Staying current in the pharmacy profession can be daunting, especially since the amount of information pharmacists are expected to know continuously increases. There were a record breaking 59 new drug approvals in 2018, which is the highest in the past 10 years.
The “Oath of a Pharmacist” that is recited at pharmacy school graduations states: “I will accept the lifelong obligation to improve my professional knowledge and competence.” Staying abreast of professional information in the pharmacy world can include a variety of techniques such as attending continuing pharmacy education (CPE or CE) programs, reviewing drug information updates, and networking. When I taught at Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy, I always told my students that it is impossible to memorize everything, but it is important to know how to find the information when you are asked a drug information question.
Part of the license renewal process requires pharmacists to complete CE for the states where they are licensed. These can include online and live programs. It’s important to check with the state board of pharmacy website what the CE requirements are to ensure that you are ready for renewal. Pharmacists can check with their practice sites and with local state pharmacy associations to see what programs are offered.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) provides links to each state board of pharmacy website, which helps pharmacists stay current with their state laws and regulations. Also, NABP created CPE Monitor, which is an electronic system that maintains CE information for all the states.
If you are considering transferring your license to another state, the NABP website should be your starting point for the latest information.
National organizations such as ASHP have free CE programs for members. Check out your alma mater, as many pharmacy schools also offer CE programs for their graduates.
If possible, push yourself to go beyond the required credits to stay current. I’ve found that presenting at CE programs helps to enhance my knowledge about pharmacy topics. If you are feeling adventurous, send your curriculum vitae with topics of interest to CE programs and get involved with educating your colleagues.
Pharmacists who are interested in expanding their professional horizons should look at the certificate programs available through the ASHP and APhA. Medication therapy management (MTM) is a popular program offered through APhA that teaches pharmacists how to develop and deliver MTM services in their practice setting. Other APhA certificate programs include cardiovascular disease management, immunizations, and diabetes care. ASHP offers a variety of certificate programs include pharmacogenomics, pain management, medication safety, and teaching.
There is a Sterile Product Preparation Certificate Program that was launched by ASHP to train pharmacists in all aspects of sterile compounding.
Certificate programs provide CE credits and are a great way for pharmacists to enhance their knowledge base. Be sure to add these certificate programs to your CV when you are applying for jobs.
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