5 Ways to Keep Your Drug Knowledge Current

it's important for pharmacists' drug knowledge to stay current.

When I listen to music from 20 years ago, I frequently ask myself whether the song still holds up today.

Some older songs would probably be hits if they were released now, but others seem outdated. For example, I still like to listen to Nirvana, but I cringe when I hear Stone Temple Pilots.

Likewise, it’s important for pharmacists’ drug knowledge to stay current.

One of the most frequent questions new pharmacists ask is how to keep up with new drug approvals and treatment guidelines.

Here are some ways to stay current in the ever-changing drug landscape.

1. Learn on the job.

You’re already working, so why not use this time to learn? If you have downtime, read about new drugs that you aren’t familiar with.

Does your employer provide a newsletter for new drug approvals? Do you have paid access to continuing education (CE) resources? If so, take advantage of these resources.

2. Find interesting CE.

A lot of pharmacists look around for free CE, complete it, and then never give it another thought.

Why not search out quality CE that covers topics you want to learn more about? If you’re looking for a change of pace, perhaps you could attend a live CE event or a state board meeting.

3. Find a part-time job in another aspect of pharmacy.

Consider seeking out an opportunity that broadens your drug knowledge.

If you work full-time in a hospital, then you will learn all about formulary drugs, but you may not absorb much information about non-formulary drugs. Working an occasional shift at a retail pharmacy could provide you with these learning opportunities.

4. Speak with other pharmacists.

If you have friends that are pharmacists in other areas of the industry, ask them about what they do and what drugs they frequently dispense.

If you don’t have a lot of friends in pharmacy, or you don’t get much time to speak with them, consider joining a local pharmacists association and meeting some people who work in different environments.

5. Consider a board certification.

Obtaining a board certification provides the opportunity for growth and development. Seek out the certification that seems interesting to you, not necessarily the one that benefits your current role the most. You may even be able to use a certification to change your career path.