Royal Pharmaceutical Society

My BPSA journey to becoming the President

By Bella Shah, British Pharmaceutical Students' Association (BPSA) President

My BPSA journey started on my first day of university, and as I sat in the lecture theatre amazed at the student delivering this roadshow, never did I think I would be on the BPSA Executive someday, never mind President.

Post-presentation, I applied to be a BPSA National Representative, a year which ended in me being funded by Cardiff University to attend the BPSA Annual Conference. I met pharmacy students from across the country, some of whom are now my best friends, and opened my eyes to the wider world of pharmacy outside of just the degree course. The conference fever kicked in, and at the end of the week I was running in elections. I did not make it onto the Executive team but continued to work as a National Representative, and competed in the BPSA competitions.

This aided me to come back stronger a year later and I was elected as the Competitions Coordinator. It was a privilege to work with some of the big names in pharmacy and provide opportunities to pharmacy students. The pandemic hit during this mandate and our members, the profession, and the Association were faced with many challenges, driving me to want to help them further during this increasingly difficult time. I ran in elections once again and was elected as the BPSA Vice President. We adapted to the circumstances, and additionally hosted webinars and organised online guidance to support our members, including about provisional registration and the registration assessment, the no detriment policy, and violence against women.

All my previous experience placed me in an ideal position for presidency, and my love for this Association and everything it stands for has brought me to this very moment, not the title nor the glory. This year is going to be a challenge to say the least as we transition back towards an in-person mandate. The plan is to retain and regain tradition whilst implementing the beneficial adaptations, including the enhanced approach to accessibility, into the ever-changing future for the betterment of the Association and its members.

Being on the BPSA Executive is a privilege that comes with a lot of hard-work and sacrifice, but inspiring and influencing our members and the future of the profession makes it all worth it, and I am thrilled to continue. Especially at a time of opportunity, and at a time when pharmacy students and pharmacists have shown their resilience and capabilities. It is a pleasure to provide opportunities to, advocate for, and amplify the voices of pharmacy students. As future leaders of this profession, it is up to us to shape it and I am honoured to have been elected into this role with the ambitious team beside me, especially for the milestone 80th year of the Association. To everyone reading this, the world is your oyster - take every opportunity because you never know where it will lead you.

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