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4 Tips for Staying Current on Literature

Sep 06, 2018

It has been 12 years since I graduated pharmacy school and I think one of the hardest things to do is to remain current and up-to-date with the literature. I speak to student pharmacists from experience about the ways to remain current after graduation. There is so much information published on a daily, even weekly basis, that reviewing and digesting it for clinical application can become overwhelming. As a member of several national organizations, I have access to their online and printed journal articles. They often email the journal’s table of contents and when you look for the articles related to diabetes, you find so many. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine (impact factor = 79) published the following articles related to diabetes management in the past month:

  • August 26, 2018
    • Effects of aspirin for primary prevention in persons with diabetes mellitus
    • Effects of n-3 fatty acid supplements in diabetes mellitus
  • August 16, 2018
    • Smoking cessation, weight change, type 2 diabetes and mortality
  • August 9, 2018
    • Closed-loop insulin delivery for glycemic control in noncritical care


I may have already read the article myself, but it is good to re-evaluate the literature from a different point of view to aid retention of the information.


I will be honest, I receive table of contents from Diabetes Care, but I don’t read all the articles. Many articles may discuss patient populations that I do not see in my clinical practice; because I cannot extrapolate the results to my practice, I do not read the articles. As another example, though I love learning about closed-loop devices and continuous glucose monitoring, I am not utilizing this technology with patients at my practice site. Therefore, these types of articles are a low priority in my scheduled time to read articles.

Here are the ways I remain current on literature:

  1. I schedule and invest time to read the latest articles. The scheduled time may be 30 to 60 minutes since I find that if I have a blocked time to read, then I am more likely to accomplish it.
  2. I remain active in organizations by attending state or national meetings. This is a great way to hear about literature that has been published in the previous 6 to 12 months. I may have already read the article myself, but it is good to re-evaluate the literature from a different point of view to aid retention of the information.
  3. I enforce a strategy when I see a certain article to determine if it is appropriate for me to read. For example, I read the title of the article and if relevant, I will then read the abstract. If the abstract gives me the sense that I need to dive in the article a little bit deeper, then I will either read the article myself or turn it into a student project, since student pharmacists who rotate through my clinic will have to participate in at least two journal clubs as a learning assignment.
  4. I create and maintain an electronic library of articles for myself that I can refer to later or when asked to speak on a certain topic.

So how do you stay up to date? Please share your strategies or any journals you may be reading that would be useful for fellow diabetes educators.


Jennifer Clements

About the Author

Jennifer Clements received her Doctorate of Pharmacy from Campbell University in 2006 and completed a primary care residency at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2007. She is also a certified diabetes educator and board certified in pharmacotherapy. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy.

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