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What does board certification mean?

By Jordan Burger posted 10-09-2014 21:20


It is that time of the year (well now, twice a year) that pharmacists are giving a sigh of relief after updating their therapeutics and statistics knowledge to sit for board certification exams.  Many co-workers and friends took the exam and are anxiously awaiting the results, each with their own reason why they want board certification, anywhere from career advancement to job requirement to “I just felt it is a good thing to have”.  Hearing their reasons, it made me reflect back on why I attained board certification as well as what does board certification mean?

 I remember first hearing board certification mentioned while in pharmacy school, but didn’t really know what it entailed until my fourth year while on rotations.  I was told by some preceptors that board certification is the next step after residency, or if you do a residency, you should board certification, but others felt that board certification is just an expensive set of four letters behind your name.  I knew board certification was something I wanted to attain, and those views were kept in mind as I transitioned into my Health-System Pharmacy Administration residency.  During my PGY1 year when I asked my preceptors regarding board certification, their thoughts focused on advancement of the profession.  I was able to teach a class on professional organizations and continuing profession development during both years of residency to first year pharmacy students.  In that setting, board certification was a way pharmacists can advance their career and continue to work on the top of their license.  And then during my PGY2 year, the discussion of board certification as a component in the credentialing and privileging process came into play.  Now that the push towards provider status is in full swing, something that can be addressed is the role of board certification.  Should board certification be a requirement for provider status?    

 So what does board certification mean?  I think the answer is that it means something different to each pharmacist.  But in the evolving world of pharmacy and added board certification specialties, it will continue to play a role in the advancement of the profession.  New Practitioner Forum's Practice Advancement Initiative Advisory Group (PAIAG) will be working on resources concerning board certification during the next year, so stayed tuned!

#ClinicalSpecialistsandScientists #Certification #PharmacyPracticeManagers #NewPractitioners #Resident #PharmacyStudents #AmbulatoryCare #AmbulatoryCarePractitioners #Careers #ContinuingEducation #InpatientCarePractitioner #InpatientCare #Professionalism
1 comment



12-01-2014 02:03

Interesting topic Jordan, I too have come across a wide array of opinions regarding board certification. Having just received those expensive four letters myself, I describe it as a 'sigh of relief' rather than a 'reflection of my achievements' or the 'next step in advancing my career'. As a PGY2 currently applying for EM positions I get the subtle feeling that BCPS (or BCOP, etc) is something potential employers expect me to have... as if BPS is another hoop I must jump through to validate my skill set. I'm not sure that was the original intent of BPS certifications. I suspect we have lost sight of what BPS certification should/does mean and that is reflected in the polarizing opinions within our profession. I don't have any groundbreaking ideas about what I would change (if anything) but I'd love to hear thoughts from others on this topic.
I should mention my colleagues in critical care and pediatrics have not felt the same pressure to obtain BPS during their job search since their specialty certifications will debut in 2015.