Pharmacists, It’s Time to Step Away – 4 Reasons to Attend a Workshop

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Why attend workshops?

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Did you know there’s an oft-quoted statistic that 64% of features in a piece of software are never used? What a waste of both resources and potential, right? How accurate that percentage is – and whose fault it may be – are debated in the IT field. Regardless, we could all ask ourselves, about both our software and our career in general, “What am I wasting because I’m not effectively using what I already have?”

Being a hard worker, putting in lots of time on the job, is the traditional approach to achieving success in your career – to getting ahead. But you might consider that in today’s knowledge economy, “learning hard” has become the equivalent. In this view, not stepping away from daily work to learn should be viewed as a type of mental complacency with long-term effects just as insidious as those of not moving enough physically. In fact, people who work hard but don’t take regular time to learn may find their career in jeopardy in a way that runs completely counter to how hard they’re working.

There are many ways to learn, of course: weekly newsletters, web posts, industry journals, regular chats with peers. But choosing to take a day away from routine to travel somewhere else, to gather with new people and listen and talk about new information, is compelling for reasons that aren’t easily replicated. Let’s explore 4 of them:

It’s hard to improve without focusing.
Nobody needs to tell you the pressures of the competitive environment you work in. Although research says that multitasking is actually inefficient, most of us find it unavoidable. But how effective could trying to learn something new be if it’s squeezed into the daily hustle, or happens after hours when you’re tired? Fully absorbing new information – making connections to prior knowledge, understanding ideas well enough to share them with others, using the new learning for creative problem-solving – is generally inhibited under rushed or stressed conditions. The focused time that’s unique to in-person events, such as seminars and workshops, can address this stumbling point.

You’ll be exposed to insights you wouldn’t otherwise.
We’re probably all guilty of doing something repeatedly and hoping for a different outcome. Humans are even wired to seek out information that confirms what we already think. But meeting new people face-to-face can provide the catalyst to make a change that actually gets us closer to a solution. For many of us, in-person learning sessions facilitate better understanding and recall than reading or even online sessions, because we have access to more nuanced information – mannerisms, gestures, tone, voice volume. The communication is not only heard but also seen and felt.

Back on the job, you will share what you learned – making an exponential impact.
One of the best ways to remember and understand new knowledge is to teach it to other people. And because it’s unlikely that you work alone, it’s highly likely you’ll teach colleagues and staff any new tips that could be helpful for saving time, being more accurate, tapping new revenue, providing better patient care, and more. Considered this way, one person’s time away from daily business could have a ripple effect that amply justifies the time investment.

It’s an antidote to worry about falling behind.
The issue of work stress for pharmacists is so prominent that major pharmacy organizations have come together to push consensus recommendations for preventing burnout. A difficult business climate, and how to compete in it, are major sources of this stress. But a recognized way to push back against stress is to take actions that make you feel more in control. Setting aside special time for learning and career improvement is one way of exercising control. Which brings us back around to the first reason to take time off to learn – it’s more effective when you’re less stressed.

You may or may not fully master medication synchronization, billing matrices – or the 64% of your pharmacy software you’re not using – in a 30-minute presentation or roundtable discussion, but your mind will take the first all-important steps in the learning process. You’ll have a framework, reinforced by the rich information of an in-person experience, to which you can attach further learning. You’ll return to work with the new perspectives that are almost unavoidable when you do something out of the norm. Because really, the only wrong way to learn is not to.

Who makes regular time for learning? What topics would you like to see covered in your ideal pharmacy workshop? Talk to us.

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