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IMU Alumnus Advocates Pharmacy Profession

14 Mar 2017

For IMU Alumnus, Lim Kean Ping, being a pharmacist is never his first ambition. His first inclination to be a pharmacist rose after he suffered from a serious drug allergy which resulted in a 7-day hospital stay during Form 6. HIs initial intention was pretty simple, he wanted to be a pharmacist and manage his own medicine! His intentions have changed since then and he is now an advocate for the pharmacy profession. Group Kean Ping was kind enough to share his journey with us in the hopes of inspiring future pharmacists.

“Choosing IMU was simply based on the strong recommendations from seniors. Undoubtedly, my 4-year-BPharm studies at IMU was one of the best experiences in my life. I think the unique education model offered by IMU is not just about the syllabus but the whole holistic approach in transforming students into competent and confident medical professionals. I am proud to say that most IMU BPharm graduates are always up to standard and are well prepared mentally!

LIM-KEAN-PING (1) After graduating in 2011, I chose to go for my provisional training at Hospital Tawau in Sabah, a beautiful state blessed with world class islands and mountains. Most importantly, when I was in Tawau, I learnt how more than 40 ethnic groups of Sabahan can live together in harmony and peace. The unfortunate and scary Suluk army intrusion in 2013 actually made Sabahans even stronger and united. I am blessed to have spent 2 years in this truly amazing state. After completing my service in the government hospital, I started my community pharmacy practice in an independent pharmacy. By then, I realised that majority of the public do not really understand the role of a pharmacist. Generally, the public perceived a pharmacist as someone who stands behind the counter just selling medicines. “Something must be done to change this perception.” I told myself.

I started spending more time with each walk-in patient, from medication reconciliation, MTAC (Medication Therapy Adherence Clinic) to give education counselling to those who are interested in the pharmacy profession. This, as a start was not easy!

I believe all community pharmacists face similar challenges as our practice. However, I truly enjoyed the gradual process of gaining trust and recognition by the community that I served as I truly believe that we play a very significant role in primary care settings. IMG_0310 During my days off, I will take the effort to visit other community pharmacies to observe and learn from the others. This is when I realise that there are a lot of great pharmacists doing a great job at various fields. We just need to make it known to the public. The opportunity kicked in when a local Chinese radio station Ai FM invited me to speak on a live programme regarding a much debated topic at that time – dispensing separation, together with a well-known paediatrician. The programme went well and we were both given equal chance to deliver our points and concerns. This was followed by a 2 full-page report in the Oriental Daily newspaper on the issue of dispensing separation. Most importantly it reaffirmed my belief that pharmacists need to be more proactive in promoting our profession. With the support from MPS Young Pharmacist Chapter, we managed to gather a group of young pharmacists and we started a weekly column in Oriental Daily for 9 months in 2014. We covered almost 40 medicine related topics aimed at educating the public. Honestly, I do not have any concrete data to support the impact of this project in educating the public but, it has certainly served its purpose in encouraging more passionate pharmacists to uphold and promote our profession. IMG_0566

Currently I am working as a Business Optimisation Manager at AM PM Pharmacy, a rapidly growing community pharmacy chain with 24 branches to-date in the state of Johor. I work in various aspects to build a sustainable primary healthcare network, focusing mainly in community pharmacy. I am still actively writing for a medical column in magazines and newspapers. For the past 2 years, I enjoyed my role as a medical commentator for various health related issues for local radio and TV stations. I also took up invitations to share about my experiences engaging the public with pharmacy students.

Recently I took up the challenge to coordinate Provisionally Registered Pharmacists training programme in my company. The experience of learning to build a training platform and facing a big group of talented young pharmacists indeed helped shaped my leadership skills. In fact, the key factor motivating this group of high-performance pharmacists is their passion towards the profession and not what they have achieved in the University.

For new graduates, my favourite interview question is “Share with me, what do you want to do for your profession?”. I love being inspired by others and in turn, I will continue the efforts to inspire others as well.”

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