March 15, 2016  

National board selects Purdue as professional development provider for nuclear pharmacists

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —The national Board of Pharmacy Specialties has appointed Purdue University's College of Pharmacy as the sole provider of continuing education that can be used toward board recertification in nuclear pharmacy for BPS's next 7-year cycle, from January 2016 through December 2022.

Nuclear pharmacy, which involves compounding and dispensing radioactive materials for use in diagnostic imaging and therapy, in 1978 became the first of seven specialty areas designated by the board of pharmacy specialties.

Purdue's College of Pharmacy and its nuclear pharmacy program are considered to be among the best in the nation, but this was the first time the college submitted a proposal to offer continuing education materials that could be used toward board recertification, said Craig Svensson, dean of the College of Pharmacy.

"We are proud to have a history of providing an excellent education in nuclear pharmacy to our students, but many pieces had to come together for us to be able to offer a robust and rigorous program for all pharmacists across the nation who utilize continuing education offerings as the pathway for board recertification," he said. "We are honored to have been selected by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties."

Purdue's nuclear pharmacy continuing education program is a collaboration between Purdue's continuing education and nuclear pharmacy programs, said Kara Duncan Weatherman, a clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice who leads Purdue's nuclear pharmacy program and the newly developed continuing education program.

A subscription provides access to both the program's continuing education component and the "Radiopharmacy Portal," a reference resource for practitioners. The online program includes a variety of educational offerings in several formats, including post-activity competency assessments.  In addition, the program will report earned credit to both the National Association of Boards of Pharmac's CE Monitor program and to the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.

In addition to the continuing education activities, other materials available on the site include industry news, information about radiopharmaceutical products, recommended reference materials, and clinically-based case presentations highlighting the use of radiopharmaceuticals in patient care.

There will be continuing education courses available across more than 20 content areas at any given time, and a minimum of 15 hours of new material will be provided each year, Weatherman said.

"We set out to create something with educational depth, quality and ease of use, in which learners may pick and choose educational content based on their individual needs and interests," Weatherman said. "In addition, the portal has been tailored to provide not only nuclear pharmacy specific offerings, but also accredited continuing education opportunities for nuclear pharmacy technicians and nuclear medicine technologists."

All pharmacists are required to complete a specific number of hours of accredited continuing education each year to meet state licensure requirements, said Marlene Heeg, managing director of continuing education and professional development for the College of Pharmacy, whose team will administer the program.

In addition, the Board of Pharmacy Specialties requires recertification in nuclear pharmacy every seven years. One route for recertification is completion of 100 hours of accredited continuing education in the area of nuclear pharmacy and the other choice is to retake a recertification test.

"Our program provides content that can satisfy both the continuing education requirements for each of the states and the Board of Pharmacy Specialties' continuing education option for recertification in nuclear pharmacy," Heeg said. "We strive to provide a high-quality learning experience in both the content provided and the delivery of that content. The program will be continuously assessed and improved to identify performance gaps and ensure educational objectives are achieved for each of our subscribers."

An annual subscription service has been established for accessing these continuing educational offerings for nuclear pharmacists.  In addition, the content can be utilized by nuclear pharmacy technicians and nuclear medicine technologists to meet their continuing education needs.  More information is available at https://nuclear.pharmacy.purdue.edu 

Writer: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081, ekgardner@purdue.edu                         

Sources: Craig Svensson, 765-494-1368, svensson@purdue.edu                    

Kara Duncan Weatherman, 765-496-1815, kdwman@purdue.edu

Marlene Heeg, 765-494-1474, mheeg@purdue.edu 

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