Board of Pharmacy Specialties Celebrates 40th Anniversary
In 2016 the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) is celebrating 40 years of improving patient care by promoting the recognition and value of specialized training, knowledge, and skills in pharmacy and specialty board certification of pharmacists.
In 1973 the APhA Taskforce on Specialties in Pharmacy was created with four charges:
- To identify existing or potential areas of specialization in pharmacy practice and/or conclude that the practice of pharmacy does not lend itself to specialization.
- To propose a means by which such specialties should be identified if specialties do exist.
- To develop the means by which individuals should be identified as having met the predetermined criteria for such specialties, including recommendations for continuing education or re-certification.
- To consider other matters of immediate concern identified by the Task Force.
The report of the Task Force concluded that “ an official board with independent decision making authority should now be established and charged with the responsibility of formally recognizing specialties in pharmacy once they are judged to have met approved criteria. Furthermore, such board should be empowered with the final responsibility of granting certification to individuals who have met the qualifications for certification as specialists in an officially recognized field of specialty.”
So, in 1976 the Board of Pharmacy Specialties was established as an autonomous division of APhA when APhA members approved the BPS Bylaws as part of the APhA structure. The first specialty was approved by BPS in 1978 and that specialty was Nuclear Pharmacy. Following the approval of Nuclear Pharmacy, it was ten years before the approval of the next two specialties which were Nutrition Support Pharmacy and Pharmacotherapy. Six years later, psychiatric Pharmacy was approved, followed by Oncology Pharmacy in 1996.
After the approval of Oncology Pharmacy, thirteen years passed before the approval of Ambulatory Care Pharmacy in 2009. However, following the approval of Ambulatory Care Board Certification, the BPS Board also approved Pediatric Pharmacy and Critical Care Pharmacy in 2013.
Today BPS recognizes eight pharmacy specialties and certifies over 24,000 pharmacists in these specialties worldwide. In addition to the eight specialties named above, BPS has five additional specialties in various stages of development: Cardiology, Infectious Diseases, Sterile Compounding, Organ Transplantation and Emergency Medicine. BPS has already issued a call for petition in Cardiology and Infectious Diseases and expect to receive a petition from the profession by the Fall of 2016. Because BPS strongly supports residency training, BPS believes that consideration of new pharmacy specialties should be consistent with, but not necessarily exclusive to, the evolution of ASHP-accredited PGY-2 programs. Conducting role delineation studies in organ transplantation and emergency medicine is a logical next step because both Solid Organ Transplantation and Emergency Medicine rank in the top ten as far as the number of PGY-2 residency programs and have grown by 29% and 40% respectively over the past year.
The issues surrounding sterile compounding have been well chronicled in the lay and professional media and represent an important public safety issue which was the impetus for the BPS Board of Directors exploring this as a possible specialty.
BPS looks forward to continued growth and the addition of new specialties as the practice of pharmacy evolves into new areas in order to meet the needs of healthcare stakeholders, and most importantly, the patient. The chart below shows the growth of BPS over the past ten years. For more information on BPS visit www.bpsweb.org
Figure 1 . BPS Growth by Specialty