University of Wisconsin–Madison

Continuing Professional Development and Its Importance in the Pharmaceutical World

We recently sat down with Dr. Stephanie Passas-Farmer to talk about the importance of career development for pharmaceutical professionals both at the start of their professional lives and as they grow into their middle careers. According to Dr. Passas-Farmer, this ongoing learning is critical for career advancement and personal growth. Here’s why.

  • Developing new skills and a broader understanding of all areas of pharmaceutical sciences allows a professional to identify new career options, avoid common pitfalls, and contextualize specialized learning in a way that contributes to new insights for the learner and their organization.
  • The field is shifting and developing very quickly. It’s nearly impossible to keep up without ongoing structured learning.
  • Learning from and with other experts grows the entire field. Sharing and advancing new ideas collaboratively is the lifeblood of science. Continuous learning in a collegial environment provides a crucial platform for advancing the field in this way.

The Young Professional

While these factors are important for all career phases, there are additional benefits for pharmaceutical professionals in the early stage of their career. Young learners must develop a commitment to lifelong learning, as it is essential for professionals seeking to improve healthcare outcomes while navigating complex personal and professional choices.

Professional degree programs are excellent for providing the technical and scientific basis of knowledge for young professionals. However, they cannot always provide all the knowledge, skills, and values required for a constantly evolving healthcare system. CPD introduces opportunities to gain this critical learning while introducing a network of colleagues and senior professionals to serve as peer support networks, mentors, and exemplars.

The Mid-career Professional

The opportunity to see what is happening in the field outside the confines of one’s company can open up new avenues of knowledge to the mid-career pharmacy professional. While it may be difficult to find both the time and funding to support participation in this type of learning and development, it can bring a lot back to the organization and the professional. The organization benefits from having engaged supported learners, the professionals can bring the learnings back to the organizations and apply them, and provides direction for the organization as a whole. Professional development offers chances to keep abreast of regulatory changes and presents opportunities to meet with regulators in a flexible learning environment. Mid-career professionals bring all of this knowledge back to their own organizations, which helps contributes to organizational success and demonstrates the value of ongoing CPD.

Established professionals can use continuing education events as a way to influence younger colleagues and ensure the continued strength and growth of the profession. Whether as a member of a peer network, as a mentor to young professionals, or as a lecturer or presenter at a conference, CPD provides multiple opportunities to impact the direction of the field for the more experienced practicing leaders.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or are just starting out in your pharmacy career, the importance of continuing education is impossible to overstate. Finding professional development programs doesn’t have to be complicated. To increase the likelihood of quality learning that translates to your career, look for some of these components in a program:

  1. Find a provider offering deep learning opportunities across several different formats in an area where you have a particular interest or preference.
  2. Work with your organization and invest in CPD programming that aligns with an identified business need; is interactive and hands-on; and provides an opportunity for reflection.
  3. Seek out self-directed opportunities (in content and context) that focus on specific outcomes/objectives and include a commitment to change by the learner.
  4. Look for opportunities to build a strong professional network. CPD taught by world-class faculty and industry experts allow you to build relationships with Key Opinion Leaders (KOIs).

The Division of Pharmacy Professional Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is proud to offer a variety of programs and formats that will help you reach your personal and professional goals. Our programs are flexible, specialized, and provide networking opportunities with current and future leaders in the field. View our Applied Drug Development Certificate Program or the Land O’ Lakes Conference Series to find your path, then reserve your space today!