THE Local Practice Forum (LPF) development day is the highlight of the insight I’ve received as a British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) rep. First of all, who knew second year Mpharm students could share ideas with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) staff and other successful pharmacists in such a relaxed manner?
It all started when Os, the southern area coordinator mentioned that he was going to an RPS event. I remember thinking “oh, it’s one of those meetings the RPS is always sending emails about”. But then, Os went on about how it’d be a great idea to network with other pharmacists and see what’s going on in the pharmacy world. His excitement for the event got me interested, so I booked a place the next day.
We were three reps from King’s, ready to represent whoever and whatever; we were pretty excited. Unfortunately, Os wasn’t feeling well that day, so couldn’t make it and our excitement died off when we entered the main room and saw all the other delegates, most of them smartly dressed, ready to tackle major issues. Luckily I saw two familiar faces – Michael, BPSA SecGen and Sana, one of the BPSA reps from UCL. BPSA also had it’s own table, so we relaxed a bit.
First part of the day, a tour of the HQ! Apparently all RPS members are welcome to use the library, social area, restaurant and rooms! I mean first of all, it’s free membership for students then I get to use all these things facilities for free too? Have you seen that library with the natural light pouring in and the ancient vibes? What about the social area, I mean, I could just flash my RPS badge and use the free wifi whenever I want? And there’s a mini museum too? It’s a new building? 😮 All for me!
The atmosphere got more comfortable when everyone introduced themselves and said what they’d be doing on Sunday instead of attending RPS meetings. It was interesting to hear some of the responses. This is when I realised that everyone in that room was only human and I respected them even more.
The rest of the first half I was bombarded with so much information, I hardly kept up, especially with the TLA – that actually means Three Letter Acronym :’) … who created that?
It was interesting to see the RPS priorities and the campaigns they’ve been running with one of them being the introduction of pharmacists in GP surgeries and of course access to health records which I think would be great for better management of medicine use.
The talk on making communications relevant locally and the perils of social media was hilarious! It was a good contrast between the serious stuff of who/how to communicate to make the RPS views heard locally, and remembering not to post the frustrating loss of a CD drug online 😉
After all that information and the laughs, there was free lunch! A selection of cold and hot food AND dessert! That was the time I wished I had carried food boxes or a bigger handbag: D. We also had a chance to talk to the other people in the room. I’m personally shy when it comes to mingling and eating, I’d rather mingle than eat; so most of that time I was silently listening to the conversations at the table.
The next sessions we really got a chance to shine. We contributed our ideas on the RPS (confidential), made a scenario based LPF event and interacted with the pharmacists present. It’s fair to say that no one was left out when ideas were being poured out. The other members always listened to the ideas we had, no matter what they were, and they would encourage us to give our opinions on the issues discussed. I really felt that I was playing a major role in pharmacy; I was no longer just a second year Mpharm student, I was already a professional.
We finished off with a panel session. This brought me back to being a second year for I was completely lost throughout the session. To be fair it WAS past 5pm and at that time I would probably be having my Sunday nap. After the event closed, I had enough energy to mingle with the members, and got a new contact.
It might take a while to keep up with everything that’s going on in pharmacy and in the RPS but the LPF day was a great way to start off. Now that I know what I know, I can never go back to limiting my pharmacy updates from my lecturers or Os, there’s a whole other world in pharmacy out there and I’m getting there.
Tracy Ndungu is a pharmacy student at King’s College London and a BPSA rep
Follow Tracy @NdunguTracy