Naushin Hooda - CAPhO17 Summary Report

There were tears and then shortly after, there was laughter. All in all, I am very thankful to have been provided the opportunity to attend the 2017 CAPhO conference in the breathtaking Banff, Alberta as the co-recipient of the Student Award.
As the theme of this year’s conference, “Do Something Astonishing,” I found that this conference has, once again, instilled within me, a sense of confidence and passion to be in such a forward-thinking profession. The conference began with the tear-provoking and touching opening plenary, “Winning a Tickle Fight” presented by Mike Lang. As I looked around the room, I saw how one patient’s story, opened a vulnerable side to everyone in the room. For some, it reminded them of the vital role we play in every patient’s journey. Perhaps it may have reminded you of a particular patient, who continues to resonate with you. For myself, it reminded me to always “treat the patient, not the disease.”
The day continued with a presentation on Childhood Cancer by Greg Guilcher. We’ve always learned the importance of working within an interprofessional team to come to a conclusion. After hearing this presentation, I feel something is missing here. Although it is important to include individuals who are directly involved in the clinical care of the patient, it is equally important to involve those closest to the patient in their personal life. I believe Greg said it best when he said “Childhood cancer is not an independent journey. It takes a village.” 
What resonated with me the most was hearing from pharmacists about their experiences with students at the panel discussion. As a student myself, I have been fortunate to have had a co-op experience at the Odette Cancer Centre as a second-year student. In short, I was provided with an opportunity that I believe more students should have. I have experienced the challenges and steep learning curve that evidently comes with being a student in this discipline, but also the rewards that arise from working with oncology pharmacists and patients early on in my career. I couldn’t help but feel proud to be a student, especially when students were described to have “infinite potential”! I also can’t help but smile, and agree. Pharmacy students are passionate, and eager to learn from someone willing to teach them. The conference highlighted many ideas that aimed to continue to bring this profession forward: pharmacists as physical assessors, and expanding pharmacist services. All of these ideas involve looking towards the future, and the future, involves the students. The steep learning curve will always exist, no matter where you are in your career. It just takes someone with patience and willingness to help them get to where they need to be. I would also encourage you to utilize the resources available from CAPhO, namely the Oncology Basics program and Fundamentals Day recordings. I found these tools particularly helpful in giving me a push when starting in this field. 
I believe the panel said it best when they unanimously agreed that assuming the role of a preceptor is a “duty.” Even as a pharmacy student, I find myself trying to help students entering into pharmacy school find their passion. I truly believe it is our duty, as professionals, to educate others and help them find their passions.
The conference ended on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017; but the learning and growing continues. And so, I end this account by encouraging and challenging all of you to take on a student as a preceptor, and encourage your colleagues to do the same — even if it is for a short period of time, and even if you may feel uncomfortable at first. You may be surprised at all the astonishing things that students can do too.
Naushin Hooda
H.BSc., Pharm.D. (in progress), University of Waterloo