Continuing professional development (CPD) as defined by the CPD Pilot Project is the "self-directed, ongoing, systematic, and outcomes-focused approach to learning and professional development." Its goal is to incorporate the concepts of performance improvement to the individual professional development plan as a means of maintaining competence in the profession of pharmacy.
The CPD cycle consists of "reflection," "planning," "learning," and "evaluating" a personal learning plan for a given subject or period of time. I doubt there is anyone in the profession who would argue that pharmacists must remain competent to practice effectively and provide patients with the service they deserve.
Pharmacy education today consists of the entry-level 6-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree. While this education provides the basis for competency in the profession, it is just the beginning of education for the professional. From 1972 to 1974, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and American Pharmacists Association convened a task force on the continuing competence of pharmacists. They described a method of competency maintenance through continuing education (CE) that was subsequently linked to relicensure at the state level. Fulfilling the required state CE requirements has, therefore, become the standard of measurement of competency.
How many of us complete our required CE credits with a real and measurable plan? How many of our employers are interested in the topics of our CE activities? I will even go so far as to ask how many CE activities provide us with information or skills that can affect patient care? How many measure competencies through real examination or observation by a content expert within the learning environment?
The activities begin with the knowledge-based education available through the Drug Topics publication as the traditional 2-hour CE feature article from September 2012 through March 2013. Beginning in February 2013, the application of the knowledge component will be assessed through three interactive online practice-relevant e-learning opportunities that will align MTM core elements to simulated patient cases. And finally, in May 2013, two live meetings have been scheduled at the University of Connecticut to provide further training in MTM as applied to practice-relevant cases along with skills development in the area of motivational interviewing. The day-long activities will provide the basis for real health behavior change in your patients.
We hope you find these activities both relevant and useful as we expand pharmacy services to include more patient outcome improvement. We believe individual pharmacist-selected, practice-based CE opportunities can affect patient outcomes and provide professional development activity worthy of inclusion on your curriculum vitae or resume. Elevating your purpose for continuing education beyond simple state requirements will improve your employability in an environment of increased competition for available jobs. We encourage employers to value the choices that individual pharmacists make when selecting appropriate CPD, recognizing that practice-based activities provide a measure of competence.