Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Making a Curricular Commitment to Continuing Professional Development in Doctor of Pharmacy Programs

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Making a Curricular Commitment to Continuing Professional Development in Doctor of Pharmacy Programs

Article excerpt


In its 2003 report, Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) referenced commitment to lifelong learning among the competencies that health professionals should possess. (1) Additionally, the report by the Commission on the Education of Health Professionals for the 21st Century, "Health Professionals for a New Century: Transforming Education for Health Systems in an Interdependent World," states that graduates should be prepared for lifelong learning. (2) Consistent with these positions, ACPE addressed the concepts of CPD and self-directed lifelong learning in multiple areas of the ACPE Standards 2016. One such expectation is in Standard 12, which states that the pre-APPE curriculum "inculcates habits of self-directed lifelong learning ..." (3) In addition, the Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education (CAPE) 2013 Educational Outcomes highlight the importance of self-awareness, specifically the need to "examine and reflect on personal knowledge, skills, abilities ... that could enhance or limit personal and professional growth." (4)

In September 2014, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) launched its first global report on continuing professional development and continuing education (CE) in pharmacy. The report summarized key country case studies and provided the foundation for additional work in CPD/CE around the world. More than half of FIP member organizations and countries implemented the FIP CPD framework focusing on self-appraisal, personal plan, action (implementation), documentation, and evaluation of learning and benefit. (5) The federation recommends that to develop a functioning CPD/CE system: "the profession should adopt guiding principles on continuing professional development as a whole and lifelong learning skills/habits." They also recommend that "countries beginning the CPD process should use this document [global report] for initial talking points for their respective governing bodies to determine which framework best suits their needs and available resources." (6)

To facilitate profession-wide adoption and implementation of CPD concepts and approaches, ACPE established the CPD Steering Committee, which is composed of 8-10 members from various pharmacy sectors. The steering committee released its Guidance on Continuing Professional Development for the Profession of Pharmacy, which provide a definition of CPD, an updated CPD cycle, example CPD activities, and guidance on activity selection. (7)

As outlined in the ACPE Standards 2016, developing habits of self-directed lifelong learning must be an explicit curricular commitment in doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) programs. Schools have the responsibility to ensure students graduate with habits and skills necessary to continue learning throughout their career. The CPD model can foster and support self-directed lifelong learning. The aim of this statement is to aid schools in creating "CPD ready" practitioners. To that end, this paper describes the benefits of adopting a CPD model and defines the skills involved in CPD. In addition, it makes recommendations for advancing CPD in curricula.


Continuing professional development is a self-directed, ongoing, systematic, and outcomes-focused approach to lifelong learning applied to practice. (8,9) In 2001, FIP defined CPD as "the responsibility of individual pharmacists for systemic maintenance, development and broadening of knowledge, skills and attitudes, to ensure continuing competence as a professional, throughout their careers." (5)

Individuals who adopt the CPD approach accept the responsibility to fully engage in and document their learning through reflecting on their practice, assessing and identifying professional learning needs and opportunities, developing and implementing a personal learning plan, and evaluating their learning outcomes with the goal of enhancing the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values required for pharmacy practice (Figure 1). …

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