Attending professional conferences can be time-consuming, expensive and can often mean a bit (or a lot) of travel. But as against the opinion of some people that conferences are a waste of time, attending conferences actually serves great benefits to your career as a pharmacist, especially as a young pharmacist in the early stages of your career. A practical way to be able to afford conferences is to start small by saving every little you can every month. Target a conference that you want to attend, think through what you may gain from attending it and how attending the conference fits in with your career goals. Many pharmacy conferences have discounts and scholarships/travel grants for students and young pharmacists.
Wondering why you should even bother attending a conference as a young pharmacist? Here are 5 reasons you should;
Conferences are great places to network and meet new people; young pharmacists and experienced pharmacists alike. Remember the saying “your network is your net worth”.
Tip: Take along contact cards (business cards) with you to exchange with people you meet at the event. You do not have to have an official card given to you by an employer. You can design your own which perfectly portrays your personal brand. There are websites online where you can create free templates of contact cards/business cards and have them printed and delivered to you at a fee.
- Improved knowledge and professional outlook
This happens especially when you attend international conferences. You get a global outlook on pharmacy practice, enabling you to have the knowledge and skills to change practice in your local setting. You also get the opportunity to learn about new and innovative medicines, products services you would not otherwise have known about.
- Dissemination of research
You can make the experience even more valuable by presenting papers and research results at conferences. Submit your undergraduate and postgraduate research projects as abstracts and you may be opportune to make a poster presentation at the conference or even give an oral presentation on your abstract!
This is a great opportunity to learn and improve on your presentation skills. You also have something important to add to your CV.
- Learning about new cultures and people
You have the chance to learn about a new culture and people, especially if the conference venue is at a location different from where you reside. This has the potential to expand your mind and inevitably lead to great benefits for your personal and professional development.
- Opportunity to get involved
You can gain access to committees and groups within the association/body organizing the conference. This can put you in a great position to get involved in any capacity, be it as a member of the executives, or other roles within committees that enable you to meet new people, gain new insights into the profession, build your management and leadership skills over time, and add value to the profession.
There are many other excellent reasons to attend conferences as a young pharmacist. So, while you are charting out a career plan, take care to include attending conferences and pharmacy events in your plan.
Happy conference attendance!!