Barriers to pharmacist participation in continuing education in Australia


  • Jennifer L. Marriott Department of Pharmacy Practice, Monash University, 381 Royal Parade, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia
  • Gregory J. Duncan Department of Pharmacy Practice, Monash University, 381 Royal Parade, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia
  • Kevin P. MC Namara Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health, Deakin and Flinders Universities, Warrnambool, Vic., Australia


Barriers, continuing education, pharmacist Introduction Continuing education (CE), is well recognised as part of the professional pharmacy landscape (Biggs, 2003). In 2000, the Council on Credentialing in Pharmacy in the United States (US) defined CE as,


Background: The pharmacy profession recognises of the need for continuing education (CE), however, the rate of participation in organised CE remains low. Little is known about the reasons for low participation rates in CE, particularly in the Australian context.
Aim: This research aimed to identify the barriers to participation of Australian pharmacists in CE.
Method: Focus groups were held with Australian community pharmacists, grouped into experienced pharmacists, recently qualified pharmacists, pharmacists with specialist-training needs, and pharmacists practising in rural or remote areas. Focus group transcripts were thematically analysed.
Results: Barriers identified by pharmacists included time constraints, accessibility – in terms of travel and cost, relevance, motivation, quality and method of CE delivery. Participants provided ideas to improve uptake of CE.
Conclusion: The major barriers identified were time, accessibility and relevance of content. To improve uptake of CE a wider variety of flexibly delivered programs supplemented with in-depth workshops could be utilised.


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Research Article