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Pursuing a Pharmacy Degree at IMU During the Pandemic

10 Jun 2022

I am Bryan Loh from Melaka and I am currently pursuing the Bachelors of Pharmacy (Hons) [BPharm (Hons)] programme in IMU. I am from the BP120 cohort and also the class representative of my cohort. We have successfully completed the first two years of the programme and are eagerly waiting to complete the remaining two years with the same enthusiasm. Firstly, let me share about by my desire to pursue a pharmacy degree. My desire to pursue a pharmacy degree bloomed when I was still in secondary school. At that time, I was interested in both Biology and Chemistry, as both subjects explain relationships between elements that could not be observed by the naked eye, for example between cells and atoms of an element. On the other hand, I was also an active scout member, and the rewarding feeling I gained from helping the community, gave me the motivation to choose a career that can benefit the community. What better way to do so than to enrol in a healthcare programme? Specifically, the BPharm (Hons) programme, which meets all the requirements of my ideal profession. In Malaysia, there are many different universities providing the BPharm (Hons) programme, including IMU. I still remember vividly, when I was attended by a lecturer of the BPharm (Hons) programme during an education fair, his confidence and passion when communicating, helped the indecisive me at that time to make up my mind. That is where I gained courage to apply for the programme, because I knew that the BPharm (Hons) curriculum will be led by passionate and professional lecturers.

Dean of School of Pharmacy, Prof Mohd Zulkefeli Mat Jusoh, with Bryan after putting on the white coat on for Bryan at a White Coat Ceremony 

Also, in IMU, we get to know friends and peers from other healthcare courses, which always sparks interesting topics to chat about regarding our own respective programmes. To put it into perspective, I was a Foundation in Science student of IMU before joining the BPharm (Hons) programme and during that period of time, I have made lots of friends who are now studying in different undergraduate programmes in IMU, so I have always learned something new beyond my course whenever I am with them. I enrolled in the BPharm course in 2020 during the pandemic and till now I do not regret the decision that I had made.

In my opinion, the BPharm (Hons) programme at IMU provided flexibility to their students in the delivery of the curriculum during the pandemic without compromising the quality of the learning experience. Since the learning was via online mode, asynchronous lectures and self-directed learning were scheduled between synchronous sessions and played a significant role in enabling students to learn at their own pace, while providing an opportunity for students to personalise their academic timetable without stress. Besides providing a comfortable learning experience, it also enabled the students to develop a sense of responsibility to manage their learning. I am sure that this experience will certainly help the students of the BPharm (Hons) programme to gradually adapt to the working environment, in which responsibility plays a major role in succeeding in a career.

With the acquittance through the four semesters of the BPharm (Hons) programme, I have developed great interest in the various disease conditions and their respective pharmacological management which are regarded as the essence of the programme. I feel that my overall communication and confidence have also improved with the 2 years of my journey through sessions such as the Pharmacy Skill Development and the evaluation by means of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination. Thus, I am glad that the programme has provided the students with opportunities and also have trained us to be all-rounders and not just book worms or machines that could only memorise information and regurgitate everything on the exam paper.

Bryan (front row, first from left) at the IMU Bukit Jalil campus on the final day of Semester 4 End Of Semester examinations 

We are eagerly waiting to explore Years 3 and 4 which has a bundle of opportunities too, such as Selective module options which also includes Digital Health Applications, which is to be first introduced beginning with our cohort and the Elective module which allows us to explore the additional attachment opportunity in addition to the mandatory attachment in the pharmaceutical industry, community pharmacy and the hospital pharmacy. To conclude, I would like to say that passion and interest are the two utmost important values that you should have when applying for this course, as those would be the fuel that is going to motivate you throughout your journey in the programme. There is a philosophy that when a drug is used with caution, it can be lifesaving, however when it is misused, the same drug can be poisonous to humans, and this is very true in terms of pharmacy practice. Thus, pharmacists in practice play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of a patient. In the BPharm (Hons) programme in IMU, you can be assured that it has many opportunities that would shape undergraduates to be an accountable pharmacist and the responsive lecturers are always available to guide you through the course so there is nothing to worry about if you are willing to speak up and ask.

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