Class of 2011
The content in the NUS PharmD programme was robust and detailed, encompassing most of the contemporary topics in pharmacotherapy. It complements the undergraduate curriculum by being an extension of what I had previously learnt in the Bachelor of Science (Pharmacy) programme with much more intensity.
Although didactic teaching sets the foundation for what was yet to come, the intensive practical aspects of clinical rotations that followed held much importance in terms of having highly experienced clinical pharmacists as preceptors. They aided in moulding the future of clinical pharmacy through behavior modification and through their approach to patient cases by polishing professional conduct and instilling an eagerness to know more and do more in the care of patients.
After having gone through the non-traditional PharmD programme in NUS, my fellow colleagues did notice a change in me. My clinical approach to patient care has changed from haphazard recommendations to something clearer and structured with follow-up care. Having a doctorate in pharmacy gives credibility to the care of one’s patients, but even if my fellow healthcare professionals did not realise I have one, they will have full confidence.
How I’ve benefitted from NUS Pharm.D. program I was able to build up on my pharmacotherapy knowledge and being able to apply it to practice during clerkships / rotation. The heavy curriculum trained me to have better time management skills and to be disciplined and focus to get tasks / assignments done on time.
Feedback on the program
(1) A healthy mix of tutorials, didactic lectures, problem based learning
(2) Majority of the faculty who taught me were experts in their respective areas and extremely good role models
Looking back at the past 2 years, I can still remember the time (especially the weekends) spent working on assignments, tests and presentations. The Pharm.D. course was more intense than undergraduate pharmacy studies. For example, we had 13 continual assessments in the 13 weeks of the first semester.
It was also tough to switch from work back to being a student. At the end of this course, have we become experts? No, but we did learn much clinical knowledge and skills such as physical assessment, working up a patient, statistical analysis and medical literature evaluation. However, besides the hard facts, what was more interesting and definitely more valuable were the interactions we had; with the faculty members, the pharmacy office staff, undergraduate students, preceptors, colleagues, friends and patients at our rotation sites, including those thousands of miles away.
Now we embark on another phase in our pharmacy career, and continue our path of life-long learning.
Interestingly, the word ‘doctor’ is derived from the Latin docere, ‘to teach’, so I hope that we can contribute to guiding our healthcare colleagues, and improving our patients’ knowledge of their medications. Pharmacists shall become indispensable members of the patient care team, with primary responsibility for all aspects of the patient’s medications.
Certainly, I would not have managed to survive without the help and support of my fellow Pharm.D. coursemates, lecturers and preceptors, and most importantly, my family.
Finally, to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American poet, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
From advanced pharmacotherapy, physical assessments to research methodology, drug information skills and pharmacoeconomics, the NUS PharmD program has equipped me with essential skills and knowledge relevant to my area of practice. Lessons were interactive and enjoyable as I find small group teachings an effective way of learning. I could easily translate lessons learnt in the classroom to actual clinical practice. Besides the didactic component, the clerkships gave me the opportunity to learn from experienced clinical pharmacists not only locally but overseas. I had the privilege to be at a few overseas training sites: Samford University where I completed my drug information and internal medicine clerkship (St Vincent’s Hospital) and UIC Medical Centre for the internal medicine and ambulatory care clerkships. The experience gained was indeed invaluable and memorable. There was also much emphasis on the importance of practising evidence-based medicine. This has greatly influenced the way I practice, reminding me to stay relevant, keeping up with new evidence and treatment strategies.
The NUS PharmD program also prepared me well for the challenges and expectations of a critical care pharmacist. As an ICU pharmacist, I am an integral part of the multidisciplinary team, providing recommendations to appropriate drug therapy and optimising nutrition in critically ill patients. Not only have I developed better critical thinking and problem solving skills, I am now more confident in communicating my pharmacotherapeutic care plans to my team. With time, I have also gained the trust and credibility from other healthcare professionals. My participation and contributions are appreciated and these give me a great sense of satisfaction and believe that I can make a difference in my patients’ care.
The NUS PharmD program has nurtured me to be an all-rounded pharmacist: a clinician, a teacher and a researcher. I’m proud and honoured to belong to the pioneer batch of this program. I highly recommend fellow pharmacists.
Last modified on 20 November, 2015 by Department of Pharmacy