Second-year pharmacy student Tajana Vujic was recently appointed in the American Pharmacist Association Academy of Student Pharmacist (APhA-ASP) as regional member at large, a national position, where she will be able to advocate for her peers. Vujic shares how she hopes to help the profession and why she encourages future pharmacy students to get involved with student organizations.
The regional member at large position makes sure that we are networking with other regional members and staying on track of the things we do in APhA. Our goal is recognition and communication. We are charged with gathering content for our APhA student publication, the Student Pharmacist Magazine. This means creating fun events and staying connected with student pharmacists on social media. We are the “social butterflies” for the organization, so it’s important that we communicate and network with our student colleagues.
How did you get selected as regional member at large?
I was recommended and recruited by our current APhA-ASP president, Kennedy Erickson, who is a third-year pharmacy student at our college. She inspired me to investigate this position. Once I understood what the role required, I was looking forward to applying for the position and excited for elections!
What are the most pressing issues you hope to bring to the table as regional member at large?
The most pressing issue for me is to eventually change the role of pharmacists in prescribing and addressing patient care. Pharmacists are still misunderstood in their role as a health care provider, and I would like to change that for my future colleagues. Most people still don’t know pharmacists are doctors. This is because a doctor of pharmacy is a relatively new degree, and a requirement that the U.S. implemented for all pharmacists. It was introduced as a professional prerequisite in 2006. Prior to this mandate pharmacists only needed an RPh (Registered Pharmacist) license after their name for them to work as a pharmacist. Because of this change, many people still do not understand that pharmacists are specialized doctors. I think that pharmacists need to be able to prescribe more than what they can now. My role will be to advocate for our profession by speaking to the house of representatives for our state. I did this last year with recognizing the prices of insulin. I represented our school and had discussions with a couple of our senators and they were able to speak on the floor about this issue. We were able to bring insulin prices down for our state and it was an amazing experience!
For students who are considering pharmacy school, can you tell them why it’s important to get involved with pharmacy student organizations and how has it impacted your career in pharmacy?
It is very important to get involved in student organizations because it exposes you to connections that you will later find down the line to be very important in getting a job as a pharmacist. It also helps you learn more about yourself as an individual and fosters your interests in various fields of work you’d like to go into one day.
Getting involved in student organizations has also opened many doors for me. I was able to put myself out there and get to know people on a different level. Student organizations has helped me make friends outside of school which gave me the opportunity to be recommended for a regional position allowing me the opportunity to go to national conferences this year. With this opportunity, I am able to apply for residency and hopefully have a chance to get matched with my residency of choice. I think being recognized nationally is unique and special and not a lot of people can say they work with national positions across the country!