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Most people initially discover CPNP through its high-quality recertification and ACPE-accredited education at the annual meeting. However, CPNP does far more than provide education – CPNP is in the business of building connections for its members. Through CPNP, you can be connected to peers, to mentors, to a career, to trainees, and to an expanding collection of community resources.

The peer connection is essential in specialization, and it is one of the core benefits of association membership. Members are able to connect with peers in person at the annual meeting, and through the email list where tens of thousands of messages have passed over the CPNP general email discussion list. As the home association for psychiatric pharmacists, CPNP is the best place to find others who can relate to your psychiatric pharmacy practice issues. CPNP President Chris Thomas PharmD, BCPP, BCPS, notes:

I personally feel “connections” and networking are the soul of CPNP. Without CPNP, I am confident that I would be less proficient in my daily job as a clinician and as a Residency Program Director. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have reached out to members and their expertise to help with a difficult case or get a second opinion. Many of these connections have resulted in friendships that will continue through the years.

The mentor connection cannot be forced, but CPNP works hard to cultivate an environment where mentorship can flourish. More than 75 students are introduced to potential mentors at the CPNP Annual Meeting every year, and networking events have facilitated many additional organic mentorship relationships. New practitioners are given many opportunities to interact with experienced practitioners, and new bonds are formed every year. CPNP President-Elect Deanna Kelly, PharmD, BCPP, has experienced the benefit of this connection:

The connections I have made with other psychiatric pharmacists and my mentors within CPNP have largely shaped my entire career. In my research career I often attend many psychiatric meetings but I don't feel the comradery connection and comfort as I do with my primary and home-base affiliation of CPNP. We as members all share a common thread and I find support, mentorship, friendship and service opportunities in this community. The organization is not competitive or exclusive and each member that I have met has been delightful, inspiring and committed to advancing psychiatric pharmacy. I have been so proud to have seen such an expansion of CPNP over my career and while I may have a nontraditional career path within the profession, at the core we are all psychiatric pharmacists paving new ground and helping our patients. It is awe-inspiring to be a part of this community. 

The career connection starts with the referral network you build as you meet peers and administrators at CPNP, and it extends in important ways to form the essence of your career. Numerous CPNP members work in “one of a kind” practice settings, and many other members helped to launch and guide the more common practice models that you encounter. Whether you are considering moving into an exciting new position or experimenting with an entirely unique approach to psychiatric pharmacy, there are members who can help you succeed. CPNP Board Member Sara Dugan, PharmD, BCPP, has seen this career connection:

For me, the connections that I have in CPNP have made a huge difference in my career, and I can say without hesitation that I would not be where I am now without them. Moving from a VA hospital setting to an outpatient intellectual and developmental disability setting with patients of all ages was an adjustment to say the least. I have been fortunate to connect with a number of pharmacists who served as valuable mentors to me, especially those in the Midwest and Northeast. These resources helped me navigate difficult situations and continue to move forward. I love the CPNP Annual meetings. They feel more like a reunion and not just another professional meeting. The meeting is motivating and I believe it's the people here who have helped me become a better teacher and pharmacist.  

The trainee connection is preserved for many members who find that the CPNP is the only context where they are able to socialize with their former co-residents, former RPDs, and former residents. That trainee connection forms a long-term generational legacy for psychiatric pharmacists. The impact you can have is multiplied as an RPD when your trainees continue the work and train others. That exponential impact is illustrated later in this issue by following the UMKC program to see how efforts are able to grow and expand through the trainee relationships over several decades. CPNP Treasurer Robert Haight, PharmD, BCPP, sought the trainee connection:

One of the reasons I became involved with CPNP was my interest in creating a pharmacy residency program in psychiatry. After using the email listserv to gather information and advice from established Residency Program Directors, I was appointed to the Residency Taskforce and now in the Resident and New Practitioner Committee (currently as board liaison). It was through these contacts I was able to create and maintain a program which has received American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) accreditation. My proudest accomplishments as a pharmacist are the eleven graduates of my program. I am grateful to the CPNP members who helped guide me through the process of creating a residency program and to my former residents who remind me every day why I became an RPD.

The community connection is maturing quickly through the CPNP Communities initiative. Ten communities have formed around specific interest areas. Members have uploaded over 200 shared resources relating to all areas of practice. Email discussions can be held within specific communities, and a daily digest option is available for people who have limited time to dedicate to this type of connection. In July 2016, CPNP members will be invited to the inaugural CPNP Communities Lunch and Learn Webinar Series, which will provide a community-driven webinar weekly on Wednesdays through spring of 2017, to facilitate extra discussion and hot-topic presentations. Read more and register for webinars today! Chris Thomas elaborates:

From a leadership perspective, I am proud of the formation and success of the communities.  With the rapid growth in our membership, a concern was that we would lose the feel of being a smaller organization. The communities allow for individuals with a specific interest to reach out to other members, network, develop ideas, and learn from different perspectives. These communications will not only further develop an individual member’s knowledge, but advance the entire profession. If you have not joined a community, please feel free to sign up for a community. If you feel CPNP would benefit from the creation of another community, please propose a new community for consideration.

Consider the connections you have formed already with CPNP. Perhaps you connected as a committee volunteer, or you connected with other researchers for a collaborative project, or you connected with other authors for a paper, or you connected with the scholarly process as a peer reviewer. Whatever connections you have built, CPNP is proud to have been a part of making it happen.

Do you have ideas for other types of connections or do you want to share your story of connections? Let us know about them through the contact form.

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