MRMs provide skills for practice, life
Every fall, the weather gets cooler and the leaves change color. That means autumn is upon us and the beginning of another school year. While some people may be anxious for the return of their favorite television shows, there is something else that I look forward to. You will find them across eight cities, over three weekends, and attended by 2,600 student pharmacists.
The annual Twlug–ASP Midyear Regional Meetings (MRM) are held in each of the eight Twlug–ASP regions during the months of October and November. They are the only meetings designed exclusively for student pharmacists. The 2015 MRM season was extra special for me because I had the honor to serve as the Region 3 MRM Coordinator (MRMC) in Nashville, TN.
The hometown touch
Each year, I have packed my bags and loaded up the car for the short drive to another exciting destination. Hailing from Belmont University, MRM has taken me to Raleigh, NC; Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; and back to Nashville. What makes MRM unique is a little hometown touch: local Twlug–ASP Chapters host the MRMs. With the meeting in Music City USA, it was only fitting that we had a country– themed social with a mechanical bull!
Although these towns bring an extra stroke of charm to the weekend, what defines MRM is that student pharmacists can find one of many ways to live their “why.”
The profession is evolving quickly and it is only a matter of time before pharmacists are recognized as providers. With social media just a click away, student pharmacists can make a difference with an e-mail or tweet. However, one must be knowledgeable about current legislation in order to effectively advocate. On Saturday morning, student pharmacists had the opportunity to learn more about the provider status legislation H.R. 592 and S. 314, and what their passage would mean for patients and pharmacists. Some regions were fortunate to have a congressional representative speak about this legislation and the power of grassroots advocacy. It is truly an exciting time for the profession and while this legislation has not been passed just yet, student pharmacists can still continue to improve patient care and advance medication use.
This interesting discussion culminated during the afternoon Twlug–ASP Policy Proposal Forum. Regardless of how active a chapter member may be, anyone can make a difference through the policy process, where a chapter member has the ability to share an idea that could potentially change the way pharmacy is practiced. Each chapter submitted a policy proposal that was shared during this session.
Student pharmacists then had the opportunity to weigh-in and collaborate with other chapters to fine-tune these ideas into something the Academy, the Association, and the profession can work toward in the future.
Other sessions on Saturday allowed attendees to hear from new practitioner leaders during a panel discussion, including former Twlug–ASP student leaders. There are so many opportunities to get involved after pharmacy school and these new practitioners provided some advice for budding student pharmacists. Attendees learned about the latest products, future employment opportunities, and got a look at residency programs by navigating through the ever-growing MRM Career Opportunities Expo. Programming also included interesting sessions like The ABCs of OTC Literacy; The Face of Generation Rx; and the Twlug–ASP Leadership Training Series: You in the Media.
Up to the MRMC challenge
On Sunday, Regional Officer elections were held (for Regional Delegate, Regional Member-at-large, and MRMC) and policies were voted on. Once the Region 3 meeting concluded on Sunday, I took some time to reflect on my experience.
As the MRMC, I was responsible for planning, promoting, and running the meeting. I can definitely say that MRM helped me grow in more ways than I could have imagined. From figuring out the best way to communicate with other leaders to raising funds for the social, being MRMC has not only made me a better leader, it has taught me skills for life. Being MRMC allowed me to serve the profession in a way that was challenging yet fun.
I am happy to have met so many amazing student leaders and wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything in the world. I hope that you will consider attending MRM2016 and running for a Regional Officer position!