A Chat with Dr. Anita Young about Pharmacist Continuing Education

February 29, 2020 •
Interviews •
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Henry Ford once said that “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” If that is true, then my friend and professional colleague in pharmacy is certainly doing her part to keep us all young. Maybe it is no coincidence that her name is actually Anita Young! I have known Anita for many years, and several weeks ago we started talking about sharing her passion for Continuing Education with the readers here at The Honest Apothecary.

Dr. Young is currently the Director of Continuing Pharmacy Education for Northeaster University, Bouvé College of Health Sciences. It is a real honor to sit and chat with Anita about her career and work. Please pull up a chair, grab a drink, and listen in while I ask Anita about her professional focus on providing valuable and interesting Continuing Education events for pharmacists.


Hi Anita. Thanks for being willing to share a bit about your career and work with our readers here at The Honest Apothecary. Can you begin by just sharing a little summary of your career as a pharmacist with us?

My career began as a clerk in a local pharmacy at 15 years old…dusting shelves and ringing up sales in the cash register. I applied to MCP, graduated and went to work first in community and then in hospital pharmacy. Took a brief hiatus to have three children then went back to work as an on-call pharmacist. From there to full time in hospital pharmacy…eventually becoming a Director of Pharmacy. My career has taken me on a wonderful ride. I have Master’s in Education and a Doctorate in Education. I have served on the BORP, as an ACPE Commissioner and am the Honorary President of NABP. I also received the Bowl of Hygeia. Who could ask for anything more?


How did your career come to focus on providing Continuing Education opportunities and why is this a passion for you?

When I was a hospital pharmacist, I noticed many opportunities for CPE were available to me…but not so for community-based practitioners. I decided to fill that gap by offering CE activities in the evening at the hospital I was working. Obviously, the need was there, and my career took off from there.


What is the biggest challenge you face in the area of providing continuing education for pharmacists?

Webinars. They make it easy to earn CE credits. People are not attending live CE anymore and there is a real lack of community and esprit d’corps because of it.


How has the Continuing Education market changed over the course of your career?

Technology has made it easy to get CE. Younger pharmacists are not as engaged and do not see the importance of “coming together”.


Is there anything you wish pharmacists did differently with respect to their continuing education needs?

Take CE seriously. CE is meant to provide valuable information for the outcome of patient care. CE should provide a learning experience where the learner (pharmacist) learns something that can be taken away and applied on the job. It is very disheartening when I walk through a room and see pharmacists playing games on their iPhones rather than listening or participating in the presentation. It is  disrespectful when I see folks doing work related business rather than giving speakers (who volunteer their time) attention. If one patient is helped by the CE activity, then we have done our job.


How can my readers learn more about the CE programs that you are involved in providing?

Go to the website: www.rxce.neu.edu or call me.


There’s an old Greek Proverb that says “All things good to know are difficult to learn.” But thanks to great educators like Dr. Anita Young, that learning process is maybe just a little less difficult for folks like you and me. Thank you Anita!