“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela
An IMU Master in Pharmacy Practice student, Priya Manirajan, conducted her research on geriatric care focussing mainly on fall prevention and awareness among the Malaysian elderly population as part of the requirement to graduate. The findings and outcomes from the study have been presented at two international conferences, where she won the Best Oral Presenter awards. Here, she recounts her decision to pursue her postgraduate studies at IMU and her experience studying at the University.
Serve society with higher education
Learning is a lifelong process and further studies can be a rewarding experience. It helps one to be exposed to the current development and knowledge in the field of interest as well as provides an opportunity to equip oneself with skills necessary to meet the requirements of a challenging working world.
As a working adult, perusing further studies is considered beneficial as it gives me a competitive edge that will widen my opportunities and helps me with career progress. As a pharmacist, this is a wonderful opportunity to spend time doing something that I love and explore my area of interest.
Currently, I’m working at a primary care clinic in a rural area where most of the occupants are elderly. Earlier this year, the Malaysian Health Ministry announced that by the year 2044, Malaysia will be an aging society as the elderly population will occupy more than 14% of the total population. This is an added challenge to the healthcare system in our country as we have responsibilities to cater to the elderly’s needs. As I engage with the elderly community on a daily basis, I develop an interest in geriatric care. The role of pharmacists in geriatric care is really important as we can help individualised treatment by adjusting dose and medications suited to the elderly’s needs, hence optimising therapeutic outcomes.
Gaining in depth knowledge in my field of interest will help me to serve the community for a better tomorrow. Giving back to the community has benefited me personally by increasing my self-worth and self-confidence. Helping the community around me provides me with a sense of purpose, depth, and meaning in my professional and personal life. Expanding knowledge through further studies also arms me with a more assertive, self-assured mindset in social situations.
IMU made me an Independent Learner
The term “independent learning” refers to a teaching or learning approach in which students take responsibility for and control over their education. They lead, manage, and evaluate their own learning as well as learn via their own actions. In simple terms, education is not spoon-fed to you. IMU cultivates this self-directed independent learning, where students are encouraged to organise their study schedules, develop their research skills, and cultivate a strong, academic discipline. In addition to encouraging independent work and thought, this helps students to develop a valuable sense of ownership over their own accomplishments. Your ability to succeed in school depends entirely on your decisions; it is not someone else’s responsibility. Not only will having this mindset help us succeed in one’s education, but it can also support us in our career endeavours.
These adopted learning methods coupled with the flexible timetable for the IMU’s Master in Pharmacy Practice Programme enabled me to pursue my dreams without neglecting my current job. Over this period of time, pursuing further studies has improved my work quality and I have become more detail oriented.
Balancing both my work and my studies has been a challenge during and post-pandemic. Since the classes are conducted over the weekends online, I’m able to do long-distance learning. At the end of every day, I list out tasks that need to be completed for the following day. I will then arrange these tasks by priority and urgency. This simple method helped me to get things done before the deadlines. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not the way to go about getting things done, rather I focus on one task at a time, whether it is an assignment or a meeting, in order to achieve the desired outcome without compromising quality.
My research presentation at the international arena
Research activities are important as new ideas and innovations assist in solving health problems and developing policies. IMU never failed to encourage students to do research which has a significant impact on the health outcome of the patient and society.
The MPP postgraduate team supports its students in all the ways in teaching and research which boosted my research interest in Malaysian elderly society. I have undertaken research studies pertaining to my field of interest, geriatric care, that is focused mainly on fall prevention and awareness among the Malaysian elderly population as fall incidents contribute a significant financial burden to the patient and the society.
The findings and outcomes from the study have been presented at two international conferences, International Postgraduate Conference on Pharmaceutical Sciences (iPoPS-2022) held in Malaysia and the International Seminar- ClinImpact-2022 held in India this year (2022), where I have been awarded the Best Oral Presenter awards. These achievements add value to my career as well as my personal life.
I move forward with hopes to serve my community better and be an example to the younger generation in fulfilling their dreams.
Written by: Priya Manirajan, Postgraduate Student, Master in Pharmacy Practice, IMU
Reviewed by: Dr Palanisamy Sivanandy, Master in Pharmacy Practice, IMU