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The final blog: goodbye to the BPSA's 70th Annual Conference, hello the 71st!

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Wow, what a week! Back to reality now (food shopping, washing, revision) - it's safe tosay I have the post-conference blues. The week culminated in a wonderful ball that really was absolutelyfantastic and thoroughly enjoyable, the perfect way to round off a busy week!

Before I continue, I must say a huge thank you to the BPSAexecutives for the work they have put in for us this year.  It's been a pleasure to meet so many peoplethat are passionate about this degree, its prospects and the students thatstudy it.  A big thank you also to thisyear's annual conference organisers - thank you for bringing it to Sunderlandand doing such an amazing job!

Throughout the week, we've not only debated motions todecide if they'll become BPSA policy, but we've also listened to a variety ofspeakers from all over the profession. We've learnt about jobs you can do after this degree that may not beimmediately obvious, which has included some truly inspirational stories frompeople who have a vision and want to do pharmacy differently.  For example, we've heard how valuedpharmacists are in industry due to our unique ability to see things from thepatients' perspective; we've heard what hospital employers look for in apre-reg application and we've also heard from owners of community pharmacies whowant a healthcare centre rather than a retail business.  Hearing people like this talk was inspiringand has made me think more about my future - it's also given me hope andencouraged me to pursue my dreams to make them a reality.  Let's face it; no-one's going to do it forme!  We've also had workshops from thePharmacists' Defence Association and the Centre for Pharmacy PostgraduateEducation, and learnt about the history of pharmacy in England - something Ipersonally found very interesting.  Womenwere certainly not always welcome in the profession or society!

While I enjoyed this immensely and found it incrediblyinteresting, I looked forward to conference business the most.  This included debating motions and hearingfrom the members of the BPSA executive about their experiences over the pastyear.  I have loved hearing what everyonehas to say and even spoke myself a couple of times with the odd question orcomment - truly nerve-wracking for me at first to speak in front of a hundredpeople but you end up being so involved and everyone is so friendly it's notscary at all after a while!  Some motionspassed include full BPSA support for international students in these trickytimes (a situation that is, to my knowledge, improving) and fighting for theinclusion of first-aid training in all MPharm courses.  Finally, BPSA day allowed me to meetrepresentatives from many different areas of pharmacy from the RoyalPharmaceutical Society to the College of Mental Health Pharmacy.  It broadened my horizons and introduced me toa range of services and groups I had no idea existed - and it allowed me topick up a few freebies which were most welcome to a student a week away fromloan day!

It's really hard to sum up such a full and fascinating weekin a blog post, but I hope my enthusiasm for the work of the BPSA has beenconveyed and I really must implore you to find out what the BPSA is about andget involved in any way you can - membership is free so you have noexcuse!  While at the conference, weheard the fantastic news that the pre-reg entrance and exam fee has been reduced.  I have also learnt about theirProfessional Development Scheme and the variety of exchanges offered whichallow you to gain truly unique experiences and get involved with pharmacy in anothercountry.  Overall, it has changed the wayI look at pharmacy for the better as well as filling me full of enthusiasm forthe future - I know I'll be at annual conference next year, the question is...willyou?

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