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Becoming a UK Registered Pharmacist with a Malaysian BPharm Degree – an IMU Alumni’s Story

20 Aug 2013

Jennifer Kua has always wanted to be a professional in the line of public service, ever since she was in school. She started her journey to be a pharmacist in 2004 when she began studying for her degree at the International Medical University (IMU) and is now doing her pre-registration attachment in UK. Jennifer shares with us the story of her journey to obtain the pre-registration attachment. “I embarked on this journey when I started life in IMU as a Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) candidate in 2004. I went through a very challenging yet rewarding four years as the University’s pilot batch on the course. The course was diverse, relevant and innovative in its training and teaching. During those years, I have matured academically, socially and professionally. The belief that some knowledge and experiences are gained beyond the four walls of a classroom and pages of a book resonates close at heart. For that, several particularly profound aspects and achievements come to mind. I was involved in a charity helping out at an orphanage, where I learned to appreciate what one has in life and the importance of human contact. The ample community and clinical attachments throughout the course has been critical to my preparation for real-life practice in this profession. Jennifer photoHaving graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) (IMU) and subsequently registered as a qualified pharmacist, I trained and served four years under the Malaysian Ministry of Health. During this time, I have been privileged to have developed a rich and wide-ranging set of skills through postings across various departments. The exposure to hospital administration, research, health informatics, clinical and outpatient pharmacy has equipped me with a full-spectrum of knowledge and valuable experiences that I hope to apply in my future career. In 2012, I made a life decision to move to the United Kingdom to join my husband. In doing so, I intended to continue with my career as a practicing pharmacist in the country; however, I was faced with a string of obstacles. Practicing in the UK would require a re-alignment of my qualification. This has been a complex process. An IELTS minimum criterion had to be met as a pre-requisite to applying to a UK university course. Through that, I enrolled onto a postgraduate diploma programme known as the Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme (OSPAP). The OSPAP allowed me to transfer my skills and knowledge, aligning them to local standards; hence enabling me to continue my career in the UK and serve the community. OSPAP was an advance, fast-paced and compact course, which really tested my ability to adapt, endure and evolve my skills and experience so that they will be relevant to my new environment. Whilst it had been a challenging journey, I found that my past education and experiences, from which I have managed to build a solid foundation all these years, to be extremely valuable in my efforts to complete the course. The IMU has performed a sterling job in developing the BPharm course, which is comprehensive and current to the latest demand in the industry locally, as well as being relevant abroad. In terms of specifics, the course emphasises the use of the British National Formulary (BNF) and the use of Objective Structure Clinical Examination (OSCE) sessions, which are largely similar to that implemented in the OSPAP. Post-completion of the OSPAP, I am currently undergoing my pre-registration attachment to the National Health Service for a year to achieve my qualification as a fully-registered pharmacist. I believe this would be the further essential building-blocks in my aspiration to specialise in neonatal and paediatrics practices.”

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