Objective: To analyse the content of messages to an internet mailing list for UK pharmacists and to ascertain if the list was performing a continuing professional development (CPD) function. Method: For one month all messages to the main list were categorised by topic; details of the gender of the correspondent and their sector of the profession were noted. Members were surveyed using an internet questionnaire. Setting: The population of subscribers to the mailing list at http://www.privaterx.com. Key findings: The top three categories of e-mails posted to the list were clinical pharmacy (20%), pharmacy politics (18%) and non-pharmacy chat (14%). Other subjects included legal issues, the Drug Tariff, government policy, business, risk management and e-mails of a personal and supportive nature. The survey obtained a 46% response rate. Ninety-eight per cent of respondents found the list valuable. Respondents reported increased face to face and Internet contact with other pharmacists after joining the list. Forty-four per cent of respondents said their practice had changed as a result of information gained from the mailing list. Qualitative data self-reported by respondents indicated increased self-perceived competence, confidence, knowledge and skills. Approaches to CPD had also been re-examined. Listening to peers' views and overcoming isolation was seen as important. Conclusion: Private-Rx provided pharmacists with a rapid route for information gain, had perceived benefits and appeared to have brought about changes in practice. Internet discussion enables CPD without the restriction of time or place and reaches pharmacists who are under-represented in formal education programmes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health