How can pharmacists stay on top of trends in current and developing medications?
The pharmacist is one of the most important roles within healthcare, working in a number of settings across the industry. Most people will be familiar with clinical pharmacists, who work in hospitals to dispense medication and offer expert pharmaceutical advice around patient treatment plans.
Wherever you work as a pharmacist, having the right knowledge is vital. Those training to move into this role must therefore study to gain their Doctor of Pharmacy degree first. This does not always mean studying in the traditional way, as the pharmD program online from the University of Find lay demonstrates. Designed especially for distance learners, it combines 100% didactic coursework with top-class experiential learning.
While the above explains how you can pick up the knowledge needed to become a pharmacist, this is only the beginning of the journey. It is also key for any trained pharmacist to constantly stay on top of current medications and up to speed with developing ones. This means they always have the latest information to rely on when giving advice, know all the latest data on drugs they dispense, and know about the most exciting developments in the industry.
But how do they do this?
Subscribe to industry specific magazines
As in many other sectors, there are a range of magazines which cover the latest news in the pharmaceutical world. These dedicated pharmacy publications are usually available when you sign up for a paid annual subscription.
Although this does involve some initial cost, it is money well spent. Subscribing to pharmacy magazines provides a hassle-free way to find out about emerging medications. They are also an easy to access way of taking in the latest headlines around current drugs that your pharmacy stocks. Many people in the pharmaceutical world will often sign up for a few different publications and use these as a way to gain a more comprehensive overview of current and emerging medications.
Think about joining a pharmaceutical organization
There are multiple professional organizations (such as the NCPA or APhA) which serve the pharmaceutical sector. A good tip for staying on top of the latest news around medications is becoming a member of one. But how does this work?
In simple terms, becoming a member of something like the NCPA enables you to network with other pharmacists. It may also give you the chance to network with other professionals in healthcare who may be researching new medications or looking into how improvements to current medications can be made.
Talking to other pharmacists at organizational events is also a great way to pick up on rumors around new medications and to investigate further about current ones. All this is great for increasing your overall knowledge base and staying on top of what is happening in the industry.
Start attending conferences
This is another very good way for pharmacists to keep an eye on what is happening around medication in their sector. It also helps them to pick up on wider trends in health, such as CBD and electronic health records. Conferences are not only another great networking tool for finding out more about emerging pharmaceuticals but will also feature thought leaders giving expert talks.
Even just taking the time to listen to these presentations and getting fresh insight into the latest data around medications makes these events worth attending. When you also add in how they can give you fresh ideas on how current medication can be used or what new alternatives might be launched soon, the usefulness of conferences becomes clear.
Think about becoming a preceptor
Preceptors play a crucial role in preparing the next generation of pharmacists. For preceptors themselves, this is not only extremely rewarding personally but a great way to polish your knowledge of new and current medications.
This is commonly achieved just from talking to students and hearing them tell you about a new drug for a certain condition they have covered in their course. It may also allow students to offer recently released data on current medications which they have been taught as part of their program.
It is also key to note that some pharmacy schools will enable their preceptors to access free online resources for drug information. This is naturally a great way to continue learning about current medication your pharmacy may stock or find out about new drugs you may soon have to dispense.
Online news and social media
Of course, keeping an eye on the latest online news in the pharmaceutical world is one way to stay on top of current and emerging drugs in your role. This is not only something which is easy to do but something which is also very accessible now.
Mobile devices in particular mean you can catch up on breaking news about an exciting new type of drug, details on research into medication for certain conditions, and stories about current medications you may work with – at any time you’d like. Most news websites online are free to use, and this makes it a cost-effective way of achieving your goals.
Social media is massive in the modern world, and this means pharmacists use these platforms to stay current. Free to access, learning to use social media sites like Twitter gives an easy way to not only follow breaking stories related to medication but also follow the accounts of leading companies, figures, and leaders in the pharmaceutical field. This makes them a top resource for breaking stories around current medications in the pharmaceutical world or new drugs about to transform the sector.
Staying current as a pharmacist is crucial
There is no doubt that gaining the initial qualifications you need to work as a pharmacist is essential. Without these behind you, you will not be able to work legally and will not have the right basic knowledge to succeed.
Once you have qualified though, making the effort to keep up with news around current medications and stories about emerging ones is key. This is something which is quite easy to do, and there are a number of ways to go about it as we have discussed above.