March 20, 2020, by khazsyn

Alumni Testimonial: Dr Valerie Shang (2016)

I shared stories to students at random corridors, that my young self was not at all fond of the idea of becoming a pharmacist. I might have just did a tick on my UCAS form blindfolded. To date, I still struggle to justify reasons in joining the profession. I cringe at the typical reason that being in healthcare helps you to help others. Aren’t just any jobs in the world as noble so long they meant well?

In all honesty, the fact that I am an MPharm graduate from the UoN today was due to logistics reasons. Nottingham is only a dual carriageway away from Derby where my beloved aunt was, and still is. Upon graduation, I was a clinical pharmacist at the NHS. I experienced working in various wards specialty, completed a fully sponsored Postgraduate Clinical Diploma at Leicester’s De Monfort University and built rapport as well as friendships with people around me – nice. However, I was constantly on the lookout for a career that allow intellectual exploration. Just before Christmas in 2011, I received a call to join research at School of Life Sciences, UoN that comes with a full scholarship. Instead of geographical coincidence, this time, the decision to return to my alma mater was based on the confidence for its quality of education. Whilst receiving my PhD training, I was also a teaching assistant at the School of Pharmacy on casual basis. This has helped to keep my knowledge on current pharmacy practice abreast and earned extra quid to fund my travels around Europe.

The transition from hospital pharmacy to research was relatively smooth, as UoN Pharmacy modules then had already prepared me with the flexibility to pick a side between
the two professional directions. In 2012, the MPharm degree at UoN experienced programme restructuring. The University was the first, or if not, one of the earliest to introduce ‘integrated modules’; with sciences studies and clinical components merged and categorically presented based on disease management. Lecturers at UoN’s School of Pharmacy in Malaysia and the UK are hence, amongst the most experienced to deliver the degree in such mode. This, I believe, aids transfer of knowledge into practice even
more efficiently.

There is a strong sense of community amongst students of UoN, possibly owing to campuses designs that naturally create townships. Also, credits to the Nottingham geese and ducks in Malaysian campus – these guys are the traffic showstoppers and made great excuses for lateness to lectures! Between alumni, there is almost an instant connection, as if you have met a friend of the same hometown. The Nottingham Alumni Network also plays a significant role in maintaining these contacts and offers career support beyond graduation. The Ingenuity Lab for instance, provides start-up funding for students and alumni with innovative entrepreneurial ideas.

So if what I have said earlier resonates with your further studies plan, forward your application to us and then hope for the best. Just make sure you are not blindfolded.

I look forward to seeing you on-campus.

Dr Valerie Shang, an alumni of UoN graduated with MPharm in 2009 and a PhD in 2016. She is currently teaching at the School of Pharmacy, Nottingham Malaysia.

Posted in AlumniMPharm