Before You Begin
There are many advantages to establishing a student society of health-system pharmacy. In addition, there are also certain organizational factors that should be considered. Advantages of creating a student society of health-system pharmacy include:
- Increasing student awareness of pharmacy careers in health systems;
- Providing a forum for students interested in health-system pharmacy to exchange ideas and information;
- Increasing student awareness of ASHP, the ASHP Pharmacy Student Forum, and the state society of health-system pharmacists;
- Enhancing student understanding of the need for, and mechanisms of, participation in professional pharmacy organizations and how these organizations influence the scope of pharmacy practice on national, state, and local levels;
- Promoting the development of pharmacy leadership through student participation in the student society and state/national society governing and policy development processes;
- Providing students with an immediate and easily identifiable entry point into the state/local society, as well as ASHP and the ASHP Pharmacy Student Forum;
- Encouraging student members to become active, life-long members of the state and local societies, as well as ASHP, after graduation.
Existing student societies of health-system pharmacy have typically formed through one of two mechanisms; either they have been initiated by students at the school, or they have been initiated by the state society of health-system pharmacists. Regardless of how the process is initiated, it is imperative that students and the state society work together, maintaining open and regular communications.
- Students at the school of pharmacy interested in health-system pharmacy practice form an "interest group" as an informal way of sharing information and ideas on this and related topics. It is also possible that a health-system (or hospital) pharmacy committee of another pharmacy student organization has decided that it may want to become an autonomous organization.
- At this point, the students may want to contact the president of the state society of health-system pharmacists to determine the potential support a student society might expect from the state society. (While a commitment of support from the state society is not required in forming a student society, it can be both financially and politically helpful.)
- It is important to involve students from the various class levels (P1, P2, P3, P4) from the beginning in the formation of the student society. This will help ensure continuity of leadership and membership, as well as indicate to the college administration that there is broad student support for the formation of a student society of health-system pharmacy.
- Once it has been determined that there is a considerable interest among the student body for the formation of a student society, the students should then consider developing a written proposal for the student society. The proposal should include reasons for formation, objectives, anticipated support from state society, and other relevant supporting materials.
- Representatives from the student group should then present their proposal to the administration of the school of pharmacy (dean, student organization coordinator, etc.). The support from the members of the administration can be very helpful in getting the student society off to a successful start.
- Depending upon the "politics" at the school, the students or state society may want to present the entire concept of a potential student society to the administration before any work is undertaken. Having the support of the state society and/or several faculty members will be helpful in gaining the support of the administration. At this point, the student group and the school administration should work together to identify a faculty advisor for the student society.
- Governing documents are important because they specify many of the procedures by which the student society will operate. The faculty advisor and a representative from the state society should be involved in the development of the governing documents.
- The student society governing documents will take time to develop, as does any document of importance and permanence. Once in a final draft form, members of the student society should have the opportunity to review, provide input, and approve the documents. The state society may have to approve these documents, if it is a condition of affiliation. A copy of the final governing documents should be submitted to the Director of the ASHP Pharmacy Student Forum for informational purposes.
- Once the student society has developed and approved its governing documents, it is ready to develop the programs and activities needed to meet its objectives. The student society officers will need to begin developing short and long-term goals for membership recruitment, educational programs, professional activities, and any other projects to be undertaken by the organization. During this process, the student officers should rely upon the faculty advisor, school administration, the state society and/or ASHP for guidance and assistance when needed.