Your alma mater might have a legislative day in which visits can be made with local policymakers at your state capital. Your alma mater may also have a number of professional organizations you could join, some of which are chapters of state-level associations.

Professional organizations play important roles in the profession, from assistance with job placements, to publication of scholarly peer-reviewed literature, promotion of practice standards, and advocacy for the profession. Although carried out by national organizations, advocacy and lobbying are among the principal activities of many state pharmacy associations; and as such, it behooves practitioners (and students) to get involved with them.

Current in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning reported on a study of the involvement of recent pharmacy graduates in their respective state associations.1 According to investigators, among those graduates who had officially joined their association, the most influential factors in doing so included the awareness and availability of continuing education, an opportunity or voice in efforts to advance pharmacy practice, email updates about current topics and events, and networking opportunities. State pharmacy association meeting attendance, student organization membership, committee service, and state association board participation during pharmacy education all were associated, with increased likelihood of membership in state professional associations among more recent versus previous pharmacy graduates.

This study examined the link between academic involvement and practitioner involvement in state associations. Involvement among recent graduates is critical. Participation in professional associations has obvious benefits, but there are other benefits perhaps more subtle but nonetheless especially important. These include participation in activities that sharpen time management skills, leadership, organization skills, communication skills, knowledge of budget and finance, and perpetuation of caring attitudes.

What this study did not examine was the effect of leaders and employers. Pharmacy managers can role model behaviors for their staff by being an active participant in professional associations. The manager can also promote self-development among employees and play a part in the advancement of pharmacy by sponsoring state pharmacy association membership to all employees or for top performers. This sets a tone of professionalism and can be a terrific, relatively inexpensive way of rewarding employees. Finally, the networking for everyone, including pharmacy managers themselves, can open doors to possibilities not previously conceived.

Additional information about medication therapy management and management functions can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. You or your institution can subscribe to AccessPharmacy to access the textbook.

Shane P. Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, Professor of Social/Behavioral Pharmacy at Touro University California.

Taylor S, Ekinci E, Kolpek JH, et al. Factors influencing professional state association membership decisions among recent pharmacy graduates. Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2018;10:28-33.