Put continuing back in education

February 13, 2014By Behind the Shelf Blog

Posted by Dave Wendland

During my 22+ years with Hamacher Resource Group I’ve conducted my fair share of continuing education (CE) programs geared toward pharmacists or pharmacy technicians. In fact, looking back, I’ve led more than 140 such sessions.

That’s the good news. And I’m confident that I’ll continue to stand behind lecterns across the country during 2014 sharing insights and offering ideas for success. I love the energy in the room and the enthusiastic participation that often ensues.

But, there’s also bad news. I’m of the mind that for some audience members, CE has become a chore rather than a vocation. Chores are dreaded when underway and celebrated (and forgotten) when they are completed. Vocations, on the other hand, are lifelong commitments to continually develop and enhance skills in an area of passion – a calling.

If pharmacy is a calling for you, then remain committed to putting the “continuing” part back into your education. A 60- or 90-minute CE program should not be approached as an obligatory requirement for your profession. Instead, imagine if it was approached as an opportunity to develop an immediate action plan that will lead to better results or practices.continuing education program

Here is a simple four-step approach that may inspire you to keep moving after an engaging CE session.

  1. Figure out your goal in advance.Know what you’d like to get out of every continuing education program and why it will be valuable to your profession, your practice, or your patients.
  2. Establish rules of engagement. To successfully apply the new learning you have to figure out what you’re going to do when you leave the room after a live CE program or finish an online exercise.
  3. Define actions and assign responsibilities. Too often we shy away from change because it is so daunting and we fear lack of cooperation. Consider assigning tasks, perhaps on a whiteboard, and building team-focused activities. You’ll be amazed what can be achieved, one step at a time.
  4. Buy a fat red marker. The bigger the better. As tasks are completed and you begin to make progress within your operation, proudly display the accomplishments with a great big “X” next to the task. This will inspire more and more positive action.

Hopefully I’ll see you at one of my upcoming CE programs. If you have topic suggestion, send me a note; I’m always looking for fresh ideas.