“It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.” – Jerry Seinfeld
Whether you are interviewing for a new job, looking to change career paths, pursuing a promotion or just cruising along in your current career, staying up to date on the news in our profession is critical. And, with all due respect to Mr. Seinfeld, it may involve reading more than the local newspaper.
As pharmacists we will be asked both by the public and our peers what our thoughts are on the latest happenings in our industry. Keeping current is critical. This is especially so if you have been out of the job market and are just beginning to get back up to speed. While the importance of clinical skills and pharmacology knowledge cannot be overstated, familiarity with trends in the industry can be equally important.
Interviewers often ask for your thoughts on current events related to your profession. And while they won’t expect you to be an expert on some random news-flash, they might expect you to be modestly conversant on a top-news item of the day.
But how does a pharmacist stay on top of all the news in our field? Of course, the simple answer is that you can’t. There is no way for anyone to master all the latest information that is being published at any given time. There are hundreds of medical journals, tens of thousands of medical articles and studies, and literally millions of websites, blogs and news outlets that produce and distribute pharmaceutical information. At best all one can hope to do is stay current in a very narrow field of research, and even that would take a substantial amount of time.
Thankfully, however, there are easier ways to stay reasonably and conversationally current on the most important pharmacy-related news. Allow me to share some suggestions. I have personally been a pharmacy news-consumer for over 2 decades. As a writer, consultant and teacher I feel strongly about staying current as much as possible. Just a handful of useful websites and weekly routines makes it much easier than you might think.
Staying current on local news in your own state can be accomplished pretty easily by checking out information published online in the health pages of your most popular local newspapers. Health reporters make a career out of scouring the internet and news media for the most talked-about studies, discoveries and trends in health and medicine. While you shouldn’t necessarily adopt the views and perspectives conveyed by these articles, they will generally point you in the direction of what is important right now.
In addition to the health pages of your local newspapers, you can also check out the news and information provided by your state pharmacy association and your state Board of Pharmacy. If either of these don’t provide enough local information, try doing a Google News search and include state name along with other medical terms of interest.
As for finding important national news, the choices are many. The challenge is to narrow it down to a few reliable sites and sources so that you are not spending hours looking for news relevant to your field. A few suggestions would include Medscape for their “latest medical news” feed and Medical News Today. I have also been a long-time fan of Corey Nahman’s Internet Drug News and Adam Fein’s interesting and entertaining Drug Channels.
And don’t forget to check out some of the social media channels for great tips on important news. Many LinkedIn groups exist that will frequently share important, current news. And Twitter allows you to capture your favorite news sharing Twitter friends into lists, allowing you to filter your feed with just the pharma news you want.
Staying on top of the current news in your profession isn’t hard. Like Seinfeld says, it all fits in the newspaper. And with a few carefully calculated clicks most pharmacists can browse the big news in a few minutes per day, and allow you to spend more time reading the articles and studies that interest you most.