For a long time, even though I have been practising as a pharmacist for about 5 years now, this day usually passes by, no big deal. This year, however, I got a lot of goodwill messages and by the end of the day, it felt like it was my birthday.

The theme for this year was: Pharmacists are medicines expert.

In Kano Nigeria, it was a two-day event.

Day one was for a procession, a press conference and some radio campaigns and advocacy where we basically informed the public about us.

Day two was for a symposium addressing the theme with a sub-theme: Drug Information Centre – A resource for Evidence-Based Care. And yours truly was the keynote speaker.

I am a pretty shy person with next to zero confidence. This year, I took up a job lecturing part-time. And that helped me come out of my shell a little bit. When I accepted the offer to say ‘something small’ at the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria’s (PSN) event for World pharmacists Day, I thought it was just that, something small. When I found out it was the keynote address, I declined. Then I spoke to Mr Push who did exactly that – He pushed me and encouraged me and made me re-accept. I still wasn’t convinced I could. Then I gave myself a pep talk.

Me: How does this make you feel?

Me again: Afraid and excited. 

Also Me: Don’t worry about your fear and I am not asking you to not be afraid. It’s okay. All you need to do is show up and that would be all.

Lol! I did show up and that was all. Alhamdulillah! You can read the paper and presentation.

Aisha Ahmed_WPD presentation

Aisha Ahmed_WPD paper

The highlight of the speech was when I said,

“Being a pharmacist is enough, Now, you have two choices, become a first-class medicines expert or a second-class medical doctor.”

I have heard that phrase repeated by at least 4 people since then.

Maybe I can do this public speaking thing after all. TED maybe? Lol!

Part II

After the symposium, I attended an event organized by GlaxoSmithKline titled Anti-Infective Pharmacy. It was basically a webcast plus a lunch buffet.

I had just made it to dessert. It was a slice of melt-in-your-mouth cake deliciousness. I sat there planning how to get some to-go without looking like a glutton because I was stuffed. Alhamdulillah! Then this lady walks up to me and we exchange salams. Let’s call her cherry.

Cherry – I know you from the mall right?
Me – Oh yes, I used to work in the pharmacy there but I left about 2 years ago.
Cherry – I would never forget you, you thought me how to use my inhaler better. Thank you.
Me – Speechless

She was long gone before I realized I did not ask for her name. The first thing I felt was gratitude. Alhamdulillah for being placed in a position to impact someone so. That made every effort, failure and struggle worth it. That was the cherry on top (See what I did there?)  I no longer needed a slice of melt-in-your-mouth cake deliciousness to-go because, at that moment, I felt filled and fulfilled.

I am a pharmacist, what is your superpower?