Critical Care Pharmacy

Critical Care Pharmacy specializes 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. Currently there are more than 2,300 BPS Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacists.

The BPS Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist (BCCCP) program is a credential for pharmacists who have met the eligibility criteria below and specialize in the delivery of patient care services as integral members of interprofessional teams, working to ensure the safe and effective use of medications in critically ill patients.

The purpose of the BCCCP program is to validate that the pharmacist has the advanced knowledge and experience to optimize patient outcomes by:

  • Quickly assessing clinical data and delivering direct patient care to the critically ill and injured patient who may require specialized pharmacologic or technological interventions to maintain blood pressure, respiration, nutrition, and other homeostatic functions, in addition to helping to manage the patient’s primary condition.
  • Reviewing, analyzing, and frequently reassessing multifaceted clinical and technological data to make reasoned decisions for patients with life-threatening conditions and complex medication regimens whose pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters differ substantially from the non–critically ill patient.

Effective January 1, 2019: All applicants intending to demonstrate eligibility for any BPS certification examination utilizing the practice experience pathway must provide an attestation from their employer, on company letterhead, that verifies this experience accurately represents 50% of time spent in some or all of the activities defined by the applicable certification content outline. In addition, this practice experience must have occurred within the seven years immediately preceding the application. For more information, click here.

(All practice eligibility requirements must be met prior to the candidate sitting for the examination)
The minimum requirements for the Critical Care Pharmacy specialty certification are:

  • Graduation from a pharmacy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or a program outside the U.S. that qualifies the individual to practice in the jurisdiction.
  • A current, active license/registration to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or another jurisdiction.
  • Demonstration of practice experience in one of three ways:

Completion of four (4) years of practice experience** (i.e., four years of experience after licensure/registration as a pharmacist) including 50% or more of that time spent practicing in the domains described in the Critical Care Pharmacy Content Outline

OR

Completion of a PGY-1 residency * plus two (2) additional years of practice experience** (i.e., two years of experience after licensure/registration as a pharmacist) including 50% or more of that time spent practicing in the domains described in the Critical Care Pharmacy Content Outline

OR

Completion of a specialty (PGY-2) residency* in critical care pharmacy; and

  • Achieving a passing score on the Critical Care Pharmacy Specialty Certification Examination.

 

*Effective January 1, 2013, only residency programs accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and completed by the applicant within the past 7 years, or new residency programs granted Candidate Status for accreditation by ASHP are creditable for this purpose.

**Practice experience should be from within the past seven years prior to the application date.

The rationale for the appropriateness of the requirements for BPS certification programs are based upon the following:

  • BPS recognizes individuals who graduate from a recognized school or college of pharmacy within the candidate’s jurisdiction. Those jurisdictions recognize and evaluate programs on the extent to which it accomplishes its stated goals and is consistent with the concept that pharmacy is a unique, personal service profession in the health science field. In the United States, the responsibility for responsibility recognizing schools and colleges of pharmacy falls to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
  • The rationale for requiring licensure or registration of pharmacists within their jurisdiction is based upon the fact that for public protection, all pharmacists must be licensed or registered. This is considered a baseline requirement to be a pharmacist specialist. In the United States, BPS recognizes the licensure process administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) aims to ensure the public’s health and safety through its pharmacist license transfer and pharmacist competence assessment programs. NABP’s member boards of pharmacy are grouped into eight districts that include all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Australia, Bahamas, and all 10 Canadian provinces.
  • The experiential component is required to help assure practical application of components of the specialty knowledge being certified. There are multiple pathways to meet the practice experience requirement.  The faster eligibility pathways recognize accredited residencies through the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP). The ASHP residency accreditation program identifies and grants public recognition to practice sites having pharmacy residency training programs that have been evaluated and found to meet the qualifications of one of the ASHP’s residency accreditations standards. Thus, accreditation of a pharmacy residency program provides a means of assurance to residency applicants that a program meets certain basic requirements and is, therefore, an acceptable site for postgraduate training in pharmacy practice in organized health care.
  • Passing the BPS pharmacy specialty examination helps assure knowledge consistent with the validated content outline for the BPS specialty.

The appropriateness of the BPS program requirements are consistent with the Council on Credentialing in Pharmacy’s Resource Paper titled: Scope of Contemporary Pharmacy Practice: Roles, Responsibilities, and Functions of Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians.

Refer to the Critical Care Pharmacy Content Outline for details.

  • Domain 1: Clinical Knowledge and Application (65% of the examination)
  • Domain 2: Practice Management, Policy, and Quality Improvement (15% of the examination)
  • Domain 3: Evidence-Based Medicine, Scholarship, Education, and Professional Development (20% of the examination)

Pharmacists who earn the designation Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist® (BCCCP) will be required to maintain their certification over a seven year period by completing one of the following professional development activities:

  • Option One: Recertification Examination
    Achieving a passing score on the 100-item recertification examination (administered by BPS), based on the content outline for the Critical Care Pharmacy Specialty in their seventh year following initial certification;

OR

  • Option Two: Continuing Education
    Earning 100 hours of continuing education credit offered by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and/or the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Critical Care Pharmacy Preparatory Review and Recertification Courses offered by any of the approved providers may only be completed for recertification credit up to two times, in nonconsecutive years, during the 7-year recertification cycle.

**To achieve the 100 hour requirement, the BCCCP may participate in recertification offerings from any of the BPS-approved critical care pharmacy providers.

For full details regarding recertification, please refer to the BPS Recertification Guide.

Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacists are also required to pay the BPS Annual Certification Maintenance Fee of $125 each year for years one through six and a $400 recertification fee in year seven. Individuals with more than one BPS certification will only be assessed one BPS Annual Certification Maintenance Fee each year.

Download PDF Fact Sheet

 

Critical Care Pharmacy specializes 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. Currently there are more than 2,300 BPS Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacists.

The BPS Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist® (BCCCP):

  • Has the advanced knowledge and expertise to quickly assess clinical data and deliver direct patient care to the critically ill and injured patient who may require specialized pharmacologic or technological interventions to maintain blood pressure, respiration, nutrition and other homeostatic functions, in addition to the patient’s primary condition
  • Reviews, analyzes and frequently reassesses multifaceted clinical and technological data to make reasoned decisions for patients with life-threatening conditions and complex medication regimens whose pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters differ substantially from the non-critically ill patient

To become a BPS Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist ®, a pharmacist must:

  • Graduate from a pharmacy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or a program outside the U.S. that qualifies the individual to practice in that jurisdiction; and
  • Maintain a current, active license to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or another jurisdiction; and
  • Complete four (4) years of post-licensure practice, with at least fifty percent (50%) of time spent in critical care pharmacy activities as defined in the BPS Critical Care Pharmacy Specialty Content Outline; or
  • Complete a PGY1 residency accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) or new residency program granted Candidate Status for accreditation by ASHP plus two (2) additional years of post-licensure practice, with at least fifty percent (50%) of time spent in critical care pharmacy activities as defined in the BPS Critical Care Pharmacy Specialty Content Outline; or
  • Complete a PGY2 Critical Care Pharmacy residency accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) or new residency program granted Candidate Status for accreditation by ASHP; and
  • Achieve a passing score on the BPS Critical Care Pharmacy Examination.

BCCCPs are be required to maintain their certification over a seven-year period by completing one of the following professional development activities:

Critical Care Pharmacy Preparatory Review and Recertification Courses offered by any of the approved providers may only be completed for recertification credit up to two times, in nonconsecutive years, during the 7-year recertification cycle.

Becoming BPS board certified enables pharmacists to:

  • Provide more comprehensive and complex patient care
  • Be prepared to step into pharmacy’s evolving position on the multidisciplinary treatment team
  • Improve their standing in a competitive employment market
  • Be recognized for their expertise by other healthcare professionals, employers, patients and insurers

Board certification through the Board of Pharmacy Specialties® is the gold standard for determining which pharmacists are qualified to contribute at advanced practice levels. Through the rigorous examination standards mandated by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties®, the BPS board certified pharmacist is uniquely trained and educated to meet the continually expanding expectations of other healthcare team members and the specialized needs of the patients they serve.