1. I consider it honor to be invited to address this unique audience; distinguished members of
University of Ilorin chapter of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian students, eminent
lecturers, celebrated pharmacists, well wishes and other invited guests, on this occasion of the
third annual University of Ilorin PANS Week. The work, energy and time put into the
organization of this conference and the choice of topic lend credence to the fact that PANS
Unilorin is taking the centre stage in preparing her members for domestic institutionalization of
the revolutionary change the profession of Pharmacy is undergoing globally.
2. It is evident that there is a huge gap between the current pharmacy curriculum and the
competencies/behaviors expected of the twenty-first century pharmacist. While the curriculum
is systematically undergoing an overhaul to reflect the current philosopy of practice which is
pharmaceutical care, it is instructive to reckon with the prevailing system of healthcare delivery
and socioeconomic standards of the Nigerian populace as rate-limiting factors in the conversion
of raw knowledge acquired within the walls of pharmacy school to the quality of competent
practice the profession now demands.
3. This disconnect between training manual for pharmacists-to-be, traditional expectations from
other healthcare practitioners and evolving pharmacists roles puts an unprecedented pressure
on budding young pharmacists which predisposes him/her to early career dissatisfaction.
4. The Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum unseats the pharmacist from his comfort zone as the last
point of contact in clinical setting to every point of healthcare delivery where pharmacotherapy
is required to optimize the patient’s health-related quality of life and achieve positive clinical
outcomes. No longer are pharmacists permitted to sit behind counters in cubicles where they
squeeze drug envelops through windows to the patient. In fact, the modern demands of
healthcare especially in overburdened systems like ours now require that, according to
American Pharmacists Association, “pharmacists work in concert with the patient—who is the
focus of care—and the patient’s other healthcare providers to promote health, prevent disease,
and to assess, monitor, initiate, and modify medication use to assure that drug therapy
regimens are safe and effective”.
5. The aforementioned realities that await a budding pharmacist are the measures which the
profession expects of him/her. However, it will be kind if we digress a little to address those
standards which the pharmacist-to-be expects of the profession. The rigors of pharmacy school;
the tiring lectures, bulky hand-outs, tough laboratory sessions, dreadful steeple chase
examinations, shocking incourse assessments and challenging examinations, lure an average
pharmacy student into believing the rewards for the many troubles is abundance of jobs with
6. The reality, however, which begins to set in as the excitements of induction wanes, is that
employment prospects are diminishing across sectors with non-pharmacists taking part in the
competition. While, we, the leadership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Young
Pharmacists Group (PSN-YPG) have not relented in our advocacy efforts, internship
opportunities are still meagre compared to the number of pharmacists seeking internship
7. Furthermore, as PSN-YPG continues to partner with stakeholders to make it easier for pharmacy
graduates to seek and get internship placements, my piece of advice to you this day is that as
you go through Pharmacy school, never fail to prioritize two important things which will
determine how quicker and easier it will be for you to navigate the world outside the four walls
of pharmacy school.
8. The first is "Relationships". One of the most relevant cliches today is the saying that, "your
network is your net-worth". Your relationships are arguably your most valuable pharmacy career
asset. The more people that know and trust you, the more job opportunities that come your
way, the more job openings you are aware of, and the more recommendation you get for a
competitive position. Take advantage of programs like the ACPN and PSN Conferences amongst
others to meet with pharmacists and industry leaders. It is not enough to know them but get
them to know you by adding value to them and their practice. Don't ignore your fellow
pharmacy students. Maintain a good relationship with your lecturers. You will need people to
trust you if they will entrust you with career opportunities. That trust is built in relationships.
9. More so, while it may seem the pharmacy curriculum prepares you for all aspects of
professional practice, some level of relevant experience will give you an edge in a very
competitive job market. This brings me to the second important thing, "Relevant Experience".
Pharmacist employers are more comfortable granting job opportunities to applicants with
minimum relevant experience. If you find community practice fascinating and you would love to
pursue a career path there, you may consider volunteering in a community pharmacy around
you during semester breaks. Or if you think hospital practice would be fulfilling, you could apply
for industrial training in a hospital. This way, you not only gather relevant experience you also
get the opportunity to meet the right people in your field of choice.
10. These important ingredients–relationships and relevant experience–prepare you for the world
the academic institution prepares you for, which takes us back to where we were before we
11. In our nation today, the pharmacist is saddled with the responsibility of convincing other
members of the healthcare team of the relevance of his knowledge and competence in
bettering the outcomes of care given to the patient. By necessity, he is required to push for
legislations that empower him to carry out his enlarged roles. He needs to be involved in policy
making, and if he will transform the healthcare sector, the pharmacist must be involved in both
professional and secular politics.
12. The call on pharmacists to take up leadership roles is now louder than ever. In interprofessional
relationships, the pharmacist must exercise leadership traits which portray him as competent in
his field, making him an acceptable and respected member of the healthcare team who others
can trust to contribute to health promotion of patients being managed.
13. In addition, when interacting with his clients who may be patients and/or caregivers, the
pharmacists must be able to assume the responsibility of a leader to persuade them to accept,
appreciate and value his enlarged role as an indispensable professional at every step of patient
14. Ladies and gentlemen, the future of Pharmacy practice in our country promises to be
interesting, engaging and highly rewarding if you will begin to see beyond the traditional roles of
dispensing and medicines storage and wholeheartedly embrace the multifaceted leadership
responsibilities that the new philosophy of pharmacy practice places on us.
15. On this note, I assure you that the PSN-YPG is dedicated to the realization of the ideal pharmacy
practice in the least resistant environment by partnering with relevant stakeholders, through
advocacies and by capacity building of young pharmacists. Together, we can and we will
embrace the challenge before us and establish the pharmacy profession of our dream.
16. Thank you all for your kind attention.