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Inspiration, support and Guinness: what I gained from the FIP world congress

The International Pharmaceutical Federation congress 2014 is taking place from 31 August–4 September in Bangkok. Pharmacy education PhD student Dalia Ahmed Almaghaslah describes the experience she had at last year’s conference.

Dublin Ian Whitworth/Dreamstime.com

The 2013 International Pharmaceutical Federation congress was held in Dublin, Ireland

The 2013 conference was held from 31 August to 5 September in Dublin. The theme was “Towards a future vision for complex patients”. The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) and its partners collaborated with FIP to host this conference.    

There was a wide variety of talks, presentations, workshops to choose from. Sessions were divided by area of practice: community pharmacy; hospital pharmacy; academia and pharmacy education; pharmaceutical sciences; policy; regulation and social and administrative pharmacy; industrial pharmacy; medicines control; and pharmacy information.

Pharmacy education

As a PhD student, my research interest is pharmacy education so most of the sessions I attended were related to that sector. On the first day of the conference, I attended the deans’ forum. Deans of pharmacy schools from around the world shared experiences, challenges and opportunities. I learnt the new concept of social accountability. The forum emphasised the need for pharmacy schools to produce graduates who are socially accountable. Need-based education was also discussed at the forum and the need for a model for educating healthcare professionals to be designed to accommodate the needs of society was advocated.

Leadership

I also attended a workshop on leadership. It was an interactive session during which different challenging leadership situations were presented. The attendees discussed a number of case studies in small groups and provided feedback to the larger group.

I have written an article on that workshop and this was published in the International Pharmacy Journal (2013;31(2):44). I also attended several other sessions during the conference, including: translating expert knowledge into patient care, the best basis for the best practice; pharmacy education in FIP, the journey so far; and interprofessional education.

Poster presentation

My poster titled “Pharmacy workforce in the gulf countries” was accepted and presented at the conference. It was the first time I had presented a poster at an international congress and, for me, this was a huge achievement. Other students and pharmacists from around the world also presented their research work at the conference. Talking with other PhD students was encouraging because we shared similar challenges, hopes, and outlook towards the future of pharmacy. The contacts I made during the conference linked me to other individuals who have assisted me with collecting data for my PhD project.

Meeting leaders in the pharmacy field and learning how they influence pharmacy education and pharmacy practice was inspiring. The global environment at the congress helped me understand the necessity of need-based education because the multinational speakers and the participants shared their education experiences, and their specific societies’ needs in terms of pharmacy education and services. It also showed me how important pharmacy is; from basic drug supply in less developed countries to more advanced patient-centred care services in developed countries.

Why you should consider going to FIP congress

The 2012 International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Centennial Congress held in Amsterdam was the first FIP conference I attended. During the conference, I was amazed by the achievements of the inspiring professionals I met and this led me to make a personal decision to attend the conference every year for as long as I could.

I would strongly recommend students attend the congress. As students, we are not always aware of the opportunities the profession offers and attending the congress not only provides up-to-date information about the challenges and opportunities that exist in different sectors, it also helps students discover their personal interests and potential. The exhibition provides information about advanced pharmacy technologies and medical devices, and training and education courses available. It also advertises future conferences that delegates might be interested in. The poster session gives an insight of recent projects, studies, trials and audits in various pharmacy sectors. Additionally, it demonstrates what a good poster should look like.

The congress also offers several social events. The welcome reception venue was Guinness Storehouse, the number one international visitor attraction in Dublin. The sector dinners, Monash reception and closing dinner were held in different places around Dublin. There was even a 5km fun run to promote healthy living and well-being. These social events provided a number of networking opportunities for participants.

Networking and meeting pharmacy role models broadens one’s horizons. Meeting people who make a difference in the profession may motivate students to pursue similar career pathways and become influential leaders for the next generation.  Listening to knowledgeable and experienced speakers provide students with first-hand experience on how to deliver a presentation with confidence and how to handle participants’ questions. It also encourages students to be interactive during discussions and seminars.

Visiting Dublin and sightseeing was exciting, because experiencing new cultures and traditions are always of interest to me. I enjoyed walking along the river Liffey, taking a stroll around St Stephen’s Green, shopping on Grafton Street and gazing up at the Spire at O’Connell Street. Attending FIP congresses provides an excellent opportunity for learning about new customs, cultural values, and traditions from other parts of the world. Apart from the benefits to your studies and future career plans, attending the congress and visiting a new country is an enriching, exciting and unique experience.

Dalia Ahmed Almaghaslah is a PhD student at University College London.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11138712

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