APhA2018 through the eyes of a New Practitioner

APhA Annual Meeting By Mitch Howard, PharmD

The APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition is not just a meeting you attend, but rather one that provides you with a variety of different experiences. APhA’s annual meeting allows you to develop professionally through continuing pharmacy education sessions, networking with colleagues, discovering the latest and greatest from vendors in the exposition hall, voicing your opinion in the House of Delegates, and the opportunity to present research. The APhA Annual Meeting is also a time for social gathering with your friends from pharmacy school, friends you have met, and new people you continue to meet through APhA.

Full schedule of events
During my time at APhA2018 in Nashville, some of the highlights included the New Practitioner events, keynote speakers, the House of Delegates, and presenting my research. The New Practitioner events are spread throughout different times of the day, so you can still experience the rest of the conference. These are opportunities to discuss topics that are of importance to recent graduates, such as the transition from student to pharmacist, engagement in the profession, and work–life balance.

This year, each of the morning sessions touched a bit on each of those topics, whereas the Sunday afternoon workshop focused on financial planning with Tim Ulbrich, PharmD, “Your Financial Pharmacist.” The morning events can be early after busy days and late evenings networking, but are crucial to easing your transition to a New Practitioner and developing your network with those in a similar stage of their career.

The keynote speeches at the general sessions are an opportunity to hear an outside perspective of pharmacy and pharmacists’ role as health care providers. This year, Bruce (BJ) Miller Jr., MD, discussed understanding the patient as a whole, including their health care experience, to respond better to their needs and develop stronger relationships. In the hectic day-to-day duties of a pharmacist, it is important to see the patient as an individual and not just a number. The second keynote, delivered by Jamie Heywood, discussed using technology to create a transparent and collaborative community for patients to learn what treatments work and what does not work, and how pharmacists can help develop new and better treatments.

The APhA House of Delegates session provides an opportunity to discuss resolutions that are hot topics in the world of pharmacy and if APhA will support or oppose them. While anyone can attend and observe, you must be a part of your state’s delegation to vote. I have had the honor of representing Ohio for the last 2 years. Reach out to your state association to see how you can join your delegation in the future or become an alternate in the case someone cannot attend.

I also had the chance to present my research project from my PGY2 residency year. The research hall gives you an opportunity  to see what’s new in pharmacy. Students, residents, faculty, and veteran practitioners present posters and express their passions and innovative ideas in pharmacy. Who knows, maybe you will have the next idea of tomorrow!

Something for everyone
While the events I mentioned may or may not interest you, I believe there is something for everyone at the APhA Annual Meeting and I would encourage you to attend. You can develop professionally and have an opportunity to explore what these cities have to offer. You can also expand your network while being open to new ideas and practices that you can take back to your own practice site. You may find yourself busy and becoming complacent in your daily life, but professional meetings challenge you to become better and keep you engaged.

Mark your calendars for APhA2019 in Seattle, March 22–25, 2019. See you there!