Young pharmacists united against dementia

Pharmacist and Learning and Development Partner, Jessica Follows from Celesio UK recently attended the BPSA annual conference in Durham. Here she shares her thoughts on the next generation of pharmacists and the increasing role pharmacy can play in supporting people with dementia.

Jess Follows Celesio UK Learning and Development Partner 2

One of the best parts of my job is getting to spend time with young pharmacy students and learning about their vision for pharmacy. It’s always refreshing to meet the next generation, who are passionate about our profession and inspired to improve patient’s lives.

We’re really proud to work with the BPSA to support the development of young pharmacists and help prepare them for the busy world of pharmacy. Before I qualified as a pharmacist I attended a number of BPSA events where I got to take part in a number of interesting workshops and hear from industry experts, which really helped to nurture my passion for pharmacy.

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to represent Celesio UK and LloydsPharmacy at this year’s BPSA annual conference in Durham. As well as being a great opportunity to showcase what LloydsPharmacy and Celesio UK has to offer, we also wanted to demonstrate the different avenues that a degree in pharmacy can lead to. Many of the young people we spoke with were excited about tackling the challenges facing pharmacy at the moment and their enthusiasm for some of the issues was particularly inspiring.

In the future, it’s expected that pharmacy will play an even greater role in public health and one of the fastest growing concerns in that area is around the prevalence of dementia within communities. Our sector is ideally placed to have a really positive impact on the lives of those who are affected by dementia. In order for pharmacy to evolve and meet these challenges, we need innovative, new thinking.

That’s why we organised a competition for BPSA members where we asked them to design a public health campaign targeted at raising awareness and understanding of dementia within local communities. The top five entries were invited to present their proposals at the annual conference in front of a panel of our pharmacists and a representative from our charity partner, Alzheimer’s Society.

As we know, dementia is something that has impacted many people’s lives, so it was no surprise to see that we received some really creative and thoughtful responses. Across the range of entries there were a number of fantastic ideas, particularly in relation to how pharmacy can contribute to the solution.

This shows a real desire for the next generation to be proactive and forward thinking. It’s clear that our profession is moving in the direction of closer patient and community interaction, so it’s reassuring to see our young pharmacists are raring to go.

The winners were presented with Amazon gift vouchers and certificates and will also get to shadow one our senior pharmacists for a day – who better to learn from?

The winning entry was all about how gamification can be used to reach out to a modern generation within the local community and help to improve their understanding of dementia as well as the role they can play in supporting those who live with this condition. The winning team came up with the idea of creating a video game which would put the user in the shoes of someone who has dementia so they can really understand what it’s like to have the symptoms of the condition. This new thinking showed creativity and innovation as well as highlighting how the digital world needs to interact with the physical one to ensure the best outcomes for customers and patients in our communities.

It’s great to see how young pharmacists are united against dementia!

Jess

 

Check out the BPSA website here: www.bpsa.co.uk