Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Longitudinal Approach to Changes in the Motivation of Dutch Pharmacists in the Current Continuing Education System

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Longitudinal Approach to Changes in the Motivation of Dutch Pharmacists in the Current Continuing Education System

Article excerpt


Pharmacists and other health care professionals need to maintain and develop their knowledge and competencies by engaging in lifelong learning. Historically, research and improvements in the teaching-learning environment of higher education have been focused mainly on the training of health care professionals before they start their professional career and not on postgraduate or continuing education. Because of this, little is known about the learning outcomes and the quality of models, approaches and lifelong learning systems for the health care workforce. (1)

Continuing Education (CE) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) enable health care professionals to pursue lifelong learning. CE involves structured learning activities like conferences, workshops or e-learning modules. CE is mainly knowledge- and competency-based. CPD is an ongoing structured cycle of learning wherein self-directed learning skills are crucial for success. (2-4) CE is often included in the cyclical CPD process.

With the establishment of The International Forum for Quality Assurance of Pharmacy Education in 2001, the quality assurance and promotion of excellence in pharmacy education for undergraduate students has received international attention. (5) A global Quality Assurance Framework for Pharmacy Education was adopted to stimulate the development and training of quality pharmacists to face the critical shortage of the pharmacy workforce. (5)

In 2014, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) published a report emphasizing the need for lifelong learning through CE/CPD with the goal to create stronger policies and programs for lifelong learning in pharmacy. (6) Several international case studies have reported about the substantial differences in CE/CPD requirements for pharmacists within and across countries. (6-8) Only 31 countries have requirements to maintain registration and 11 countries have formal systems like competency frameworks for advanced practice to monitor the quality of CE activities. Consequently, knowledge about the characteristics of an effective CE/CPD model is lacking. Published case studies found that an annual CE/CPD credit requirement can support pharmacist participation in CE/CPD, but some pharmacists are motivated by the number of credits rather than the relevance of the learning activity for practice. (6)

Studies of pharmacist participation in and attitudes toward CE/CPD also emphasize motivation both as a facilitator and a barrier. (8-12) Motivation was found to be a positive predictor for pharmacist participation in CE. (13) Studies grounded in the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) of motivation underscore the importance of motivation in learning. (13-17) Therefore, pharmacist motivation for CE/CPD participation should be taken into account when planning and designing a CE/CPD model that is meant to stimulate conceptual understanding, persistence and good professional performance. (15,16)

Motivation can function as either an independent or dependent variable: independent when it influences learning outcomes, dependent when it is influenced by factors in the learning environment, like teaching methods, teacher skills and curricula. (18,19) Longitudinal studies conducted in high schools, colleges and universities report fluctuations in student motivation across time in response to classroom activities and during a transitional academic year. (20-22) Although motivation is known to be dynamic, is susceptible to learning environment influences, and influences educational outcomes, research on motivation as a dependent variable is limited. (19,23-25)

To our knowledge this is the first study that investigates pharmacist motivation in CE as a dependent variable across time. This study explores the changes in pharmacist motivation for CE in the Dutch CE system. The study research questions were: does pharmacist motivation for CE change over time, how do these changes occur and what demographic factors influence these changes? …

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