How to Make the Most of Pharmacy Continuing Education Events 

pharmacy continuing education

Attending pharmacy continuing education (CE) sessions is essential to your career as an independent community pharmacy owner or manager.

CE sessions allow you to discover what’s happening in the industry today, and they also provide opportunities to get you out of your own pharmacy’s bubble and meet like-minded professionals who could introduce you to new ideas that will help you serve your patients.

CE credits are required for pharmacists to renew their state licensure, so you might as well make the most out of it.

Follow this guide to ensure you get the most out of the next pharmacy continuing education session you attend.

1. Prepare yourself

Before you attend a pharmacy continuing education event, take some time to prepare.

Study up on who’s attending the event, pick out professional attire you’ll feel comfortable in, and be sure to pack ample business cards.

Review which classes you’ve taken in the past and what will be offered at the upcoming event.

You may find that setting a personal goal will help you make the most out of your CE session. It can be as simple as handing out 50 business cards, getting some face time with a particular presenter, or just learn more about a particular topic. Having that goal at the back of your mind will give you an extra incentive to engage with the people you’re meeting and the information you’re learning.

2. Make connections

Even though CE is required, don’t treat it like a chore — treat it like an opportunity. One of the biggest opportunities you have at CE events is to expand your existing network and meet other industry professionals.

Here are three tips for making new connections:

  • Prepare a quick elevator pitch for when you are introducing yourself. This is a 30-second speech that succinctly demonstrates who you are and what’s special about your pharmacy.
  • Rely on the people you already know at the event and ask them to introduce you to people in their network.
  • Keep your business card at the ready and trade them as often as possible. At the end of the CE event, the stack of cards will serve as a record of everyone you’ve talked to. If you hit it off with someone in particular, use that contact info to follow up with them immediately after the event.
3. Register—and keep track of—your continuing education credits

CE is essential to maintain your pharmacy licensure, so make sure to keep excellent records.

You can keep track of your CE credits through the CPE Monitor service, which is provided by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

The service is invaluable in making sure you’re completing the CE that will ensure you remain compliant in your state. Refer to the NAPB to learn the requirements of your state, specifically.

Altough electronic records are an invaluable convenience, keep a hard copy of your CE credits in your pharmacy in case any issues pop up.

And keep a calendar that tracks when you completed CE and when your license will be up for renewal so you don’t miss the deadline.

4. Choose programs wisely

You have numerous CE programs to choose from, but not all of them will bring you the same amount of value.

When choosing pharmacy continuing education courses, think about the needs of your patients and your goals as a business. Then, pick out courses that will help you meet those needs and achieve those goals.

By tailoring your course selection to your needs and interests, you can get a lot more out of your continuing education experience and pass that added value on to your patients.

Choosing a CE course that fits well with both your personal and professional interests can help you get the most out of the program. And you’ll be more inclined to attend an event that will contribute to your professional growth if you have an interest in it.

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5. Participate

After a late night of networking, it may be tempting to zone out during your CE courses.

You’ll get more out of the experience by being an active participant. That means a good listener, asking questions, and participating in discussions.

By participating, you don’t just add value for yourself, but you add value for your peers in the class as well. Maybe you’ll ask a question that everyone was thinking but didn’t know how to put into words, or you’ll bring up a discussion point that sparks an interesting insight in someone else.

Even if there isn’t a lot of opportunity for participation, you can keep yourself engaged by taking detailed notes. That way, you’ll have a record of all the new things you learned in the session.

6. Take advantage of digital offerings

Even though nothing matches the excitement of going to a live CE event, there are plenty of online options that let you fit your continuing education around your busy schedule, like the webinars and self-paced courses offered by the American Pharmacists Association.

Many of the same rules apply for online courses as in-person events: choose courses that suit your needs and keep good records of them. You can even network, although messaging with other pharmacists on live chats or using forums might not feel as personal as a face-to-face meeting.

Online courses also have the perk of being cheaper than in-person CE events, and sometimes you can even take them for free.


A Member-Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The member-owned company serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.

An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.

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