A Pilot Study of Hospital Pharmacists’ Preferences for Practice Support
Of the approximately 9000 pharmacists registered with the Ontario College of Pharmacists, almost 1300 (about 14%) practise in the hospital setting (Connie Campbell, Ontario College of Pharmacists, personal communication, June 4, 2001). In many hospitals, the role of the pharmacist has evolved from a purely distributive one to that of being an active member of the health care team. The 1997/98 annual report of hospital pharmacy in Canada, produced by the CSHP,1 noted that the involvement of pharmacists in clinical services had been increasing steadily since at least 1991/92. In fact, the number of pharmacists participating in clinical activities increased by amounts ranging from 29% to 90% over the period from 1991/92 to 1997/98. As well, the number of therapeutic interventions by hospital pharmacists increased by 92% from 1992/93.1 The CSHP guidelines with regard to pharmacist education and staff development2 are general in scope. They state that “All staff involved in pharmacy services shall be provided with educational and staff development programs including orientation, inservice education, and continuing education programs, based on a needs assessment.” As well, “Pharmacy staff shall be encouraged to attend meetings or seminars relevant to the function of the department or their particular service. Financial support and/or time in lieu should be provided by the institution where possible.”2 The annual report of the CSHP for 1997/98 listed as one of its “vision objectives” to “Provide support to members in their Direct Patient Care role through education, skills development and practice tools”.3 Clearly, continuing education and practice support and tools are viewed as important by CSHP. Indeed, given the constantly evolving role of hospital pharmacists, it is no surprise that education and tools would be in demand. For a literature search conducted on PUBMED in June 1999 and updated in December 2000, Canada, hospital, and pharmacy were used as the first 3 search terms, and several hundred records were found. However, when the terms continuing education, needs assessment, professional programming, and professional tools were added, only 5 records were retrieved.4-8 Only one of the papers reported a needs assessment, and it focussed specifically on drug information services.7 Thus, it seems that little recent research has been published on the needs and wants of Canadian hospital pharmacists with regard to continuing education, professional programming, or professional tools. Some work has been done to describe the preferences and use of continuing education programs by Atlantic pharmacy practitioners, based on the Atlantic Continuing Pharmacy Education Survey (unpublished work, D.K. Yung, College of Pharmacy, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, November 1995). The Ontario College of Pharmacists has also conducted a survey of the selfperceived continuing education needs and learning experiences of pharmacists in that province.9
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