Testimonials for Overseas Rotations

Class of 2015

Fu Wing Han (Class of 2015) – University of Nebraska Medical Center(Cardiology)

Being in Nebraska was an eye-opener for me as I had the opportunity to work with one of the most renown cardiology pharmacist, Dr Paul Dobesh at his university hospital. Even though I was new to the topic of cardiology, Dr Dobesh and other hospital preceptors were able to provide great insights and increased my interest in cardiology during this 5 week rotation. Discussions and presentations conducted during the rotation were able to inculcate knowledge and hone clinical skills that were applicable across various topics. During these sessions, I was also learning from US PharmD students who were more inquisitive and offered a different perspective as they raised their opinions. The multi-disciplinary rounds conducted in the cardiology team were something that I had not observed before in Singapore and it allowed me to appreciate the different roles of each healthcare professional in the management of a cardiology patient. The pharmacists understood that I was an experienced pharmacist in Singapore and were able to engage in in-depth discussions on pharmacotherapy and exchange ideas on various practices in that differ in the 2 countries. Outside of rotation, everyone was friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand. I also had a fun time touring the Omaha Zoo! Overall, it was a great experience to be learning in Nebraska.

Class of 2012

Chuang Shen Hui (Class of 2012) – Samford University (University of Alabama at Birmingham: Organ Transplant)

UAB ambulatory care transplant was a great site as the center handled a wide range of organ transplants including heart, lung, liver and kidney. The pharmacists and pharmacist assistants at UAB specialty pharmacy were warm and very welcoming and that certainly helped me settle in nicely and quickly for the rotation. During the ambulatory care transplant clerkship, I was able to observe how patients were being care for by a multi-disciplinary team in the liver transplant clinic which involved surgeons, transplant hepatologists, coordinators, nurses, pharmacists, social workers etc. There, I also attended several organ transplant work up grand rounds where I was exposed to how patients were listed and worked up for an organ transplant. I am grateful towards Dr DeAnn Jones’ enthusiasm in keeping me engaged in intellectually-stimulating topic discussions, and for trying her best to help me optimize my learning during my shot stay in UAB. Dr. Jeremy Lovingood was a very approachable and accommodating preceptor. I am appreciative that he went to great length to help arrange for me to be attached to different organ transplant pharmacy clinics. Dr. Lovingood possesses great communication and counselling skills, and has shown to have great rapport with his patients. I would like to thank Dr. Patricia Naro for all her help to coordinate this rotation.

Doreen Tan (Class of 2012) – University of Nebraska Medical Center (Cardiology)

It was my privilege to have been attached to Dr. Paul Dobesh at UNMC. He has a deep wealth of knowledge in cardiovascular therapeutics, and I was very thankful that he spent time out of his busy schedule teaching and guiding me. The practice in the US is not that much different from Singapore. The one thing I learnt from the US pharmacists are their willingness to use every piece of published information to the betterment of patient care, no matter how poorly carried out a study is. Aside from that, their communication skills and interactions with the team taught me invaluable lessons about how doctors view us or accept us as part of the team. Just having drug knowledge in one’s head is not good enough; it is as important to be able to communicate concerns and be prepared with alternatives to suggest to doctors. The period of attachment had given me good insights as to how to truly practice case-discussions and journal club presentations. The environment was one filled with vibrant learning. More specific to that, it gave me the opportunity to observe practices of pharmacists in Cardiology which I haven’t learnt or observed back home. Having come from that rotation, I am more confident in the way I present myself and having observed what makes a pharmacist a cardiology expert, I think I am in a way better position to further develop and push practice back home in Singapore. I am very grateful for Dr Paul Dobesh’s guidance and time spent with me. It was a time I would never forget.

Class of 2011 

Jonathan Seah (Class of 2011) – University of Illinois Chicago (Drug Information)

Being at the UIC Drug information group gave me a great overview of the services possible at a Drug Information center. The group caters not to a single hospital/medical center but rather different health systems. Hence, I answered drug information enquiries from pharmacists across the countries which required more in-depth searches. This was vastly different from a hospital-based DI service. The pharmacists also conduct regular question review sessions where we discuss the process and resources used to answer the enquiry, to improve our skills in answering future enquiries and as a form of quality assurance for the information provided. I enjoyed the teaching discussions with the Pharm.D students in UIC. It was also great to have a chance to be attached to the state Poison Information Center and participate in toxicology teaching sessions and journal club discussions. The group is heavily involved in writing and publishing, and my preceptor provided ample and valuable feedback for the various writing assignments that I did. There was great interactions with the various DI pharmacists, and students who rotated through the center. In fact, it was nice to catch up with them again when I visited them one year after the rotation.

Kelvin Xu (Class of 2011) – University of Houston College of Pharmacy (Pediatrics)

At University of Houston College of Pharmacy (UHCOP), I was rotated to 2 paediatric centres, namely the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital, where I met a variety of preceptors with different interests and specialities. Not only did I get a feel of the different subspecialties such as paediatric critical care, paediatric pain management, general paediatrics, paediatric oncology, paediatric organ transplant, I also had a glimpse of pharmacy management. Besides being exposed to the “rocket sciences” of pharmacotherapy, lessons in becoming a better pharmacist also encompasses the humanistic nature of working and learning as a team, with fellow healthcare professionals, caregivers and our paediatric patients. As part of my rotations, I was put in the role of ensuring safety of medication use and optimising pharmacotherapy for our young charges while trying to upgrade our knowledge base with intensive readings on new diseases and drugs that I had not encountered before in Singapore. The preceptors at both hospitals gave timely feedback and were very opened to discussion on pharmacotherapeutic options available to every case I worked on. I also had the opportunity to catch glimpses on how pharmacy lessons were conducted on campus at UHCOP. I do miss the practice of pharmacy in Houston, and the warm and welcoming spirit of the people whom I interacted with. Do not be surprise at how the Southern hospitality and learning opportunities of the Lone Star State can impact your life – you will want to be there too.

Melissa Ngai (Class of 2011) – University of Illinois Chicago (Internal Medicine)

I spent 5 weeks with one of the clinical pharmacists (Dr. Charles McPherson) at UIC Medical Centre for an internal medicine clerkship. It was indeed an eye-opener understanding the various services provided by the pharmacy as well as the roles and responsibilities of a clinical pharmacist. Mornings were spent discussing patient cases with the attending (consultant) and the medical team. There was great emphasis on using evidence-based medicine to rationalise patients’ drug therapy. My preceptor frequently encouraged me to look up journals and read up on landmark trials. In addition, there were also case presentations and journal club sessions with other pharmacy students and clinical preceptors. I even had the opportunity to follow one of the pharmacy critical care residents on night call. We had to attend to a kidney transplant case whereby we ordered immunosuppressants and prophylactic medications. Overall my experience at UIC was memorable and fulfilling. I made several new friends, including some international pharmacists as well. More importantly, from my interaction with the pharmacists there, I have also learnt how to be a better pharmacist and preceptor too!

Vivianne Shih (Class of 2011) – University of Nebraska Medical Center (Haematology/Oncology)

Throughout my 10 weeks at University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), I participated in daily multidisciplinary rounds with both the HSCT and solid tumour teams. Pharmacist’s role is, not limited to symptom management, ensuring appropriate drug therapy, providing pharmacokinetic drug consults and medication safety.  In addition, pharmacists were actively involved with team’s decision in the selection of appropriate therapy for patients. An example of an inquiry that was memorable was one whereby I had to explore the possible treatment options, their dosing, administration and monitoring parameters for a patient who had undergone allogeneic BMT and presented with haemorrhagic cystitis. By mid-afternoon, I also perform handing over duties i.e. to update on the progress of patients, highlighting pertinent issues for follow up to the night pharmacist on duty daily to ensure continuity of patient care. On certain days of the week, I attended outpatient clinic sessions with the oncologists. Otherwise, afternoon sessions were usually kept busy with journal clubs, patient case presentation followed by topic discussions with preceptors and mini presentations to the team pharmacists on topics of interest. I was also assigned to present and lead in the discussion on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and cardiotoxicity to fellow PharmD students on rotation with me. Throughout the posting, I was allowed to work independently with minimal supervision. Overall, it was indeed an eye-opening experience to learn about oncology pharmacy practice outside Singapore. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Prof. Gary Yee and Prof. Tim McGuire for their guidance and support.