The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in England has appointed ten ambassadors to champion the benefits of RPS membership.
The ambassadors, all of whom are practising pharmacists, will promote the support tools and professional development services on offer to members, and encourage existing members to make the most of the Society’s resources.
“The ambassador scheme was developed out of a need for the RPS to be more visible ‘on the ground’”, said Gareth Kitson, professional development and engagement lead at the RPS. “Over recent months, both members and non-members have asked how the RPS affects them in their day-to-day practice. For many non-members it is also the question of ‘why should I join?’”
The ambassadors represent a range of backgrounds and career stages, and will be able to connect with members and non-members across England. “They have also been chosen based on their geographical area,” Kitson said. “There are some parts of England where we find it difficult to engage because of the large geographical area, and because we don’t have an active local group.”
Rachel Kenward, who will cover Lincoln and surrounding areas, said she will draw on her experience of changing sector when talking to RPS members. “I’d been a hospital pharmacist for years and loved it, but for various reasons I made a change. I accessed the coaching service at the RPS and it’s been absolutely fantastic in getting me to think differently — to see things as new opportunities rather than obstacles.”
James Payne, who has the Croydon beat, said: “I’ve heard people say ‘The RPS doesn’t do much for us’, and I don’t like that. I’ve learned so much about what the RPS offers and I think that if other pharmacists knew, they would jump on board as well.
“I want to get that message out there about what the RPS can do, and knock away some barriers to what people think at the moment.”
The research support on offer is something Nahim Khan, who will cover Manchester and surrounding aras, flagged up. “If you’ve got an idea for research, there are people at the RPS that can talk you through that and give you guidance. They’ll even give you feedback on funding applications and writing abstracts.”
Khan plans to make use of RPS local groups and local pharmacy forums. Khan said he felt “very optimistic” about the new scheme. “We’ve now got a national coordinated effort to get people talking about what the RPS can do. I think if it feels more real coming from a pharmacist, and someone who’s a volunteer.
“When I’m talking about the Faculty I can say that it’s helped me personally; I wouldn’t be here spending my evening talking about it if it hadn’t. I’d be at home instead!”
The full list of RPS ambassadors is:
- Shirin Alwash: Brighton and surrounding areas;
- Sarah Browbank: Durham;
- Rachel Kenward: Lincoln and surrounding areas;
- Nahim Khan: Manchester and surrounding areas;
- Fatema Mamdani: London;
- Abigayle Meikle: Liverpool and surrounding areas;
- James Payne: Croydon, London;
- Shivani Patel: London;
- Tahmina Rokib: Washington, North East of England;
- Amira Shaikh: London.
Ambassadors can be contacted via Gareth.Kitson@rpharms.com