Experience of credentialing – the preparation

Juliet Shepherd shared her thoughts about credentialing in advance of her credentialing viva which was held in October 2017. She was Vice-President of CMHP at the time. She had considered credentialing for many years beforehand, but at the time of writing her article she was in the midst of preparing her portfolio.

"I am going to try to get credentialed this year. I have been in contemplation stage for about 10 years. And now I am going to become the President of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy, I have to go for it!

"I started in mental health pharmacy in the 1990's. I did the Certificate in Psychiatric Therapeutics with De Montfort University in 1996. I tried to do the diploma but dropped out due to what I thought was stress at the time. 6 months later I was diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid. I avoided post graduate courses after that. It felt like I had failed.

"What about my career? Lots of clinical pharmacy. I had a foray into management but after having two children and the offer of a purely clinical post part time at the same grade as my management post, I happily moved back to clinical work. In six months time, I will start my first job at a higher grade for 17 years. So not really a stellar career. That is why I wanted to be on the CMHP council. To develop my skills outside work.

"But I still wonder if I really have what it takes to be credentialed. That feeling is dissipating bit by bit as I collect the evidence for the submission. I have set up four folders on my computer for each portfolio. In each folder I have copied and pasted the instructions for each task so that I can check how many examples I need to collect, or what the word count is for written reports. And I have set up tasks on Outlook with finish dates to ensure I have all the evidence needed by the submission date. For example, this week's task is to complete the clinical log with one month's examples of clinical work. And so far I think it is looking good!

"I am terrified of the viva. But if I can sit in a ward round and give advice on medication with no prior warning of the subject, I hope that I can manage it. I will find out for sure at the conference. Wish me luck and I recommend you try it too."

- Juliet Shepherd, CMHP Vice-President, June 2017