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Relevant and inspiring

Dave Bunting and his team of mountaineers did not reach the summit of Mount Everest when they attempted to do so in 2006 via the treacherous West Ridge route. Mr Bunting made the decision to abandon the attempt when it became clear that lives might be lost, such was the magnitude of avalanche risk. It was a difficult decision to make, and just as tough to communicate the decision to the dedicated team of men and women who had spent many months and got so close to reaching their goal.

But it was the right decision, the ex-British Army officer told a captivated audience at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Annual Conference 2013. He described the rigorous preparation, as well as the challenges he and his comrades faced during the expedition. Despite the disappointment of turning back, Mr Bunting believes this was the only negative thing that could be drawn from the experience when the teamwork, bravery and breathtaking views were taken into account.

Mr Bunting’s account set a positive tone for the conference, held in Birmingham on 8 and 9 September 2013 and attended by over 500 professionals. You only had to search #rpsconf on Twitter to see how the vibe continued throughout the event. Indeed, The Journal has not seen such a hive of activity on social media at a UK pharmacy event to date (our reporters were among those joining the conversation online). Topics of professional importance to pharmacists — student numbers, self-selection of pharmacy medicines, premises regulation, antimicrobial resistance, to name several — were debated in sessions and discussed by conference participants in the exhibition hall.

Eight PJ journalists reported on the event, to ensure that those unable to attend could learn what was said across all six streams of the programme. We uploaded stories to PJ Online throughout the conference. Further reportage continues in next week’s issue of The Journal and you will be able to access a special conference supplement via the PJ Publications app later this month.

Coming back to Mr Bunting, it seems a keynote presentation at a pharmacy conference does not need to be about pharmacy for it to be relevant and inspiring. Choosing the right team to work with is all important, according to the mountaineer. He explored themes such as commitment, tolerance, mental robustness, attention to detail and, especially, sense of humour. It is easy to see the relevance of these to everyday pharmacy practice, as much as to a meticulously planned expedition to the highest place on the earth.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11125471

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