Opportunities for pharmacists in dermatology
There is now an interest group for specialist dermatology pharmacists and work is in progress with British Association of Dermatologists to develop suitable training. As Kläre Bryant, advanced clinical pharmacist in dermatology at Liverpool University Hospitals, says, ““There’s so much more to dermatology than you might think”.
Pharmacists need to have patients’ skin in mind regardless of what initially brought them into hospital.
Ms Bryant says: “We all put moisturiser on our skin some part of everyday – hand cream, face cream, anything – so your patients are going to need to do that as well. [We need] to recognize how important controlling the patient’s skin is and [take steps to] allow the patient to be comfortable in their skin despite whatever else is going on for them in hospital”. She suggests that pharmacists should look out for medications associated with skin conditions even though that might not be the reason that the patient has been brought into hospital. “We need to ensure that the patient’s skin is catered for …… and always look to see if the patient has any dermatology creams and things which will need prescribing. Get them prescribed – if we ignore the patient’s skin at that point and focus on the patient’s primary concern then the skin might flare up and become a problem. So, it’s really important to always bear this in mind”, she says.
Pharmacists should consider specialising in dermatology because it is “fantastically interesting”, says Ms Bryant.
“It’s not just that tube of cream that you might see sitting there on the shelf – there’s so, so much more to dermatology than what you might think on the face of it. There are the creams and the topicals that the patient will use, there’s the tablets that the patient might take and there’s biologic medicines – and there’s a whole load of immunology with that as well. There’s thousands of skin conditions and it’s just really interesting. Lots of unlicensed or off-label medication is used within dermatology, as well. ….. There’s so much to do in dermatology and it is really interesting once you scratch the surface of it”, she says.
Dermatology pharmacy interest group
An interest group for specialist dermatology pharmacist has now been formed. Kläre recalls, “When I first started as a dermatology pharmacist I wasn’t aware of any [dermatology pharmacy] groups that I could get involved in ……….. so I thought I was the only dermatology pharmacist for a few years!” Later she came into contact with Arlene Maguire at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London who had already set up a dermatology specialist dermatology pharmacist group on the NHS network.
Ms Bryant is a founder member of a national specialist dermatology pharmacist network group. Some meetings have already been held to provide education in dermatology for pharmacists. A face-to-face meeting was held in 2021. “That was a great meeting to get that group of dermatology pharmacists together and get to know each other and not feel so sort of on your own really”, she says.
More recently, the British Association of Dermatologists has started to set up some resources for dermatology pharmacists. Ms Bryant is involved in the pharmacists’ work stream as part of this project. Educational resources are being developed for primary care pharmacists to upskill them in dermatology. There will also be resources for secondary care pharmacists such as examples of job descriptions and business cases. All these developments should help pharmacists to develop their roles in the dermatology team.
Ms Bryant welcomes this initiative and says, “It’s absolutely fantastic to know that pharmacists are on the BAD’s radar”.
Kläre Bryant is an advanced clinical pharmacist in dermatology at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS foundation trust. She has an outpatient clinic at Broadgreen Hospital for patients receiving biologic therapies and another clinic at Aintree hospital for patients receiving systemic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)