I caught the ‘FIP bug’ after attending my first world congress in Dublin in 2013. It was unexpected. I’d been to plenty of conferences before, but this one was different. The sheer scale, with around 3,000 delegates from over 20 counties, blew me away. Every attendee was passionate about enhancing pharmacy practice and used this international gathering to showcase their amazing work and learn about improving patient care.
FIP is the International Pharmaceutical Federation; the global voice of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists. Being my first international conference, and as a junior pharmacist from little old New Zealand, I was more than a little nervous walking into this prestigious event. What I quickly learnt though, was that FIP was more of a pharmacy family; sharing ideas and opinions with like-minded people. They even have a “first timers” programme to ease you in and instantly make you feel comfortable.
FIP is split into different special interest groups ranging from academia and community through to military and emergency pharmacy as well as a prolific Young Pharmacist Group (YPG). This diversity is always reflected in congress programme, with a variety of speakers and topics to both challenge and inspire delegates.
For me, one of the other surprising things about FIP was the networking; from opening ceremonies, cocktail parties, section dinners, YPG night out, and even a fun run – there’s a strong social scene to connect with people from all over the world. I left Dublin feeling excited and inspired about my career, with my head full of new ideas and new friends.
The bug stuck again a couple of years later when I was lucky to have the opportunity attend the congress in Buenos Aires. I reconnected with old faces, met new ones, listened to inspiring pharmacy stories from around the world, all whilst learning to Tango and eating lots of steak!
All in all, I would encourage anyone passionate about pharmacy to get involved with FIP. This year will be the best congress yet – with haggis, bagpipes and multiple renditions of the Flower of Scotland sure to be sung! It’s a chance to show the world how advanced pharmacy practice is here in the UK and to shout from the rooftops all the great things that our profession is achieving. See you in Glasgow 2018!
In 2018, FIP World Congress is taking place in the UK for the first time in nearly 40 years, in Glasgow. From 2-6 September the international pharmacy world will converge in Scotland. Make sure you don’t miss out! Booking opens January 15th 2018. Check out www.rpharms.com/fip2018 for more information.