My name is Soon Yu Seng, an alumnus of International Medical University (IMU) who had completed my BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry degree in 2019. After the completion of my first degree, I decided to take this journey further to Sydney, Australia, to study a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm).
Despite all the ups and downs of the worldwide pandemic, it has been a wonderful two years in University of Sydney (USYD). The University and School of Pharmacy have dedicated amazing work and efforts to maintain the quality of teaching that they promised.
The learning experience in USYD is astounding because of the pharmacy placements. Pharmacy placement has also been marvellous because it is an opportunity to put all the clinical knowledge to real life especially hospital placement, in which I had the opportunity to experience and learn with a multidisciplinary team. On one occasion, I have seen how the speech therapist assess the patient with dysphagia due to progression of dementia. Although we may have learnt that from the textbook, but to be present in the room and to witness the entire process is a different kind of exposure altogether.
In pharmacy, communication skills are a form of art. To be able to deliver essential information to patient using layman terms, requires constant practise, knowledge and experience. Besides that, improved communication skills will assist in building patient’s trust and improve their medication adherence. However, due to the cultural and linguistic diversity in Australia, this can be really challenging.
In my capstone project, i am lucky to participate and partner with Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Pharmacy Department to design discharge medication summary with pictograms that has been proven evidently to help patient to understand medication directions and precautions.
During these two years, I have been working in a pharmacy as a part-time pharmacy assistant/student, and I realised that the ability to juggle between coursework and work is tough. Therefore, time management is a very essential element in university.
Moreover, to be able to participate in multidisciplinary care in Australia has made me come to the realisation of how important my role is in the community. In 2021, I was employed by NSW health during the pandemic, to reconstitute Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine vial for the public community. On average, thousands of vials were prepared every single day in one vaccination hub. Every health professional works as one to push the number of vaccinations to above 90%. It made me realise how essential for us as healthcare professionals to support the community.
Now, I am undertaking my internship in a pharmacy as a Provisional Pharmacist preparing for Board Exams in October. I am lucky to sail this ship smoothly thanks to the preparation that IMU has provided in terms of knowledge, different sets of skills such as time-management and the correct mind-set that was instilled so that I have the strength to be able to cope with anything that comes, of course and some credits that were transferred to my first and second semester. IMU has its own unique set of teaching which to tend stimulate student’s critical thinking and it helped a lot in my Master degree as well.
IMU has offered quality modules and teaching, in my opinion it is as good as University of Sydney. Most of the courses covered in my degree especially pharmacokinetics, pharmaceutical organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, and advanced medicinal chemistry, helps in my transition into a pharmacist today. These modules have helped me to have a better understanding about the properties of the drugs and thus, gave me confidence when I am counselling my patients. In short, the programmed has such solid foundation for students who wants further studies and is tailored for students who wants to pursue further studies whether its PhD or Master degree.
I hereby wanted to express my gratitude towards every lecturer, staff in IMU who helped me throughout the entire journey. Cheers!