My day with the English Pharmacy Board

by Sarah Browbank, Hospital Pharmacist and an RPS Ambassador

I’ve been fortunate enough to become an RPS Ambassador recently.  To do my best in my new role, I asked to attend the English Pharmacy Board meeting last week as an observer.  I feel it is important to understand how the RPS works.  Prior to taking on the Ambassador role, I felt I had some idea of what went on but really wanted to get under the skin and truly understand the activity and influence of the RPS.  I can only tell you how inspired, motivated and impressed I am by the work of the RPS and the committed staff that support our profession!  

I had never attended a meeting like this before and had no idea what to expect. Whilst reflecting on my day with English Pharmacy Board, I couldn’t help but think of the proverb “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. It is easy to go through our day to day activities at work, ensuring our patients have the correct medications, with the correct information, at the correct time and in the correct way, forgetting the impact and the necessity of our role. We are supporting our patients how to use their medications, to hopefully improve the quality of, or extend their life, or both. We aim to optimise their health through the safe use of medicines through a holistic approach to their lifestyle. But, who supports the teacher? Who helps us as, pharmacists, help our patients? We can only have an impact if we have been supported and led in an effective manner. Watching and observing our peers does, of course, help, but having safe and effective foundations to allow us to deliver the care to our patients is crucial to our profession. We need to be developed in such a way that we don’t just get ‘given a fish’, but we have been given the ability to ‘fish for a lifetime’.

I have had the time to reflect upon my practice as a hospital pharmacist, and my role as RPS Ambassador. I want to ensure that the pharmacists of today have the skills, the information and the support to perform their role to the best of their ability. The RPS does exactly this. It provides the foundation from which we can build at all stages of our careers. It provides the professional support we need throughout our career, the support to help us keep up-to-date with our knowledge, the personal support we may need to help ensure we continue to do what is best for our patients; it provides a platform for communication with colleagues, inspiration to do more, opportunities to develop.

To observe the meeting of the English Pharmacy Board was for me an opportunity to be once again inspired and engaged. It has motivated me to want to thrive in my role as RPS ambassador and share what our colleagues are doing for us and our development, in a hope to encourage others to support the RPS as it supports them. It has given me the skills and tools I need so that I can help teach my colleagues, and in turn they can teach theirs. Finally it has given me the knowledge and understanding of how best to teach my patients about their medications and their conditions, so they in turn can live well. Attending the meeting last week was an eye-opening day learning about how much the RPS do for pharmacists, and I would encourage anyone to get involved in any way possible to keep developing both themselves and their profession.


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