Magazine article Drug Topics

Continuing Pharmacy Education vs. Continuing Professional Development

Magazine article Drug Topics

Continuing Pharmacy Education vs. Continuing Professional Development

Article excerpt


Continuing professional development (CPD) as defined by the CPD Pilot Project is the "selfdirected, 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?

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