Posted by: Ranveer Bassey14 NOV 2010
You might disagree on the minutiaebut I doubt you'll disagree on the fundamental principle. The principle that those who have chosen tofollow a profession should be embraced by it. Essentially that is what members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society are currently voting on whendeciding whether to allow new student and associate membership categories.
Medical, nursing and optometrystudents already have the option to join their professional body and theirprofessions are the better for it. It maysound trite, but the students of today really are the profession of tomorrow.
The Society's current relationshipwith its future members isn't an especially warm one. It behaves somewhat dictatorially like anoverbearing parent, prescribing course requirements and even a code ofconduct. It asks students to "rememberthat wherever you are, you are representing the profession of pharmacy". This statement seems incompatible with the currentsituation where it's not possible to join the Society that students are told theyrepresent. The inclusion of studentmembers has potential to soften this relationship; students would feel theywere more involved and that there's more of a two-way conversation.
That isn't to say that I thinkwhat has been proposed is perfect. I'mconcerned that it isn't enshrined anywhere that membership should remain freefor students. A point which isparticularly pertinent now whilst the country is debating the future funding ofhigher education. It would be a horridthing if membership were to become an expectation of students and for there tobe a fee. For example the British MedicalAssociation charges students £39 a year - that isn't a road I think anybodywould want to go down.
Despite this concern I wouldstill encourage any members to vote yes as taken holistically the changes arefor the better. A no vote is tantamountto a vote against the future members of the profession.You can read a summary of the proposed changes here:http://www.pjonline.com/news/pj20101023_pm_categories See also: Why I would like to join the new Society