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And that's a wrap on NAPSA Congress 2017!

By: Admin | Posted on: 13 Feb 2017

Pharmacy students are Breaking down boundaries and Forging new pathways in pharmacy as themed by this year's NAPSA Congress in Perth from 24th to 30th of January.

The National Australian Pharmacy Students' Association (NAPSA) concluded their annual Congress last Monday with a Las Vegas themed Gala Ball, which was held at the Crown Casino.

The week consisted of exceptional speakers, networking and social events where over 300 students from 18 universities around Australia were hosted by NAPSA at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.

With future practice as the key focus, students were inspired by education sessions from a great array of speakers from many different fields. Keynote speaker Fiona Wood, co-founder of the Fiona Wood Foundation and Director of the Burns Service of Western Australia, motivated students to live their life with passion and drive. By sharing some of her personal experiences with surgery, Ms Wood demonstrated that patient-centered care is the answer.

Other notable speakers included Lance Emerson, PSA President; Tobias Speare, rural pharmacist and member of the Rural Pharmacy Support Network (RPSN); Julie Adams who spoke about the future of pharmacists in chemotherapy; and SHPA President Prof Michael Dooley who highlighted the role the SHPA Residency Program plays in the future of clinical practice.

NAPSA President Shefali Parekh was impressed by how well delegates were educated on the major issues that face the pharmacy profession such as poor salary and oversupply of pharmacists in metropolitan areas. Ms Parekh said, "it was encouraging to see our members comfortably discuss and debate these issues during the PSA ECP White Paper consultation. It was even more encouraging to see delegates come together to workshop solutions to these issues".

The amount of change in the industry is challenging, but at the same time very exciting as there are more opportunities than ever for pharmacists to be greater involved in health care.

Students are excited about future prospects and they want to be involved. It was important to foster this at NAPSA Congress and I believe we've done so especially with Taren Gill's launch of the White Paper".

On 27th January, students raised money for the Fiona Wood Burn Foundation by running a Bachelor and Bachelorette Auction on Battle Night. NAPSA are pleased to announce the final amount raised was over $11,000. Fiona Wood Foundation representative, Diane Clark was left speechless when this figure was announced at the Gala Ball. Ms Clark said, "it was truly inspiring to see the number of pharmacy students attending NAPSA, not only in support of their future careers, but making a difference to the lives of burns patients with this terrific donation - thank you for your remarkable efforts and support. It is wonderful to see how passionate and driven this group of students are. As Fiona said, surround yourself with positive energy and people, harness it to make a difference, and that is certainly what we have seen here".

Another highlight of the week was the Industry Trade Show on the 28th of January where 25 industry exhibits provided valuable time for students to meet and network with professionals amongst the industry.

The final event of the week was the Gala Ball where a plethora of awards were given. NAPSA would like to congratulate Tessa Drew from Curtin University on winning the Pharmacy Student of the Year (PSOTY) NAPSA Wild Card competition. Ms Drew will compete against the other state finalists for the overall title at the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's PSA17 Conference in July.

Furthermore, Chloe Minns from the University of Queensland was awarded the Spirit of Congress for which she will receive a free APP registration thanks to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. University of Queensland students (QPSA) took out the Les Cashen Perpetual NAPSA Trophy for Best Branch. Billy Bryan and Lewis Oliver (WAPSA) were both recognized for their great effort in assisting the Perth Congress Organising Committee (PCOC) throughout the week. Finally, the winner of the Health Students' Blood Challenge Cup were Pharmers' Society.

Congress Chair Rosie Earl was pleased by the manner in which all delegates responded to the Congress program. Ms Earl said, "the enthusiasm amongst the delegates was infectious. Every time a student was presented with an opportunity, they had the full support of 300 other students helping them make the most of it.

"Without the ongoing support from volunteers, sponsors and delegates the Congress wouldn't have been such a success, so we are extremely appreciative."

Next year's NAPSA Congress will be hosted at University of Sydney from the 23rd-29th January.

If you are interested in sponsoring or contributing to the Congress please email Melissa Faerhmann at svdnevcongress2018@gmail.com.

Shefali Parekh
National President
National Australian Pharmacy Students' Association

Media Contacts:
Shefali Parekh: 0422 394 905
Rosie Earl: 0420 562 116
Diane Clark: 0423 066 904

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