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My Journey as a Clinical Pharmacist in Private Hospital

12 Apr 2017

In Malaysia, many people have a limited understanding and knowledge towards the role of a pharmacist in a private hospital. With this in mind, IMU Alumna, Grace Chay, decided to share her journey as a clinical pharmacist in Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur. “I joined Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur in 2012 and have been given the privilege of working with a team of very dedicated pharmacists. Starting off as someone with no experience in a private hospital setting, I was placed in the Inpatient Department for over a year and later moved to the Outpatient Department for another year. Even though I had experiences in the government hospital pharmacy for almost 3 years, working in a private hospital has given me a whole new set of challenges.

With the organisation’s direction moving towards being more patient focus, we looked forward to expanding our services in the Clinical Pharmacy. I was privileged to pioneer and start this service in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, one of the very few private hospitals in Malaysia that have moved towards this service.

I vividly remember the nervousness and anxiousness I felt after being briefed of the expectations required from me, on my first day of work in ICU. It took me more than a month to adapt to the new environment. I then began to gain more support from the ICU team, which in turn encouraged me to push forward and give my best in many ways. What do I do on a daily basis? It is quite similar to what is being practised in the government hospital. I review medication profile to ensure medications prescribed meet the optimum and safe goal of patient care, follow through patient’s progress towards medication outcome, consult with doctor about medication related issues, perform critical intervention on medication use and dosing as well as perform medication counselling to ensure patient’s adherence. I also work as a liaison personnel between the Inpatient Pharmacy and the ward level to aid and improve medication delivery. I always believe that my role in the ward will be more accomplished when I involve myself as part of the primary care team. To further improve on medication administration, I provide regular nurse training on administration technique, drug dilution and counselling tips. Having worked with many doctors from various specialities has taught and expanded my clinical knowledge tremendously. It has given me more confidence in providing drug related intervention to improve patient’s care. Yet, there were times when I felt the intense pressure and heavy responsibilities as my decision on the medication will impact directly on a patient’s response and outcome. As the Clinical Pharmacy service is further established, we received positive feedback on the importance of having Pharmacists in the clinical ward area. This led to expanding further with more Pharmacists in other clinical areas.

It is indeed my passion to advocate the rationale use of antibiotics in view of global concern of antibiotic resistance and to ensure optimal use of antibiotics to improve patient care. This has led me to initiate and form an Antibiotic Stewardship team of doctors, infection control nurses and microbiologists.

In addition, we also focus on geriatric care forming a multidisciplinary team of Consultant Geriatrician, Pharmacist, Dietitian, Physiotherapist, Speech Therapist and nurses. All these have further given me more job satisfaction thus pushing me to do even more. Throughout my journey as a Clinical Pharmacist, I have learned to be more independent and have vastly improved my interpersonal skills with the other healthcare professionals. I truly value what I learnt during the undergraduate programme back in IMU. The BPharm programme taught me to think critically as a Pharmacist and given me valuable experience in clinical attachments at the different hospitals, with guidance from the lecturers which set a good foundation right from the beginning to where I am now. I would encourage Pharmacists in current private hospitals to move forward and elevate their services in order for the public to be aware of the roles that they play.

And my personal encouragement to all the Pharmacists; no matter what field of Pharmacy you choose to pursue, there are always room for improvements. Give your best in all that you are doing and finish it well.”

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