing leadership and networking. Please contact us .. 

Top tips

  1. Take advantage of all learning opportunities
  2. Make sure you focus on quality evidence rather than quantity
  3. It's not about competing with your peers regarding numbers of pieces of evidence and number of standards signed off - everyone's experience is different
  4. Record all evidence. This can be in a notebook or online http://t.co/uNYKV1q7
  5. Network with your peers and other pharmacists - no need to go solo!

Useful links shared

GPhC Regulate bulletin http://www.pharmacyregulation.org/resources/corporate-publications/regulae 


Chat on Thursday 11 October at 8pm - Pre-reg 13-Week Healthcheck 

This chat focused on how your training year is going at the 13 week review stage. Is everything going to plan? Do you have concerns or has something gone really well that you want to tell everyone about? Do you want to chat to others about your experiences? Do you want some advice? By including the hashtag #ptcsm in their tweets, participants made sure their messages were linked into the conversation.  We had tweets from seven people and comments afterwards from several more who observed the discussion.  Some interesting points were raised and the positive responses we have received mean we will continue to host this discussion forum.

Main points of discussion were:

  • The first 13 wks is about finding your feet, getting to know the Performance Standards and building communication between the trainee & tutor
  • Agree what is expected early regarding evidence, regular meetings etc.
  • You may need to realign your expectations such as what is enough/quality evidence 
  • The year in the workplace is about knowing (knowledge) & doing (putting knowledge and skills together) – not just about the exam (registration assessment) 

Summary of the main tweets from the session 

  • @nerual_rose Knowing my resources is useful for clinical based work. People skills are essential - especially if you're new #ptcsm
  • @nerual_rose BNF, SPC, Martindale, Micromedex, AHFS, MI databank, Stockley's, NEWT, Renal drug handbook, NHS evidence, trust guides #ptcsm
  • @nerual_rose Our region did an LPF event on preparing for your 13 week appraisal which was useful #ptcsm
  • @pharmtraining I think the 1st 13 weeks is a time to acclimatise i.e. go with the flow! It helps to think about what tasks=what PS's #ptcsm
  • @nerual_rose Issues with 13 week review: Trying to gather lots of evidence to show your competence across a wide variety of areas#ptcsm
  • @HelenRoot From experience this can be the longest review. Allow plenty of time to talk and prepare in advance. #prereg #ptcsm
  • @HelenRoot I would strongly advise that (to collect evidence for a few weeks and review this with the aim of getting it right by wk13). Spoke to a tutor yesterday who is doing a mini monthly review so that happens.#ptcsm
  • @expatpharmacist Re evidence - can be difficult for trainees and inexperienced tutors to know what/how much they are looking for- discuss it early! #ptcsm
  • @HelenRoot exactly. It's about quality evidence and not just quantity. #ptcsm
  • @nerual_rose  Yes, get to know your tutor well. What they want from you, how they want your evidence to be presented and how often.#ptcsm
  • @HelenRoot I think it's sometimes hard to know what good evidence looks like. Maybe sharing this would increase consistency.#ptcsm
  • @HelenRoot  I'd recommend using CPD more frequently (than once/month) for demonstrating evidence. The cycle is ideal for prereg evidence in my opinion #ptcsm
  • @HelenRoot  that's great news. I love that GPhC CPD online allows tutors to access CPD of prereg. #ptcsm
  • @pharmtraining The exam is always looming, but the year is about doing tasks repeatedly to a high standard & applying knowledge #ptcsm
  • @pharmtraining Every year trainees fail their training, but this doesn't get reported in the same way as the exam. Perhaps if it did that wld help #ptcsm
  • @kim_whitehouse I agree with @helenroot students try to learn BNF at expense of knowing how to use it effectively #ptcsm
  • @nerual_rose Would be interesting to see (failures/extensions to training reported). Pre-regs are so focused on the exam, and sometimes forget about the bigger picture.#ptcsm
  • @tartanmaganas Too true. And frankly some#pharmacy students do exactly the same during the degree. BIG mistake. #ptcsm
  • @HelenRoot  It's a very important point (to refocus back on training). I think a worthwhile topic for chat. #ptcsm
  • @nerual_rose Definitely! Summer placements gave me a really good insight into what different areas of pharmacy are like. #ptcsm
  • @nerual_rose I know several students who chose which area of pharmacy they chose for pre-reg due to placement experience#ptcsm
  • @nerual_rose (re clinical placements in MPharm) Yes, it gives you the opportunity to interview “real” patients and see the bigger picture e.g. look in patient notes #ptcsm

Top tips

  1. Agree expectations between the trainee and tutor early (in the first couple of weeks)
  2. Record as much of your evidence as possible via the GPhC CPD recording system and do this frequently (more than once/month). Also,  allow your tutor access so that they can check this regularly
  3. At first it would be great if the trainee and tutor could review the evidence on a frequent basis, for example you may want to do this monthly or more frequently initially, so that you can address issues immediately
  4. Share experiences with other trainees/tutors and try to establish consistency in what good evidence looks like
  5. Make sure that the focus is not on the exam at the expense of training – every year some trainees fail their training 

Useful links shared

Centre for Postgraduate Pharmacy Education (CPPE) http://www.cppe.ac.uk/

GPhC CPD online http://www.uptodate.org.uk/home/welcome.shtml

GPhC Pre-registration Manual http://www.pharmacyregulation.org/preregmanual