New BPS specialties in critical care, pediatric pharmacy

Board of Pharmacy Specialties announces seventh and eighth specialty areas for pharmacists

The Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) announced today the approval of two new specialties in critical care and pediatric pharmacy, following a final review during its Board meeting on April 12, 2013.

"Pharmacy specialists who care for pediatric and critical care patients are entrusted with a great deal of specialized clinical responsibilities within these patient populations," said Joseph Saseen, PharmD, FASHP, FCCP, FNLA, BCPS, CLS, 2013 Chairman of the BPS Board of Directors and Professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, in a news release. "The evidence demonstrating the overall benefits of these two pharmacy specialties is very strong, so we are confident that patient care will continue to be further enhanced by being able to recognize these pharmacists as specialists."

The petition to recognize critical care pharmacy was submitted jointly by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), APhA, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Critical care pharmacy practice was defined as "practice specializ[ing] in the delivery of patient care services by pharmacists as integral members of interprofessional teams, working to ensure the safe and effective use of medications in critically ill patients." The petitioners also noted that it "requires informed, rapid assessment of clinical data for patients" and that critical care pharmacists "are required to review, analyze, and frequently reassess multifaceted clinical and technological information to make reasoned decisions for highly dynamic patients with life-threatening conditions and complex medication regimens."

ACCP, APhA, ASHP, and the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Groups submitted the petition for pediatric pharmacy, defining the practice as "the delivery of patient care services by pharmacists that ensures the safe and effective use of medications for all children from neonates through adolescents. The practice includes direct patient care for children, often provided through interprofessional health care teams, as well as advocacy and education for children and their families, wellness and health promotion, and activities that advance knowledge and skills in pediatric pharmacy.

As the next step in the certification process, BPS will issue a call for nominations to serve on the Critical Care and Pediatric Pharmacy Specialty Councils on May 3, 2013. The closing date for nominations will be August 2, 2013. BPS will appoint nine members to each council by September 15, 2013, and the councils will convene in fall 2013. Examination item writing for the new specialties will begin between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. BPS Executive Director William Ellis noted that the board plans to begin administering the new specialty exams in 2015.

Susan Goodin, PharmD, BCOP, immediate past chair of the BPS Board of Directors, added, "BPS is committed to being responsive and flexible in evaluating possible specialties that will improve patient care through recognition and promotion of specialized training, knowledge, and skills in pharmacy through the specialty board certification of pharmacists."

Six specialty examinations are currently administered by BPS: nuclear pharmacy since 1978, nutrition support pharmacy since 1988, pharmacotherapy since 1988, psychiatric pharmacy since 1992, oncology pharmacy since 1996, and ambulatory care pharmacy (approved in 2009, first examination administered in 2011). BPS certification exams will be administered 650 locations worldwide from September 19, 2013, through October 5, 2013. Candidates can register until August 1 at the BPS website.

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