FIP edition:100 location:Amsterdam date:4-8 October 2012
The importance of continuing education (CE) for community pharmacists is widely recognized. The growing use and possibilities of social media could provide new opportunities in the development of online learning environments of the 21st century.
Although research has been conducted in other professional contexts, little is known on the use of social media in continuing education for community pharmacists.
To determine (1) if pharmacists appreciate social media, and more specifically Facebook, as a tool for CE and (2) if an education module delivered through Facebook can create an increase in knowledge.
During 3 weeks, Flemish community pharmacists (N=44 of the originally 186 registered) took part in an education module on Facebook. Participants were asked to take part in discussions and to answer questions posted by the moderators. The topics concerned cardiac failure and Parkinson’s disease. Participants completed two surveys before and after the module; one to measure their opinion on the use of Facebook, and another to measure their knowledge.
After completion of the module, 75% of the participants considered Facebook a suitable medium for providing CE. One of the main reasons for not finding Facebook suitable was the lack of anonymity when posting a reaction.
The average increase in knowledge was 14,57% (p < 0,05).
Facebook can be a tool for providing CE to community pharmacists in the future. However, some issues need to be solved, as for instance the privacy issue. The results of this pilot study will be taken into account when developing new ways of coaching pharmacists and students in acquiring competencies.