Children: Next steps in learning...

Last updated: Monday, December 10, 2018

If you are a pharmacist with an interest in the use of medicines in children, then you may like to join the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG). The Group aims to improve the care of neonates, infants and children by advancing all aspects of the development of pharmacists and pharmacy services involved in caring for children. Their website contains a wealth of information.

There is also an NPPG conference every autumn, which is an excellent way to learn, keep up-to-date, and to meet colleagues with similar interests.

CPPE has a number of opportunities to learn about the safe and effective use of medicines in children, including:

  • Consulting with children and young people. This e-learning programme focuses on the key skills and behaviours you can adopt to make sure you communicate effectively with children and young people.

  • Children and their medicines: enhancing your practice. This learning programme helps you to consider the differences in optimising medicines use in children, and deals with altered drug handling, unlicensed or off-label medicines, and effective communication with children.

  • Child health: e-course (50hrs). This tutor-supported course runs at least once a year enabling you to interact online with other learners. You will consider a wide range of clinical conditions commonly encountered in children and general issues relating to the care of children, such as communication, differences in drug handling, the use of unlicensed medicines and medication errors.

Unlicensed medicines. As a pharmacist you need to be able to explain what an “unlicensed medicine” is, in a clear and accurate way. There is a valuable guide for patients and carers about the use of unlicensed medicines in children on the Medicines for Children website. This is an excellent basis on which to build your own explanation when talking to patients. There is also a helpful policy statement about the use of unlicensed medicines in children from the joint NPPG/ Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Medicines Committee which is currently being updated. It informs and guides health professionals who prescribe, dispense, administer, or have responsibility for medicines for children. Once this is published, an up-to-date link will be provided.

Administration of medicines. There is some good advice on working with children to help them take their medicines on NetDoctor. The advice is aimed at the parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but many of the ideas suggested could apply to other children and other medicines. There are some helpful lessons here for pharmacists.