APRIL 10, 2015
|Jake Peters, TSSP President, with Rep. John B. Holsclaw, Jr.
by Jake Peters, 2015 PharmD Candidate, ETSU
As a student pharmacist, there are several things important to learn while in school. Obviously, most of them revolve around clinical experiences, therapeutics lectures, and studying well past your bedtime, but some of the most important things we learn are not often found in the classroom. Throughout my experiences within a number of pharmacy organizations, one of the most important aspects of being a future pharmacist has become clear, and that is the importance of being an advocate for your profession. Not only does this pertain to the advocacy that goes on at Capitol Hill, but also the service you provide to your colleagues through commitments to those professional organizations.
The political advocacy provided on behalf of all pharmacists in Tennessee by TPA is amazing to be a part of, as a student pharmacist with the Tennessee Pharmacists Association. To see the battles fought by Dr. Micah Cost and Dr. Lucy Adkins for pharmacists this month, sometimes over something as small as one word in a bill, should inspire everyone to pitch in their efforts to help so we can protect the profession we have chosen. Being with legislators and discussing issues specific to pharmacy, I was reminded about the importance of providing education to them so they can understand best how our day-to-day activities provide and improve care for the people we serve. I have heard it said on a number of occasions, but if we are not advocates and educate others on behalf of the profession of pharmacy, who will? This month’s rotation has reinforced that being an advocate politically is something every pharmacist should be a part of, whether it be through visits to the Hill, calling or emailing a legislator, or donating to the PharmPAC Fund. I am anxious to see where the profession moves forward from here and to maintain my active role in advocating for pharmacists.
Also, having the MidYear Meetings at the end of the month, I recognized just how much work and attention to detail goes into the planning and implementation of a professional meeting. From the layout of name badges, to planning the schedules, and ensuring the meeting goes off without a hitch, the TPA staff does a spectacular job. Most of the time we do not even realize how hard they are working, but there are constantly things to do and check on to make sure each attendee has a wonderful experience. Not only that, but to also see pharmacists invested in their profession coming to a meeting is something I don’t know that I have ever noticed. Even though I have been to several state, regional, and national meetings, I am often solely focused on the student pharmacist aspect of the programming and networking with my colleagues. To be an extension of TPA staff and observe pharmacists doing the same things that I do at meetings was encouraging, going forward into many more meetings in the future.
A month at TPA is something I wish every student pharmacist had the opportunity to participate in, as it gives a new perspective on the importance of really investing yourself in the profession of pharmacy. I know it did this for me. However, if you are a student pharmacist reading this, look for the opportunities you have in school to serve your profession and colleagues. If you are a pharmacist, re-engage or continue to do engage, and share those experiences with the student pharmacists and interns you interact with daily, so we can continue to advance our profession forward.