Majority of Virginia pharmacists will not support mandatory CE
Continuing EducationIs It Necessary?
By Norman L. Hilliard
Persons engaged in planning, developing and conducting continuing education programs and courses for practicing pharmacists generally have their own ideas as to the type of programs .and what subject matter the practitioner needs. Seldom do they have much to go by in the way of pharmacists' interests; and if they do, it usually represents a small group. Although interests do not necessarily reflect needs, Dickson and Buerki have statedInterests are surface indicators in many instances of real needs; interests help us locate needs, but as in the case of an iceberg, nine-tenths of these needs are below the, surface. The relationship may not always be a direct one but certainly a relationship does exist . .. 1 Dickson and Buerki refer to Knowles' comment on interests which states that the starting point in program planning is always the interests of the adult, even though the end objective may be to meet his (and an institution's and society's) needs. 2 Other adult educators and educators of health practitioners who have reflected on interests and needs include Stearns, Pellegrino and Schieve. 3 - 5 It is possible to obtain an idea of interest from those in attendance at a particular continuing education offering, but experience indicates that this information is representative of a very small group-usually those who participate regularly. Further, the responses may reflect only those opinions the sponsor wishes to hear. Believing that more information derived from a larger base of practitioners, who could remain anonymous, would provide a better understanding of pharmacists' interests and be helpful in future planning, it was decided that a survey would be made of all registered pharmacists in Virginia. It also was considered that the results of such a survey would benefit others involved in continuing education of pharmacists, such as directors of continuing education in schools of pharmacy, association executives and boards of pharmacy. A survey instrument was constructed requiring a minimum of time and effort to respond to. Questions were followed by multiple choice responses, with an "other" category where appropriate and a space for writing in the specific answer. Each possible response was numbered and the respondent was instructed to write the number of his response in a box to the right of the question. This design facilitated key punching and data processing of the survey. In late summer of 1973 a mailing list
was provided by the Virginia State Board of Pharmacy. Of 2,405 surveys mailed, 2,354 were delivered and 51 were returned due to incorrect or no forwarding address. Pharmacists were asked to return the completed survey by October 1, 1973. Postage-paid, self-addressed envelopes were provided. Of the 2,354 delivered surveys, 872 were returned-a return of 37 percent. The first four items of the survey identified pharmacists as to type of practice, whether owner or employee, years in practice and professional education. This information was sought to ascertain if there were appreciable differences in ideas or needs for continuing education among these categories. One could further cat.egorize according to sex, part-time or full-time practice, rural or urban setting, and so forth, but for the survey's purpose, categories were limited to the four mentioned. Responses to the first four items are shown in Table I (at right). Although 872 surveys were returned, numbers reported do not add up to 872. The only explanation for this difference is that all respondents did not answer all questions. As a result, total responses vary from question to question throughout the survey. The report represents on Iy the responses of the 37 percent of Virginia pharmacists who returned the survey. Therefore, the results are not representative of all Virginia pharmacists. They do, however, provide positive data for a larger group of pharmacists than have been available heretofore in the state.
Summary of Responses
When asked the question, "Do you believe that you can continue to provide adequate professional services to your patients without the benefit of organized continuing education programs?", 530 respondents answered "No" and 315, "Yes." Thus, the majority of respondents believe that continuing education is necessary to provide adequate professional services. According to type of practice, hospital pharmacists appear stronger in this Norman L. Hilliard
1. Type of practice Traditional independent community Chain Community-apothecary or pharmaceutical center Hospital Other
353 (41.2%) 256 (29.9%) 41 (4.8%) 119 (13.9%) 88 (10.2%)
2. Status Owner Employee
244 (28.7 %) 607 (71.3 %)
3. Years in practice 0-5 5 - 10 10 - 15 over 15
188 136 147 395
(21.7%) (15.7 %) (17.0%) (45.6%)
4. Professional education (length of pharmacy school programs) 3 years or less 4 years 5 years 6 years or more
98 461 264 37
(11.4%) (53.6%) (30.7%) (4.3%)
belief (about three to one) than other identifiable types (less than two to one). Employee pharmacists share this opinion about two to one, but owners are divided nearly equally in their views. From the subject areas of Pharmacology, Medicinal Chemistry, Non-prescription Medications, Patient Records, Counseling Patients and Drug Interactions, pharmacists were asked to identify the area of greatest need in their practices. Options were provided for those who wished to respond "Other" with write-in space or "No Need." The majority (291) selected "Drug Interactions"; this was followed closely by "Pharmacology" (218). Hospital pharmacists, those in apothecary shops and graduates of six-year programs rated "Pharmacology" as the area of greatest need. The third choice was "Counseling Patients" (102). Asked to choose favored program format from a list including Lecture at District Meetings, Regional Seminars, Correspondence Courses, Audio-tape Cassettes, Short Courses at the School of Pharmacy, (Continued on page 213) Norman L. Hilliard, MEd, is assistant director of continuing education at Virginia Commonwealth University, and assistant professor of pharmacy at the school of pharmacy, Medical College of Virginia, VCU. He earned his BS in pharmacy from the Medical College of Virginia, and his MEd from Virginia Commonwealth University. Hilliard has practiced both community and hospital pharmacy.
Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association
pharmacy by Kenneth Avis, again are offered during 1976. The condensed course, designed particularly for hospital pharmacists, will be offered August 2-6, and the comprehensive course, designed particularly for industrial and institutional practice, will be offered twice-June 7-18 and September 13-24. These courses involve both didactic and laboratory instruction. Further information can be obtained by writing to Division of Continuing Education and Conferences, University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences, 800 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38163, or to Kenneth Avis at the same address.
Patient Medication Compliance; Diabetes -New Insulins, Diabetic Aids; Diverticulosis-Colitis and Diet; Common Dermatologic Problems; Antibiotics; Malpractice and Liability Insurance, and Urinary Tract Infections are some of the programs being offered to Indiana pharmacists through the statewide Ninth Annual CE-TV Series. The closed circuit CE-TV Series, according to release, is believed to be the largest of its k ind in the country for pharmacists and makes use of the IHETS (Indiana Higher Education Telecommunications System) television network to broadcast much of the educational series. The Series consists of eight two-hour programs shown every other Wednesday night at 19 sites throughout Indiana. The continuing education program is sponsored by the Indiana Pharmaceutical Association and the schools of pharmacy at Butler and Purdue Universit ies.
University of Arizona college of pharmacy has entered into the spirit of the nation's Bicentennial with a display embodying both national and local themes. Pictures of Colonial scenes from the Parke-Davis History of Pharmacy Series, captions relating to antique
pharmaceutical apparatus, and photos of early Tucson pharmaceutical significance are shown. Tucson celebrated its Bicentennial in 1975-one year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
A Symposium on Ophthalmic Problems and Their Treatment was presented in February by the University of Utah college of pharmacy and the Utah Pharmaceutical Committee on Continuing Education. Topics included the physiology and common pathology of the eye, the pharmacist 's role
in managing the ophthalmic patient, drugs used in the ophthalmic patient, and drug and surgical treatment of ophthalmic pathology. The luncheon featured speaker Robert Saydah, director of sales, Lederle Laboratories, who discussed "Politics and Professionalism in Pharmacy."
Continuing Education (Continued from page 200) ETV and an option to write in "Other" or " None," the majority selected "Correspondence Courses" (245). The next favored format was "Regional Seminars" (1 78). This latter was the number one choice of pharmacists in apothecary shops and hospital practice, as well as with graduates of six-year programs. "Audio-tape Cassettes" (111) and "Lecture at District Meetings" (110) were the next choices. The day of the week considered best for attending seminars is Sunday (373) with Wednesday (144) as the next choice. Hospital pharmacists were about evenly divided between Saturday and Sunday, with a slight majority favoring Saturday. The respondents were asked if they would be interested in participating in a short (five-day) course in clinical pharmacy which would include patient rounds with the medical staff, conferences, case pre-
sentations, etc. A small majority of respondents expressed interest in such a program (448, yes; 387, no). The greatest interest was shown by pharmacists in hospitals and apothecary shops. By type of practice, only the traditional community pharmacists polled more "no" than "yes." Less interest was expressed by pharmacists who had been practicing longer than 15 years. In all categories, a majority of pharmacists were willing to pay modest registration and/or tuition fees for continuing education programs. Also, in all categories, most respondents shared the belief that a majority of pharmacists will not voluntarily participate in continuing education programs. With respect to mandatory continuing education, a slight majority was opposed (446, no; 392 , yes). Hospital pharmacists (by two to one), a slight majority of employee pharmacists and those in practice for less than 10
years would support required continuing education. It is interesting that whereas a majority of respondents believed continuing education is necessary for the conduct of good practice, they do not believe that most pharmacists will voluntarily participate in continuing education programs. Furthermore, a majority of responding pharmacists would not support regulation or legislation which would require their participation in continuing education programs . • References
Vol. NS 16, No.4, April 1976
1. Dickson , W.A ., and Buerki, R.A ., " Determining Needs in Continuing Pharmaceutical Education: A Rational Approach ," proceedings , American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Conference of Teachers, Section of Teachers of Continuing Education , Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 5 (1971) 2. Ibid. 3. Stearns , N.S., et al., " Continuing Medical Education in Community Hospitals," The Massachusetts Medical Society, Boston , Mass., 14, 15 (1971 ) 4. Pellegrino, E.D., " Continuing Education in the Health Professions ," Am. J. Pharm. Educ. , 33, 718 (1969 ) 5. Schieve, J.F., " Techniques in Teaching the Adult," Am. J. Pharm. Educ., 33, 764 ( 1969)