Pharmacists, now more than ever, go about their professional pursuits in a variety of ways. It was Sir Francis Bacon who wrote: “I hold every man a debtor to his profession” and considering the span of pharmacists’ responsibilities and roles, there is no doubt that in paying their “debt to the profession”, they add much value through numerous contributions to society.
I remain humbled by my unexpected designation as a Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Fellow in May 2018. A Fellowship is not only an acknowledgement of excellence in practice but, more importantly, an opportunity to showcase the ways that we pharmacists make a difference, driven by our shared values and ideals.
Being a RPS Fellow mandates me to actively work as an ambassador, championing why pharmacy should be afforded special status — not merely out of nostalgia, but drawn from an appreciation of the profession’s body of work.
The Fellowship marks my work to date as exemplary of the accepted norm in our profession
Whenever I interact with people, I am always a pharmacist: an advocate and ready resource in facilitating people’s health and wellbeing. The scenarios in which these interactions happen are varied and reach far beyond Bedminster Pharmacy, where I work as superintendent pharmacist; the BBC Bristol breakfast radio show, which I regularly contribute to; working as a pharmacy ambassador or representative with national charities, including Pancreatic Cancer Action, or working as a director with local politicians in our community development organisations.
Likewise in my communications with parliamentarians and policymakers, I am well aware of my responsibility to offer a broad and advocative narrative of the exceptional work my colleagues do.
I often sit as part of regulatory, industrial and clinical expert committees contributing to policy and patient care delivery pathways, working alongside colleagues from other professional disciplines and members of the public. I was previously at risk of being viewed as a maverick, much less so now. The Fellowship marks my work to date as exemplary of the accepted norm in our profession.
So why nominate a colleague for Fellowship? It is not merely to affirm an individual or even provide a deserving spotlight, laudable as that may be. We recognise individual excellence and dedication today, knowing those extraordinary journeys must become the starting point for our professions tomorrow.
Take a few minutes and consider nominating someone, maybe borrowing these words to reflect: ‘‘I nominate this individual for a Fellowship because they are paying their debt to our profession by …’’ You may be surprised just how easy it is.
Ade Williams FRPharmS, superintendent pharmacist at Bedminster Pharmacy
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society Panel of Fellows will be holding its next meeting in May 2019. Nominations for Society Fellowship must be received by the Secretary of the Panel of Fellows by 17 April 2019 to be considered at this meeting. For more details, visit: https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/your-rps/announcement/call-for-society-fellowship-nominations/20206111.article