Assessment of Clinical Competence: Designing a Competence Grid for Junior Pharmacists


  • D McRobbie Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital Trust, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EH, UK
  • D G Webb Northwick Park and St Mark’s Hospitals, Harrow HA1 3UJ, UK
  • I Bates School of Pharmacy, University of London, London WC1N 1AX, UK
  • J Wright Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
  • J G Davies University of Brighton, Brighton BN2 4GT, UK


assessment, clinical competence


Aim. This paper describes the development of a competency framework for clinical practice undertaken by junior pharmacists.

Method. A peer group consisting of clinical practitioners and academics developed competency clusters. Competencies were assigned to each cluster and the associated behaviours described. The resulting “grids” were circulated to clinical practitioners, senior pharmacy managers and junior pharmacists for comment. A four point scale was developed to evaluate performance of the junior pharmacist for each behaviour.

Outputs. The competency grids comprise three clusters: personal, problem solving and clinical. These are currently under investigation to determine their measurement properties.


Department of Health (2000) Pharmacy in the Future— Implementing the NHS Plan: A Programme for Pharmacy in the National Health Service (DoH, London).

Department of Health, htm (accessed 23rd July 2001).

Devenport, J.K. (1990) “Competency based curriculum for pharmacy practice”, J. Pharm. Practice 3(2), 80–84.

Goldsmith, G. (2001) “An Investigation of the Effect of a Competency Based Training Programme has on Junior Pharmacists’ Satisfaction and Fitness for Purpose” MSc ThesisUniversity of Brighton (UK).

Hutchinson, R.A., Vogel, D.P. and Witte, K.W. (1986) “A model for impatient clinical pharmacy practice and reimbursement”, Drug Intell. Clin. Pharm. 20, 989–992.

Miller, G.E. (1990) “The assessment of clinical skills/performance”, Acad. Med. 65, 563–567.

Rajah, T., Bates, I., Davies, J.G., Webb, D.G. and Fleming, G. (2001) “An occupational survey of hospital pharmacists in the south of England”, Pharm. J. 266, 723–726.

Rethans, J.J., Sturmans, F., Drop, R., van der Vleuten, C. and Hobus, P. (1991) “Does competence of general practitioners predict their performance? Comparison between examination setting and actual practice”, Br. Med. J. 303, 1377–1380.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (2001) Code of Ethics (Pharmaceutical Press, London).

Wass, V., van der Vleuten, C., Shatzer, J. and Jones, R. (2001) “Assessment of clinical competence”, Lancet 357, 945–949.

Whiddett, S. and Hollyforde, S. (1999) The Competence Handbook (Institute of Personnel and Development.





Research Article