Continuing professional development needs of pharmacy professionals in Zambia: Findings and future directions
Keywords:Continuing education, Continuing professional development, Needs assessment, Pharmacist, Zambia
Background: Despite continuing professional development (CPD) becoming a key strategy for improving health outcomes by enhancing the quality of pharmaceutical care services, the CPD needs of the pharmaceutical practitioners in Zambia remained unknown prior to this study.
Aim: To determine the CPD needs and preferences among pharmaceutical practitioners in Zambia.
Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study involved administering a structured self-administered online questionnaire to collect data from 111 pharmaceutical practitioners registered in Zambia.
Results: The majority of the participants (80%) were Pharmacists with less than 10-years post-registration experience. Several respondents (84.8%) indicated they were engaged in more than one sector of pharmaceutical practice, with hospital and community (retail) pharmacy sectors together having the highest proportion of practitioners. The highly preferred modes of undertaking CPD activities were conferences, seminars, symposia, and workshops (81.7%) followed by hands-on interactive skills activities (79.2%), and short courses (74.4%). CPD involving skills development (95.3%) was highly preferred followed by knowledge impartation (89.9%), behavioural enhancement (77.8%), and lastly attitude inculcation (74.1%). Specific high priority CPD programmes identified included: supply chain management, antimicrobial stewardship, medicine use review, rational use of medicines, and chronic care (non-communicable diseases) management, among several others.
Conclusion: Pharmaceutical practitioners interviewed in this study seem to be in need of contextually relevant CPD programmes. Blended learning approaches involving face-to-face and online learning coupled with hands-on interactive sessions in knowledge impartation, behavioural enhancement, and skills development were preferred. These findings suggest an opportunity in Zambia to develop and upgrade relevant CPD for pharmaceutical practitioners.
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