The Complete Pharmacy Conference Survival Guide

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The Complete Pharmacy Conference Survival Guide
May 20, 2022
RxLocal Team

How to Survive Independent Pharmacy Conferences, Expos, Events, and More

Summer is inching up on us, bringing warm weather, long weekends, and pharmacy conferences around every corner.

The world of pharmacy is always buzzing, but especially in the summer, events start amping up: bringing trade shows, expos, and meetings all around the country.

If you’ve signed up to attend a pharmacy conference (or even a few), get ready for a summer of fun.

At the conference, you’ll get to go to new places, learn new things, and meet new people who can push you forward. During expo hours, you’ll also get to visit with vendors and find additional solutions for your pharmacy.

But as fun as conferences can be, they can come with plenty of stress and unexpected surprises. As such, it’s best that you put aside some time to plan, schedule, and pack your bags accordingly. Have a plan of action before you hit the hotel floors so that no matter what comes up, you’ll be ready to make the most out of your time.

If you’re new to the world of pharmacy conferences, or if you’re just looking to pick up a few new tips, here’s what you can do to survive and make the most of your time:

10 Tips for Making More Out of Your Pharmacy Conference

1. Choose your hotel wisely

These days, many conferences are held in hotel ballrooms.

If your upcoming event or expo is at a hotel, try to book a room at the same place. Not only will it save you travel time, but it can also save you money. Most hotels offer discounted rates for large group events, like those for pharmacy associations, so you may be able to save a buck or two. If the event is held offsite, try to find a hotel that’s within walking distance.

2. Bring a buddy to tag along

Most conferences have a wide range of classes to choose from. You’ll want to catch as many as you can, but with overlapping times and other responsibilities around, you may find it hard to fit it all in. That’s why it’s best to bring a fellow colleague to your next conference so you can divide and conquer.

Go to class, take notes, and come back together at the end of the day.

Don’t forget to debrief so that you can get everything you need to know from the other person.

3. Approach each class with an open mind

If you’ve been in the business for a long time, you might find that you know everything you need to know — or, rather, you think you do. If you’re looking to make the most out of your next conference, though, check that mindset at the door.

There are always new things to learn, new perspectives to hear, and new opportunities to do things differently than you did in the past. Enter each class with an open mind and you’ll be surprised by how much you get out of them.

4. Write down what you’ve learned

You probably thought you were done with listening to lectures and taking notes when you finished pharmacy school, but you’d be wrong.

If you want to make the most out of your classes and CEs, make sure that you take notes.

Grab a pen and paper, type on your laptop, or scribble down notes on your iPad. However you choose to do it, taking notes can help you retain the information you’re learning, and it can ensure you have the knowledge you need to look back on long after the show is over.

5. Stay hydrated (and caffeinated)

While you’re running around, attending classes, and catching up on conversations, you might forget to take care of yourself. Before you head out the door, bring a water bottle with you on the go.

Make sure you’re getting the necessary water intake (125 ounces for men and 90 ounces for women).

And if you’re tired of your water bottle, you can even pack a travel mug for your morning caffeine fix. Most meetings get started early, so it’s best that you’re prepared with a good cup of jo.

6. Stay bundled up

It might seem counterintuitive to bundle up in the summer, but to cool down the crowds, most hotels crank the A/C up high. Make sure that you’re prepared by bringing a light jacket or layering a few items of clothing. That way, you can stay comfortable no matter what the temperature is like.

7. Bring a few business cards


Odds are, you’ll see plenty of familiar faces at your next pharmacy conference — but you’ll probably meet your fair of strangers, too. That’s why it’s best to bring a handful of business cards and hand them out to people you talk to.

It’s an easy way to trade contact information and increase your chances of making a new connection.

8. Put yourself out there

It can be intimidating to get in and make connections — especially if you’re an introvert — but it can be a great way to get the most out of your experience.

Try to sit by someone new in class, visit a vendor on the trade show floor (don’t forget to stop by PioneerRx), and accept any opportunities to connect after the show is over.

Who knows? The next person you meet might just help you later down the line.

9. Connect on social media

Another great way to put yourself out there is to use social media. Most pharmacy conferences use some sort of hashtag, so when you go to post about your experience, make sure you use that hashtag.

Doing so can help you connect with other pharmacists at the convention, and it can show your own network that you’re involved in the industry. Not sure how to get started with social media, or need some extra help?

Click here to learn how RxLocal can help you make more out of your social media presence.

10. Make some memories

Even though you’ll be busy learning, connecting, and advancing your practice, you should still make time for some fun after the end of class.

Research the area you’re in and find out what dining, drinks, and entertainment options await you. Grab a few friends and go out together to explore the city.

If you’re heading to PioneerRx’s Connect conference in June, check out our favorite things to do in Nashville, TN.

Get Ready for a Summer of Pharmacy Fun

The season of pharmacy conferences is coming up fast, and you’ll want to be ready. If you’re planning on attending a conference or two (click here for some of our favorites), make sure you’ve done your research and prepared accordingly.

Try out these 10 tips to make more out of your experience while you’re at the event.

With a little bit of preparation, some open-mindedness, and a dash of optimism, you can enjoy each and every conference you attend: and you can walk away a better pharmacist.