December 9, 2019, by Mei Kee Lee

Placement: Daniel Ryan MacDonald (MPharm Year 2)

The experience of my hospital placement at Seremban Hospital was really enlightening and put all the work we’d covered in class into context. We underwent tasks from completing a medication history to observing device counselling with patients to visiting the pharmacy stores & dispensary. The placement also gave us more of an insight into the day-to-day roles and routine of a hospital pharmacist, and also the inter-professional work that occurs between hospital pharmacists & other healthcare professionals.

At our insight placement at BP Specialist, we were joined by another group as well and the 8 of us were guided around the healthcare centre; shown the different subsections of the specialist. This ranged from eye, ear & nose specialists, to nutritionists, to minor surgery wards. We even underwent a body composition analysis test which gave us a breakdown of our height, weight, water-content, fat-content and so on. In addition, the BP specialist had a small pharmacy unit which stored drugs and dispensed prescriptions to patients, and we were able to ask questions about how pharmacy plays a role in this work setting.

Our community pharmacy placement also gave us more knowledge into the roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist in a community setting. One thing which I became immediately aware of was the relationship between the pharmacist and regular patients. The trust the patients had in their pharmacist was highlighted and this emphasised the importance of pharmacists upholding the reputation of the profession in their daily work. Throughout the day, we discussed a range of diseases/illnesses faced by patients such as GI disorders, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and so on. The knowledge of the pharmacist on the relevant symptoms and suitable drugs for each condition really surprised me, such as side effects and effectiveness of many particular drugs were known by the pharmacist off-by-heart. This placement in addition further exposed us to the relationship between healthcare and business, since our pharmacist referred to meeting sales targets and the stresses this can put on small independent pharmacies.

To add to our knowledge of UK based pharmacy schemes, we were also given a simulated pharmacy placement on UNM campus. Here we not only had hands-on counselling practice for 6 varying conditions, but we also were split into small groups and had to present to the class about particular advanced services offered by UK pharmacies to patients. My group were assigned stoma care and discussed the role of the pharmacist, some stoma-specific pharmaceutical products on the market and lifestyle advice on the topic.

On the whole, each placement was an extremely valuable and gave me the opportunity to compare how Malaysian pharmacies differ to UK pharmacies, which from my experience actually was surprisingly less than I thought in some aspects. The thing that shocked me most, however, was that prescriptions out here in Malaysia were hand-written and not standardised. This all being said, I think this experience will certainly widen my knowledge of global pharmacy and has definitely inspired me to work towards gaining experience in pharmacy all across the world!

Posted in MPharmPlacementUndergraduate