WHEN confronted with a challenge which must be overcome (an all-too-familiar occurrence for any decision maker in the NHS or world of pharmacy), the routine course of action would be to seek the expertise of contemporary leaders. In his plenary speech at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Annual Conference on September 5, Keith Ridge (Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England) encouraged the delegation and profession to listen to the opinions of young pharmacists and those still in training, such as myself.
We represent the future of the profession. What Dr Ridge offers is a willingness to recognise and support the opinions of future leaders too.
To solve a problem, people at all levels should be involved in finding a solution.
Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland, Professor Rose Marie Parr, pointed to issues of sustainability, affordability and workforce in her plenary speech. Change is inevitable but can be difficult for some to embrace. I believe that the next generation of pharmacists – my generation – are ready and willing to face those challenges and innovate in our future practice. The current MPharm programme is well structured to prepare students to provide safe, effective, patient-centred care and take accountability and responsibility for clinical decision-making.
My personal ambition is to set out to gauge the aspirations and expectations of pharmacy students for their future profession through a large-scale survey. I hope to achieve this through my role as Secretary General of the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association, and to write a discussion paper based on these views. This will explore themes related to the provision of seven-day clinical pharmacy services, pharmacists’ place in the multiprofessional team, provision of prescribing training, students’ willingness to fund their own professional development, and the areas of pharmacy practice in which students are most interested.
Students need to be engaged and make it clear what they want from the profession. I call upon the current leaders of the profession to take on board the viewpoint of students and collaborate with them when setting the course for our future. I strongly believe that the future is bright for us, with greater clinical and professional responsibility. With new roles created, pharmacists could and should assume overall responsibility for the use of medicines in all care pathways. There are challenges and barriers to such ambitions, but with a positive attitude and confidence in our capabilities, we will achieve them.
You can access the survey here.
Thomas Byrne is an MPharm student, pharmacy assistant, and British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) Secretary General
Follow Tom @pharmtb