Critical care pharmacy practice advancement recommendations on direct patient care activities: An opinion of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Critical Care Practice and Research Network

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Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy


credentialing, critical care, critical illness, intensive care unit, pharmacist, pharmacy practice advancement, professional growth, professional role







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An updated position paper on critical care pharmacy services recommends the development of new clinical programs. However, proposed pragmatic strategies for critical care pharmacy practice advancement are lacking. The purpose of this position paper is to develop consensus recommendations aimed at direct patient care activities for the advancement of critical care pharmacy practice. A 24-member task force of critical care pharmacists, physicians, and nurses participated in a Recommendation Development Phase and Consensus-building Phase (using a Delphi method) to produce the final critical care practice advancement recommendations. Proposed recommendations of pragmatic medication management opportunities with an advanced scope of practice involving pharmacist prescriptive authority for initiating, modifying, or discontinuing drug therapy and medication monitoring were developed. Task force participants anonymously voted on each proposed recommendation using a fivepoint Likert scale (1 = strongly agree, 2 = agree, 3 = neutral, 4 = disagree, and 5 = strongly disagree). Recommendations failing to achieve consensus (≥70% agreement on “strongly agree”/“agree” votes) were revised for subsequent voting. Task force response rates during the first and second voting rounds were 71% (n = 17) and 79% (n = 19), respectively. A total of 57 (93.4%) of the 61 proposed practice advancement recommendations achieved consensus of which 88.5% (n = 54) met consensus after the first round. Consensus recommendations involved the critical care pharmacist initiating (n = 15), modifying (n = 22), or discontinuing (n = 9) drug therapy, and ordering relevant laboratory values or tests to optimize drug therapy (n = 11). One recommendation failing consensus was not revised for additional voting given the impracticality of achieving agreement. Fifty-seven of the proposed 61 recommendation statements (93%) achieved the consensus threshold after two rounds of voting by an interprofessional expert panel. These recommendations provide a conceptual framework for promoting novel critical care pharmacist prescriptive authority over specific aspects of direct patient care. Implementation challenges and barriers, further described in this paper, must be explored at the institutional level for acceptance.


This paper was approved and submitted on behalf of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Critical Care Practice and Research Network.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest. Dr. Buckley has been awarded ACCP Critical Care PRN grants (unrelated to this work). Dr. Acquisto is a member of the JACCP editorial board



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