Why are we meeting? (20 minutes)
The Pharmacy Council believes that professional connectedness helps prevent competence diminishing over time. A peer group can enhance professionalism through the structured relationship with others who collaboratively, creatively, interactively and critically improve pharmacy practice.
Being clear about why the group exists is important
The group will not survive if it does not have a clearly defined reason for being. At the first meeting (or before, if you are well organised), ask members to independently scan the following list and to delete, add and prioritise group objectives:
- share information, knowledge, feedback and experience
- build awareness around social and cultural positioning
- seek knowledge about innovations, products, processes and regulations
- seek self-knowledge about assumptions and biases
- understand reactions through sensitivity to difference
- develop tactics to improve practice
- problem-solve issues related to practice
- build relationships with peers and community
- generate support within and between regions
- improve cultural safety and informed practice to benefit Māori hauora
- keep an open mindset for change in behaviours
- make decisions
- identify problems or opportunities
- limit risk.
Spend enough time as it takes to agree, as a group, on what the most important objective is for you all.
Being clear about why the group exists is important. If you go back to this at the start of each meeting, the group will stay focused and reduce wasted time.
If you are the group leader, be prepared to call out cynicism. “This group exists to meet the Pharmacy Council requirements,” is not a good start to a pleasurable experience.
Lay ground rules (20 minutes)
Ask the group what they think the rules of engagement are for them to be able to fulfil the group’s purpose. Common ground rules for peer groups include:
- confidentiality – what is said in the group, stays in the group
- everyone contributes
- always have an agenda
- avoid interruptions from outside
- avoid interrupting others
- promote focus on issues
- time keep – allocate extra time for off-topic chat
- park questions for later, especially if they are not strictly relevant
- query critically around a problem, not a person
- be mindful of how often you speak relative to others
- ask why and for clarification
- listen reflectively and actively
- always keep the dialogue and comments positive – avoid “no”
- explore differences, rather than avoid them.
Your group may come up with a different list. The key thing is to be explicit and for everyone to agree. Group trust will form more quickly if everyone follows the rules.
It’s important that clinical discussions are kept confidential. When discussing patient stories, avoid using names and identifiers. Consider, “Mr T, a 58-year-old Māori engineer with two children,” as opposed to, “Barbara who works at the bakers, the one with the mole on her nose.”
Agree on process and roles (10 minutes)
The group needs to agree to a structure for future meetings. When, where and how will the group meet? How long will meetings last?
The Pharmacy Council will only require two meetings a year – is this enough for the group to really be useful?
Meetings will be more efficient if there is a defined leader, a person identified to keep notes (scribe), and a timekeeper. These roles can be set at the start of each meeting or be shared around every year.
If the group is large enough, it is also helpful to have one person in each meeting allocated as researcher. During the meeting, they can be online exploring evidence and resources behind subjects that are discussed. This person is given permission to interrupt discussion and correct misconceptions if they arise. They can share the helpful information they find with the scribe, who can add it to the meeting notes.