Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Who and Why of CE

As you can imagine, the last thing a student wants to consider is more education, when all they really want is to be done the loads and loads of homework, studying and on-rotation learning.  

However, as I approach the end of my second week at rxBriefCase, I have found myself reconsidering the value of Continuing Education.

As pharmacists, we are some of the most trusted and accessible healthcare professionals. Many patients approach us when they have questions about their medications (both prescription and OTC!) or simply need guidance. It is therefore very important to be competent and up-to-date if we are to properly address patients’ concerns.

Why Do Continuing Education?

Stay current
Clinical trials are conducted regularly to identify new findings and information about medical conditions. Unless you are an avid fan of, it is challenging and time consuming to read all the primary literature required to keep current. CE courses are the easier way to stay informed about new changes and respond to patients appropriately.

Guidelines made easy
As you know, clinical practice guidelines are lengthy documents that provide extensive information on the management of medical conditions. Let’s just take an example of Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Guidelines which is 227 pages long and contains some information that may not be relevant to pharmacy practice.  CE courses are designed to summarize relevant information from the guidelines in a concise and practical manner, which will then help you apply the information in real-world scenarios.

New developments in the pharma world
Pharmaceutical companies are constantly working to develop newer and more advanced medications for several disease states. For example, a recent advancement in the world of onychomycosis was made with the launch of  a new therapy. These advancements are often discussed by experts in the field, using a wide array of journal articles and supporting clinical trials to provide updates to their peers via CE courses. See the Onychomycosis program for an example of how new developments are addressed in CE.        

Memory refresher
Many of you may have graduated years ago and have forgotten key information on certain topics or are fresh grads and just don’t have enough knowledge about particular topics. Don’t worry, CE courses are here to your rescue! Based on self-assessment, you can determine what therapeutic topics are in need of a refresher and participate in a related CE to obtain key information on pathophysiology, treatment strategies, and dosing recommendations.  

Are you scrambling through therapeutic choices, lecture notes, patient self-care, and totally confused about specific topics? CE courses can be your go-to resource to help you prepare for your PEBC and OSCE exam. CE courses provide practical and concise information that can help you connect the dots.

Who Among Us Would Benefit from Continuing Education? 

  • Pharmacists: Both new pharmacists and pharmacists practising for a while can benefit from CE programs.

  • Pharmacy students: Students can strengthen their in-class learning with the help of CE programs as well as prepare for their licensing exams.

  • Pharmacy technicians: Can benefit from the CE programs for professional development.

Nationwide CE requirements for pharmacists  



Participation in CE is mandatory and pharmacists are required to report a minimum of 15 CE units annually.
No mandatory requirement but pharmacists are encouraged to identify their learning needs and participate in CE courses accordingly.
Pharmacists are required to complete a minimum of 15 hours of accredited learning activities annually.
Information not available
Pharmacists are required to document a minimum of 15 hours of learning annually.
Nova Scotia
Pharmacists are required to complete a minimum of 15 units of continued education each year.
Pharmacists are required to complete 15 CEUs between April 1 of the previous membership year and June 1 of the following year.
New Brunswick
Pharmacists are required to complete a minimum of 15 units annually to be qualified for licensing the following year.
Prince Edward Island
No mandatory requirements. Pharmacists should participate in continued education based on personal needs for professional development.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Pharmacists are required to complete a minimum of 15 CEUs with at least 7.5 CEUs must be accredited.  The CEUs should be complete between December 1st of the previous membership year and Nov 30th of the following year.