Objective: IPSA (Institute for Permanent Study for Pharmacists) wanted to assess community pharmacists' opinion on CE-related issues in order to develop more tailored CE programs.
Method: A survey for self-administration was sent to 1691 community pharmacists. The method of stratified sampling was used to include pharmacists who do not take up CE courses as well.
Main outcome measures: (1) Preferences for course formats, topics of interest and opinion on different CE providers; (2) Facilitators and barriers for participation in CE courses; (3) Opinion on rewarding and participation, obligation and willingness to pay.
Results: A response rate of 62.8% was obtained after three mailings. Lectures remain the most favorite course format. Topics related to pharmaceutical care are the most wanted. The strongest facilitators for attending CE courses are gathering practical knowledge and keeping scientific knowledge up to standard. Social contact with colleagues and receiving a syllabus are perceived as moderately motivating factors. Most frequently mentioned barriers were lack of time, family constraints, distance to the classes and uninteresting subjects. Around 2/3rd of questioned pharmacists are willing to invest more time in CE when participation would be rewarded. When it comes to opinion on mandatory CE, disagreement exists between pharmacists who take up CE courses and those who don't, the latter being less in favor.
Conclusion: This survey revealed community pharmacists' opinions, wishes and needs concerning CE. This should enable CE providers to develop more tailored CE programs.