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Achieving My UK Dream with a Chevening Scholarship

01 Oct 2018

“I am heading to London! I am heading to London!” was the first thought that came to my mind when I first learned that I have been awarded the Chevening scholarship.

My journey as a pharmacist began when I graduated from IMU’s Bachelor of Pharmacy programme in 2011. I then joined Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah for my provisional year before becoming a fully registered pharmacist at the same hospital. Fortunately for me, being a junior pharmacist at that period of time, I was introduced into the Infectious Disease (ID) team of that hospital whereby I had the opportunity to work closely with an ID physician, Dr Low Lee Lee and one of our IMU pharmacy alumni, Alan Tan Zi Siang. Both of them have not just provided me the guidance but also inspired me to become a prominent member in the ID team to jointly address and combat antibiotic resistance in the hospital and state level. Working as a clinical pharmacist specialising in ID, I provide pharmaceutical care plans by ensuring the most effective and narrow spectrum antibiotics are being administered to patients without adversely causing side effects and more importantly prevent occurrence of antibiotic resistance. In 2014, in conjunction with the launch of Malaysia’s first Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme (AMS) guideline, my team and I, consisting of ID physicians, microbiologists, pharmacists and infection control nurses have formed an AMS committee in the hospital to devise strategies and plans to prevent antibiotic resistance.

Being the pioneer of AMS team in my hospital and Kedah state, I am fortunate to jointly carry out some of its programmes including formulation of antibiotic policy, conducting clinical audit, and more significantly, conduct AMS round, whereby the team work hand in hand to review and provide recommendations on cases whenever the patients were started with broad spectrum antibiotics. Currently, even though I have transferred to Hospital Seberang Jaya since 2015, I am still a core member in my hospital AMS committee and also working as a ward pharmacist in ICU.

I believe IMU have trained us all in a way to never settle when you can dream bigger, and that is the principle I strongly hold to when I started setting my mind on furthering my studies. I believe Clinical Pharmacy, and more specifically Infectious Disease, is my true passion and that was when I started looking for funded studies in August last year which later on led me to Chevening, bringing me a step closer to my dreams. Chevening Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarship worldwide, funded by the UK Government, fully sponsoring anyone with ambition and a strong leadership potential to pursue a one-year Master degree programme in the UK. Unlike other scholarships, Chevening focus not just on one’s professional and academic performance, but more so on interpersonal skills development by broadening their network while giving the chance to experience the UK culture. In line with my career goal of combatting antibiotic resistance, this is a lifetime opportunity for me to get new insights on an international perspective and the clinical practice of antibiotic management at one of the top universities in the UK, namely University College London (UCL). Chevening application involves two phases, whereby the first phase of application involves writing essays with emphasis on leadership, networking, and post career plans before being selected to the interview session for the second phase. Throughout the application, I am also extremely blessed to have Dr Syed Shahzad Hasan, our IMU former lecturer to assist me by writing a reference for me. Out of the 50,000 Chevening scholarship applicants worldwide this year, where only less than 1800 are successful scholarship recipients, it is incredible and unbelievable at the same time that I am part of the successful scholars.

For me, the thought of studying in the UK or gaining a scholarship like this is merely a wild dream if it wasn’t because of the support from my family, friends, and more importantly those who have given me a lot of ideas as well as experience sharing from an ex-Chevening scholar, who is also an IMU alumni. Undoubtedly, studying in IMU has indeed played a major role in my successful Chevening application. Having studied locally at IMU, we had an early exposure to the clinical pharmacy practice during hospital attachment as early as our third year of study, and together with the strong commitment from the lecturers, I find it particularly easy for me to familiarise myself with the clinical practice setting in hospital during my fresh graduate period. IMU have trained us extensively on patient care via many channels (lectures, PBL, hospital placements), which have helped set a good foundation when stepping into the working world; but at the same time, they have made learning such an interesting and fun journey, that I am looking forward to being a student again. My interest towards the clinical pharmacy practice which started since university as well as the network built during my time at IMU have progressively helped in developing myself professionally and eventually enabling me to obtain this Chevening scholarship.

As a selected scholar, I take this as a blessing for me to acquire new knowledge and experience in the hopes that I would be bringing a positive impact into my field upon completion of my study. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Chevening Scholarship for this precious opportunity given and I can no longer wait for this adventure to begin!

Course: MSc Clinical Pharmacy, International Practice and Policy University: University College London (UCL) Written by Khor Wei Ping, BPharm (IMU), B1/07 cohort

In 2018, three pharmacy graduates from IMU, Nicholas Hing Yee Liang, Khor Wei Ping and Devi Shantini Rata Mohan, received the Chevening Scholarship to pursue their Master degree at a university in UK. They were chosen from the 50,000 Chevening scholarship applicants worldwide this year. Read about Nicholas Hing’s journey at IMU: A Chevening Catalyst!

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