Practice Assessment at Entry (PACE)
Practice Assessment at Entry (PACE) is the practice-based assessment of a pharmacist applicant’s readiness to safely and independently practice as a pharmacist. PACE assessment focuses on measuring a candidate’s practice-readiness as a pharmacist and does not provide training on how to practice as a pharmacist or provide mentorship. The PACE Assessment Criteria are based on the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authority (NAPRA) Entry-to-Practice Competencies for Pharmacists. The PEI College of Pharmacy has adopted the PACE program from the Ontario College of Pharmacists.
Successful completion of PACE, which must be completed in PEI with a PEICP appointed assessor, is a requirement for registration as a pharmacist in the General Class for applicants who completed their education and training outside of Canada. The PACE program replaces the previous assessment program for internationally trained pharmacists seeking registration.
Entry into PACE will occur through 2 pathways:
- Pathway 2: Direct entry by successful completion of the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) Qualifying Exams Part 1 (MCQ) and Part 2 (OSCE)
- Pathway 3: Indirect entry through an unsuccessful first attempt or no attempt at the PEBC Qualifying Exams Part 1 and Part 2. Through pathway 3, applicants are required to complete a block of 280 hours of practice experience under the supervision of an approved preceptor. Upon satisfactory evaluation by the preceptor, the applicant may apply for the PACE program.
PACE has 3 Phases:
During the PACE orientation, the candidate is expected to familiarize themselves with the pharmacy workflow and software by observing the assessor and the other pharmacy staff, and assisting with the dispensing process. The candidate should not provide any direct patient care or perform the reserved activities of the profession. The orientation is NOT a 1-week training course on how to be a pharmacist, and cannot be extended.
The candidate should work through the PACE Orientation Checklist with the assessor’s support. The assessor may delegate the orientation to other pharmacy staff members. The candidate and assessor should address any other site-specific questions that the candidate may have. At the end of the orientation, the candidate will sign a PACE Candidate Declaration for Readiness for Assessment indicating that they are ready to begin PACE. The PACE Assessor will also sign the declaration and submit this to the PEICP office by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
During the PACE assessment, the candidate will practice in the full scope of practice under the direct supervision of their assessor at the assessor’s primary practice site to demonstrate their readiness to practice as a pharmacist in a safe, effective and independent manner according to the PACE Assessment Criteria. By the end of the candidate’s assessment, they must have demonstrated all of the competency domains and elements of the PACE Assessment Criteria. The 70-hour assessment period, which is completed over 2-3 weeks cannot be extended or shortened.
PACE assessors are trained to assess their candidate’s knowledge, skills and ability according to the PACE Criteria, and will not provide the candidate with pharmacy practice training or any feedback about their performance. The assessor must observe their candidate’s practice at all times so the candidate may only practice while their assessor is present.
In addition to their day-to-day practice in the pharmacy, the candidate is required to maintain a PACE Candidate Journal Entry with a minimum number of entries describing actual patient care and other situations they managed. These practice journal entries allow the assessor to consider the knowledge and judgment the candidate applied in their practice.
At the end of the PACE assessment, the assessor will rate their candidate’s performance using the Ontario Pharmacy Care Assessment Tool (OPPCAT). Assessors are trained on how to use the OPPCAT in a standardized manner, and are required to re-standardize their use of the ratings every year.
Once the assessor has submitted the OPPCAT to the College, the outcome of the candidate’s assessment will be determined by a standardized scoring rubric. College staff will review the OPPCAT and the candidate’s outcome before the result is released to the candidate.
If the candidate has demonstrated entry to practice competency through PACE, they will be allowed to move forward in their pharmacist registration process.
If the candidate has not demonstrated entry to practice competency through PACE, they will be required to engage in Development before they may re-attempt PACE.
Candidates who do not demonstrate entry to practice competency in their PACE assessment will be required to complete a development phase with a preceptor for a period of 280 hours, before they may re-apply for PACE with a different assessor at another practice site. A preceptor pharmacist is someone of your choosing who will guide your development and address the areas for improvement identified during your PACE assessment. You should implement your learning action plan and prepare for another PACE attempt. Your development will be self-directed under their supervision. Your preceptor must meet the requirements set out in RP.13 Preceptor Policy and work in a site that is direct patient care focused and provide you with sufficient practice opportunities to meet your learning action plan goals and address your competency gaps.