President's Message - ASHP Midyear in Review - Collaborating With Your Peers

by Linda Fred, ICHP President
January 14, 2015

You never know who you will meet at an ASHP meeting! I sat down at my very first meeting on Sunday morning – and the gentleman next to me introduced himself as the Saudi Assistant General Secretary for Classification and Registration. Monday, I ran into a guy who used to work at the hospital a half mile down the street from me. I had a lovely dinner with the ASHP General Council. I saw a lot of old friends in California, and I made some new ones. I also came away with reinvigorated respect for and pride in our professional organizations – ICHP and ASHP – and the pharmacist and technician practitioners who populate them and keep them strong.

It was an excellent meeting. All of the programming I attended was first rate. Posters were excellent. Social events were fun. I loved the food truck lunch options (all about the food). I left the meeting with a nice list of “to dos” when I get back to the office…and sun and highs in the 70’s felt pretty good in December…coming from Illinois!

Last month, I wrote about collaboration at the national level. This month, I want to write a little about networking and collaborating with our peers. In my inaugural address, I alluded to ICHP as my “professional family.” Spending a week with the ASHP extended family this week completely reinforced for me the importance of networking. Networking offers some great benefits.

Networking helps you learn what you’re doing well, and it helps you identify ways to get better.

Sometimes, if you stay in a position or an organization for an extended tenure, you can lose track of what’s happening in the rest of the world. I am always proud and happy when I attend an educational program and the presentation promotes something I already have in place or at least have in the works. It tells me I’m on a good path. I’m equally happy, however, when the presenter has taken an idea I’ve implemented to a new level. Learning what I’m doing well, how I can improve on what I am already doing, and what brand new things I can investigate for my practice site are tremendous opportunities when networking with others in my profession.

Networking creates mentoring opportunities.

The learning opportunity is a two way street, though. We should all see these interactions not only as a means of learning new things to introduce into our own practices. We need to also see them as the opportunity to mentor a “fledgling” pharmacist. Everywhere I looked at the Anaheim Convention Center, I saw someone wearing a “Class of 2014” or “Class of 2015” ribbon. They are eager to learn and able to bring fresh ideas of their own. Mentoring is a collaboration of experience and engaged excitement.

Networking helps you make useful connections.

In any profession, the value of professional contacts is nearly immeasurable. It is incredibly important to be able to pick up the phone and call someone you met at a meeting and ask them about some project…or invite them to serve on a council…or solicit a reference. I can’t immediately appreciate how it might help me to know the Saudi Assistant General Secretary for Classification and Registration or the ASHP General Council – but they were extremely pleasant meeting companions…and, you never know. :)

Networking builds professional confidence.

All of the things I’ve listed: the learning opportunities, the teaching opportunities, and the professional connections – create a sense of confidence in yourself. Interacting with your peers helps build you into a better pharmacist and a better professional.

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