Outgoing Council members share their experiences
The current Council term-of-office is coming to an end, and we have asked some of our outgoing Council members to share their experiences and perhaps give some advice to the new Council.
Professor Shirley-Anne Boschmans, Mr Douglas Defty, Dr Vassie Naidoo and Mr Charlie Cawood have all served two consecutive terms on Council (2008 – 2018).
Professor Shirley-Anne Boschmans
Looking back on my 10 years as an elected SAPC Councillor the overwhelming thought is of how much I have gained from and enjoyed the experience.
Serving on Council immerses one in all aspects of pharmacy, allowing you the privilege of being part of shaping the profession for the future. This does not come without a cost – many hours spent reading documents, researching and preparing for meetings. However, as with many things in life the more involved you are, and the more you participate in debates, the greater the personal reward. Not monetary or any other external form of reward; the reward is purely an intrinsic reward, a feeling of satisfaction, of having contributed to the profession.
My recommendations for anyone fortunate enough to serve on Council is to be as involved as possible. Be actively involved during General Council and committee meetings and volunteer to serve on task teams. For, although participation on task teams involves even more time and a lot of work, it is in the task teams that you will really be part of the ‘work’ of Council – shaping documents and proposals for tabling at committee and council meetings.
People ask whether I am glad to have reached the end of my second term, i.e., I have reached my terminal period on SAPC. My response? No, not at all. I shall miss the participation as well as the collegiality with fellow councillors and the staff of Council.
Lastly, serving on Council creates lasting friendships with colleagues you might not have spent time with if not for the time spent during, before and after meetings. I would like to thank both my fellow councillors during this and my past term as well as all the Council staff for the privilege of spending the past 10 years interacting with and learning so many things from them. Thank you all and thank you to my fellow pharmacists for electing me, on two occasions, to serve the profession as a Council member.
Mr Douglas Defty
As I near the completion of my second consecutive term as an elected member of Council I reflect on the past 10 years. There have been good and bad times, as with any institution, but the learnings have been numerous. Being a member of Council is not merely about attending four Council meetings per year. There are all the committees that are established and require participation. Here the inner workings occur where policy is determined after robust debates. The interaction with other bodies such as the Department of Health has given me insight as to how to approach certain issues.
One of the most rewarding tasks was being a member of the Health Committee where we deal with our colleagues who are battling with circumstances which could potentially impact on their fitness to practice. To be able to work with them and assist them to overcome challenges any human being may be faced with is indeed rewarding. Just because we are pharmacists does not mean we are immune to these challenges.
Moving from being an outsider where most contact is via the call centre to dealing with the inner workings has opened my eyes. To see what work has to be done in order to make things happen. It has been a privilege to serve as a Councillor even though it has demanded months of work every year.
I wish the new Council well in their term of office.
Dr Vassie Naidoo
My tenure on Council was exciting, fruitful and at times challenging.
I enjoyed working with the Office of the Registrar and the highly trained staff. Prior to my being a Council member I was an inspector for Council. I saw Council grow through many stages, each stage better than the previous.
The first year on Council is very daunting as you find your feet, but soon you realise it is about being prepared for the meetings, speaking your mind, defending your stance objectively and for the betterment of the profession rather than for yourself. It is important to stay focussed and be objective throughout the discussions. During these sessions you agree to disagree, you fight hard, but once out of this boardroom, you are friends. The biggest drawback would be subjectivity, if it were to be entertained. Do not agree with someone because he/she is your friend, or share similar characteristics, job profiles, etc.
Every Council member has something to offer, exploit this and I am sure the next five years will bring even greater accolades to Council, its members and the pharmacy profession.
All the best to the incoming Council, I am only a phone call away if you need any assistance especially in your first two years.
Mr Charlie Cawood
The opportunity to serve and get to understand the broad needs of the profession at this level has been both a privilege and a meaningful learning experience.
It was not long after commencing my first term on Council that my original perceptions of serving on Pharmacy Council were overturned and my energies channelled to actively progress the needs of the profession from a global perspective. Instead of focussing purely on my own immediate idiosyncrasies with regards my practice situation and its problems, serving on Council has, over the years, allowed me a unique opportunity to interact with colleagues from the different disciplines and sectors of the profession, and collectively pool our knowledge and understanding of the needs of the wider Pharmacy Profession. This vital interaction has allowed us to actively progress the aims and needs of the Council for the benefit of the Pharmacy Profession and more importantly the future role of pharmacy in the healthcare of South Africa.
Furthermore, serving on Council has provided a very informative understanding of the necessary collaboration between the actual practice of pharmacy, and the provision of pharmacy education with respect to the training and the requirements for registration of pharmacy personnel and the practice of pharmacy, including ownership of pharmacy.
Despite the unfortunate negative perception often directed towards Council, I would like to recognise the support given to Council by the Council Staff and congratulate them on their commitment and efficiency to support the work of Council.
Finally, I would like to wish all those newly elected Council members a successful term on Council.