RPS Elections – your opportunity to meet candidates for the RPS Boards

by Neal Patel, RPS Head of Communications and Engagement

Every year the RPS asks members and Fellows of the Society to stand as Board Members in England, Scotland and Wales. This year we have elections in both England and Wales, but not in Scotland.

To allow all RPS members to find out more about the candidates in Wales and England we are holding an online question and answer session – also known as ‘hustings’ – between 7pm and 8pm on the 17th of April. Read more RPS Elections – your opportunity to meet candidates for the RPS Boards

Working at system level on care homes

by Wasim Baqir, National pharmacy lead on care homes, NHS England

NHS England has announced 180 new jobs for pharmacists and 60 for pharmacy technicians as part of the drive to improve patient care and the use of medicines in care homes.  At a system level, here’s how it will work – and I promise, it’s not as hard as it sounds!

STPs/ICS

The NHS and local councils came together in 2016 to form 44 Sustainably and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) with a vision to improve health and care for local people across whole areas rather than individual organisations. Following on from the Vanguard programme, the NHS announced 10 Integrated Care Systems (ICS) that have been given greater operational and financial autonomy to manage their services. Read more Working at system level on care homes

Prescribing a revolution

by Robbie Turner, RPS Director for England

During my career as a pharmacist, who is able to prescribe has changed beyond recognition.

From nurses through to pharmacists and allied healthcare professionals, more and more of us are studying for a prescribing qualification. It’s driving a revolution in healthcare and increasing access for patients.

The NHS needs solutions to the pressures it faces and maximising the skill mix of the existing workforce as part of the push for more integrated care is giving the profession significant opportunities. Read more Prescribing a revolution

No you don’t need a PhD to pursue a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry!

Professor Luigi G Martini FRPharmS, FEIPG, Chief Pharmaceutical Scientist for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Nor do you need to have done an Industrial pre-registration programme either! These are the two most commonly cited questions, or should I say myths, which are often directed at me.

So I have taken the opportunity in this blog to dispel a few myths as follows:

1) You do not need to have a PhD to work in industry, but it does help if you want to work in Research and Drug Discovery. However, there are many roles in Product Development, Manufacturing and Commercial which exist for pharmacists.

2) You do not need to undertake a pre-registration year in industry, and with only 11 such programmes in the UK, they are highly competitive and thus restricted with respect to demand. In fact, pharmacists who have trained and worked in community and hospital are highly regarded by the industry.

3) There has never been a better time to join the industry with pharmacists being highly desired for career paths in Medical Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, Pharmacovigilance and Quality Assurance.

Read more No you don’t need a PhD to pursue a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry!

The Hanbury Collection at the RPS Library

By Karen Horn, RPS Librarian 

(with painting of Daniel Hanbury)

Daniel Hanbury (1825-1875) was a leading British pharmacologist. Since 1892, his notable book collection, predominantly on pharmacognosy and botany, has formed part of the RPS Library collection.  So how do we come to own it and what are we doing to make it more accessible to members?

Thomas’ and Anna’s loss, our gain …

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society might never have been in possession of Daniel Hanbury’s books if his sister, Anna, had not moved house. Although his brother, Thomas, had intended to give them to the Society, he had found it difficult to part with them.  The books had been housed with Anna after Daniel Hanbury’s death in 1875, and her imminent move meant that a final decision had to be made about their future location. Read more The Hanbury Collection at the RPS Library

The history of cosmetics – unwrapped

By Matthew Johnston, RPS Museum

‘Removes blotches,’ ‘clears the complexion,’ ‘removes freckles, pimples, and all spots.’

Turn on your TV or open a magazine and you might see these words advertising the latest beauty product, but in fact they come from the Roman writer Pliny the Elder’s description of a substance called crocodilea – the dung or intestinal contents of a crocodile.

As well as its uses in skincare it was recommended as an eye salve, taken internally for epilepsy, and as a pessary for stimulating menstrual flow.

Partnerships
In 2016 the RPS Museum became a partner in a research project on ancient skincare, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Science in Culture strand. Now, as the study reaches its conclusion, the team – including researchers from the Universities of Oxford, Glasgow and Keele – are going to showcase some of the findings in a series of events at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society on 15th and 16th  February. Read more The history of cosmetics – unwrapped

The ‘FIP Bug’

By Kiri Aikman, Clinical Writer for Pharmaceutical Press

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.

Read more The ‘FIP Bug’

Antimicrobial stewardship – are you doing your bit?

by Jacquie Sneddon, Project Lead for the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the top threats to human healthcare with an estimated 50,000 deaths per year from resistant infection across Europe and the US. This figure will reach 10 million by 2050 unless we act now to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

With few new antibiotics in the pipeline we need to ensure we are using antibiotics appropriately – this means cut out unnecessary use and ensure when they are required that prescriptions comply with evidence-based guidance. This is the basis of antimicrobial stewardship. So what does this mean for pharmacists?

AMS is important in all sectors of pharmacy

Read more Antimicrobial stewardship – are you doing your bit?

Don’t put off your pre-reg exam revision

Pre-reg revision course speaker, NadiaBy Nadia Bukhari, Senior Teaching Fellow & Pre-reg coordinator, UCL School of Pharmacy

Have you started thinking about your knowledge gaps and what your revision should look like between now and the exam in the summer? You may well think that the GPhC summer assessment is so far away that its too early to think about it now. However from my experience in working very closely with pre-reg trainees over several years, those who begin making plans in January are far more likely to pass the exam come June.

The best place to kick off your preparation for the assessment is at the RPS pre-registration revision course in London on the 26-27 January and there are several reasons for this.

As a mentor for emerging young leaders taking an active interest in their development and building their skills, I have an invested interest in pre-registration trainees getting the results they want when the GPhC release the results later in the year.

Don’t wait, get in early

Joining an RPS revision course early is the best thing you can do and this can really set you up for the remainder of your pre-registration year and beyond. This year, delegates will be allowed to take their mock exam papers away, which will be invaluable in helping to identify and address the knowledge gaps over the following months. You will also have a great opportunity to network and meet new peers who could be a really important part of your support or social network going forward, as well as the contact you will have with some of the top experts in pre-registration and early years pharmacy. These interactions should not be underestimated and the courses provide a fantastic platform for this.

What you can expect from the pre-reg revision course

The courses have been designed by a team of expert professionals to give pre-registration trainees a real taste for what the GPhC exam requires to pass and what it feels like to actually take part in one. Please take a look at an example programme.

The first day offers an intense overview of the exam contents and aims to bring everyone up to speed ready for the mini mock on day two. You will be taken through core topics such as, the essentials of pharmacy law and ethics, pharmaceutical calculations and high risk drugs and therapeutic drug monitoring.

The second day is a mini mock exam, sat in full exam conditions to give you the ideal preparation ahead of the real thing! This year, for the first time, you will be able to take the exam away so you can use it for your own revision at home.

Our revision courses have been a great success for many years now and the feedback is always great. We know that of our members who attended one of our courses last year, 91% of them went on to pass the exam. A previous delegate said that the course is “vital to knowing what to expect in the exam and how to plan forward revision”.

Don’t hesitate and book your place at one of the RPS pre-reg revision courses now to give yourself the best chance of passing the exam and making it to practice.

Build a successful grant application

Successful grant application writer

by Justine Tomlinson, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Here is my experience in building a successful grant application. With a background in community pharmacy, and in terms of research I’d only ever been involved with company audit and practice questionnaires. Starting my PhD was a challenging experience for a number of reasons; the main one being that I needed to prepare a grant application for funding. I absolutely did not know where to start or what I required in order to give myself the best chances of being successful. It all felt rather overwhelming!

I decided to attend the RPS’ two-day Research Proposal Writing workshop (early 2017) facilitated by Professor Felicity Smith, to see what I could learn in the way of ‘grantsmanship’. The different sessions within the workshop touched on absolutely everything that I needed to know to begin building a successful application – from creating a sound research plan to enlisting co-applicants and utilising public and patient involvement effectively.

The small group size was great. This meant there was time to discuss everyone’s ideas and develop personal action plans. It was encouraging to be able to talk about my own research with like-minded individuals and get feedback from the RPS research team and Felicity. We also had the opportunity to speak with other pharmacists who had won grants and were embarking on their research journeys. Hearing from them was truly inspirational.

Following the workshop, the RPS research team have continued to provide an amazing amount of support. It took me four months to build my application for the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit competition. I put everything into practice that I learnt during the workshop and I am pleased to report that I have been successful at stage one of the competition. I am continuing to utilise the knowledge and skills from the workshop to build my stage two application (outcome due early 2018).

If you are struggling to get started with your research grant funding application then book onto our two day Research Proposal Writing workshop, led by expert Professor Felicity Smith of UCL School of Pharmacy.