Registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. (Dr) NAE Mohammed, has urged pharmacy graduates to choose only institutions and centres accredited by the Council for their internship programme.
Addressing a gathering of 101 Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm) graduands of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, during their recent induction and oath-taking ceremony, Mohammed also charged the young pharmacists to take the internship period very seriously.
He added that the one-year training is compulsory for all pharmacists in Nigeria, including those who have their education overseas but have no evidence of licensure in their countries of practice.
Addressing the students at the historic Oduduwa Hall of the university, the PCN registrar said: “I enjoined you all to take the one year very seriously as there may not be another opportunity to make up for any time wasted.
“You have just completed the first phase of your training as a professional and are now fit to compete favourably with your colleagues in all areas of practice for service to humanity and also to God. It may be of great interest to note that there is no limitation to where each of you can get to in life.”
Speaking further, the registrar, who was represented by Pharm. (Mrs) Yejide Oseni, a director of the Council, charged the graduands to ensure that they passed the Pre-registration Examination for Pharmacists (PEP) test, after their internship so as to be eligible to practise in the country. He stated that the onus was on them to take the internship seriously as PEP is based on the internship experience and is usually held twice yearly, March and October.
“I wish to use this opportunity to appeal to you to see the PEP as a quality assurance tool to strengthen our standards in line with global best practice,” Mohammed said.
The PCN boss also advised the graduands to get acquainted with the code of professional ethics which prescribes their professional and moral responsibilities to their patients, colleagues, other health professionals, their employers and the general public, saying strict compliance with the code of ethics is indispensable for the practice of pharmacy profession.
Mohammed equally revealed that the Council frowns at professional misconduct in its entirety, saying any misconduct from a pharmacist is usually investigated by the PCN Investigating Panel.
He added that, if found culpable, the concerned pharmacist is referred to the Disciplinary Tribunal which has the status of the Federal High Court in Nigeria, noting that sentences such as removal of the offender’s name from the pharmaceutical register for a given period, could be passed.
Urging the graduands to shun the “register-and-go” syndrome, which he said had often brought the profession to ridicule, Mohammed said: “Pharmacy is a noble profession that guarantees opportunities for new graduates to have a great prospect of practising in different fields such as industry, community, hospital, administration, research, academia, and in other human endeavours, such as information technology, journalism, publishing and indeed governance.”
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards, which included: the PCN Prize, received by Nafisat Adeola Taiwo, the best graduating student; the Board of Fellows Prize, received by Chaimaka Bose Ukpai, the student with the best overall marks in Parts 4 and 5 courses in Pharmacognosy; as well as the Medplus Academi and Leadership Award, received by Michael Abayomi Olushola and Chidinma Jacinta Ezegamba.
Congratulating the graduating students, Prof. (Mrs) Olubunmi Afolabi, dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, O.A.U.charged the newly robed students to move with the trend in the pharmacy world, adding that they should join hands to push the boundary of what Pharmacy can be to what it should be.
She said: “You will realise that there are different routes of pharmacy practice. Identify the route most suited to your career aspirations and seek to excel as a professional. We are counting on your generation to change the face of Pharmacy in the 21st century. And just like the choice of appellation for your class ‘The class of Victors, Boomshakalaka’ – the triumphant, the dominant, the joyous and the amazing. Go and dazzle the world,”
The colourful ceremony witnessed a massive turnout of participants, including professors, faculty members, pharmacists in academia, students, parents as well as top PCN and PSN officials.