Involvement in State Pharmacy Associations

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Your college/school of pharmacy probably has as legislative day to visit local policymakers and/or similar such activities. It probably also has a number of professional organizations you can join, some of which are chapters of state-level associations. Professional organizations play important roles in the profession, from assistance with job placements, to publication of scholarly peer-reviewed literature, promotion of practice standards, and advocacy for the profession. While carried out by national organizations, advocacy and lobbying are among the principal activities of many state pharmacy associations; and as such, it behooves young practitioners to get involved with them.

Taylor et al studied the involvement of recent pharmacy graduates in their respective state association.1 Among those who had officially joined their association, the most influential factors in doing so included the awareness and availability of continuing education, an opportunity, or voice in efforts to advance pharmacy practice, email updates about current topics/events, and networking opportunities. State pharmacy association meeting attendance, student organization membership, committee service, and state association board participation during pharmacy education all were associated with increased likelihood of membership in state professional associations by recent pharmacy graduates.

This study examined the link between academic involvement and practitioner involvement in state associations. Involvement among recent graduates is critical. Participation in professional associations as a student might be as important or more so than the actual curriculum for certain types of growth and development, such as time management, leadership, organization skills, communication skills, knowledge of budget and finance, along with caring attitudes. What this study did not examine was the effect of leaders and employers. Pharmacy managers can role model behaviors for their staff by being an active participant in professional associations. The manager can also promote self-development among employees and play a part in the advancement of pharmacy by sponsoring state pharmacy association membership to all employees or as a reward for top performers. This sets a tone of professionalism and can be a great and relatively inexpensive way of rewarding employees. Finally, the networking for everyone, including pharmacy managers themselves, can open doors to possibilities not even previously ooncieved.

Additional information about Human Resources Management Functions and Performance Appraisal Systems can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

1Taylor S, Ekinci E, Kolpek JH, et al. Factors influencing professional state association membership decisions among recent pharmacy graduates. Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2018;10:28-33. 

Shane Desselle

Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy, Touro University California