Across the nation, businesses are becoming more creative and innovative in this “new normal” that has consumed all of us since mid-March of this year. We have seen distilleries stepping up to the plate to produce hand sanitizer.  We have seen novice crafters pulling out dusty sewing machines to make customized facial coverings for strangers. We have seen automobile manufacturers convert the assembly line of automobiles into a pipeline for ventilators. Workplaces, including our own at PharmCon, have transitioned entire traditional business models into online and ‘work from home’ models in a matter of days. Years of debate in our own county in South Carolina about the feasibility of creating and launching an online “back-up” system for students to avoid missing school days due to inclement weather were put to rest immediately. 

All of these things immediately became a necessity. No longer was it a “nice goal to work toward” or an issue to be debated between various groups of stakeholders. And, I think that we have all been surprised by what we have been able to accomplish when the need became a priority. As Plato so eloquently observed back in the ‘BC’ days: “Necessity, indeed, is the mother of invention!”

While our own efforts at PharmCon have not yielded a pipeline supply for ventilators or even a PharmCon branded hand sanitizer, we have been busy innovating nonetheless! Our “new normal” requires that we adapt rapidly to a changing landscape for medical continuing education. The “old formula” of spending weeks in development of new programming simply does not work in an evolving pandemic. The “old formula” of scheduling events 45 days out on the calendar simply does not work for these educational needs. Imagine, for a moment, if we were JUST NOW releasing a COVID-19 program that had been in development for the past 45 days!  The program would likely cover the most preliminary information on all of the earliest thoughts; many of which are now disproven or have become irrelevant.

So, in our new “work from home” model, the PharmCon team truly came together to innovate as a team. Our current professional COVID-19 offerings are a testament to the commitment of the PharmCon team to keep relevant and timely educational information at the forefront. And, these offerings will continue to expand as the needs grow. 

Personally, one of my favorite additions to the COVID-19 offerings are the weekly live updates from Professor Pete Kreckel. These sessions occur each Tuesday evening at 6:30pm EST and are designed to be a quick and concise look at the COVID-19 news over the prior week. Professor Pete scours the news and chooses topics that are likely to impact pharmacy practice. And, if you have ever participated in any of Professor Pete’s classes with FreeCE or enrolled in his Self-Care Specialist certification series, you know that he brings relevant and applicable information to the table in an interesting and engaging way. If you have not been able to join us for one of Professor Pete’s weekly sessions, I encourage you to make the commitment to join us this coming Tuesday evening! If you have missed prior sessions, no worries!  Each weekly session is designed to be independent of the others, so now is the perfect time to join this weekly discussion. You will see why so many pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are tuning in from week to week.

In previous weeks, Professor Pete has examined topics ranging from pharmacy drug shortages to clinical trials involving medications that are making headlines, including hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir. He has explored the virus through the lens of a poison control center, a statistician, a researcher, and, yes, even a community pharmacist! In short, this discussion is always evolving… but it is always interesting and informative. And, yes, Professor Pete is an integral part of our own innovation as we have pushed forward during this COVID-19 crisis. I encourage you to come check out our latest evolution in live programming: Tuesday evening at 6:30pm EST! 

And, in the spirit of Professor Pete: “Have a Great Day on the Bench!!”