The first week of uni after the mid-semester break is over, and what a week it was! The two week holidays preceding it weren't much of a holiday either!
The first three days of my holidays were taken over with my community pharmacy placement. Of course I was filled with dread when I heard we had to spend THREE WHOLE DAYS in a community pharmacy this year! I was really dreading it after I read what we had to do in our workbook - consult patients! There was no way in a million years I'd be able to competently consult a patient!
I was assigned a small pharmacy in the middle of a block of shops along the side of a road in Henderson. At first I wasn't too happy about it as I had my placement in a small pharmacy last year as well and hardly anything happened! However little did I know that it would be to my benefit!
There was only one pharmacist and one technician at the pharmacy and they were very very nice to me! The pharmacist let me dispense some medication (usually the repeats and not medication that needed to be dispensed in 5-10 minutes!) as well as explain a lot of things to me, like their procedures etc. I also got to enter patient information into the computer!
The first day was a little slow and I stood there for most of the day not really doing much. I was given a half hour lunch break in the middle of the day, which I spent wandering to the neighbouring bakery to buy some food and then walking down the road and back as slowly as possible as I ate to pass the time away!
As part of the placement I had to interview a patient with a chronic condition on what her life was like (things like quality of life and so on) and she she was supposed to come on the first day (which came as a surprise to me) but she never showed up. Secretly I was thinking
"Please don't come, please don't come!"
but I knew I'd have to do a patient interview one way or another in order to pass this component of my course! After the pharmacist rang her at the end of the day to remind her, she did show up the very next day. She was quite nice, and didn't really have much to say/complain about (I cannot elaborate due to confidentiality stuff)! When we came towards the end of the interview she asked me where I was from, and when I asked her to guess, she guessed I was part Asian! WOOHOO!!!
I also made a very big discovery at the end of the first day of my placement - the pharmacist is the mum of one of my old intermediate school friends! I haven't actually talked to him since intermediate school but I recognised her surname from a mile away! It's quite unique, apparently they're the only people with that surname in the country so that's probably why!
The days went by faster as I was given more work to do. I still had that patient consultation to do though, which was bothering me. I had to consult someone on cough and colds medication, as well as consult a patient receiving prescription medication.
Consulting a patient receiving prescription medication wasn't too bad. It was standard paracetamol and something else. I just recited the instructions that were on the container. It was a young girl who I was talking to though, so I don't know how much she paid attention to though!
As for the colds and coughs patient consultation, talk about big fat FAIL! There weren't that many people coming in with symptoms, and so when this young woman did come in to look at cough and cold medication, the pharmacist sent me out there to see if she needed any help. I asked the pharmacist to come along for a bit of support, which I needed in the end! I asked the girl if she needed any help, and initially she said she was OK, but then she asked me
"Which is better? These medications or these medications?" (pointing to two different areas)
I was left standing there blankly going
That's when the pharmacist jumped in and saved me! She later apologised for interrupting, but I wasn't complaining!
With the pressure of having to complete one successful consultation, another person came in later in the day with symptoms and was talking to the pharmacist. I was still standing by the medication trying to figure out what did what, when the pharmacist was making a recommendation to the man and called out to me
'What do you think Calum?"
I was a little caught out and was left going
I ended up doing a roleplay with the technician since we ran out of other patients for me to screw up the consultation with! I can now say that after I caught a cold the following weekend and spent time looking up information on medications, I now know a bit more about them!
During my lunch break on the final day when I went to the bakery the Chinese lady at the counter asked me if I was training at the pharmacy that week, and then asked me where I was from. When I explained to her I was half Chinese, she said she could tell!
So overall, I really learnt a lot from the pharmacy placement and the pharmacist and technician were great! They were so nice and I enjoyed myself (when I was doing something!). The pharmacist even offered to check my workbook and when I went to pick it up a week later (I even saw Edwin, my pharmacy friend, doing his placement there!), she even went through a few things and taught me a bit more about a few different medications!
It's just a shame I had to spend the rest of the holidays working on several assignments. I really should have been studying for tests, but instead I had to worry about this pharmaceutical care plan assignment and this validation report I had to write.
I sorta had an idea of what was expected for the pharmaceutical care plan. I was given a case, and had to explain how I would treat her/modify her treatment. I would read the guidelines and decide to treat her one way, but then after reading something else think that maybe there was a better way of doing it and keep going around in circles! It was driving me crazy! The night after I finished it I even had a dream about the care plan! I was lucky enough to get some advice from a few people at church who are doctors/pharmacists though.
As for the validation report, that frustrated the <insert something here> out of me! None of our notes were of any use, and the lecturer/tutor didn't even teach us how to do it! I tried asking a few pharmacy people but kept getting fobbed off by most, who would responsed with one word answers! I hope I wasn't bothering them, but it sure didn't give me much encouragement to ask people for help again the next time I need it! Fortunately Nadine, a pharmacist in my Sunday school at church came to my rescue and gave me some useful advice! I spent the night before it was due just chucking some stuff down before I was too tired and went to bed. I did a bit more at uni but found out it was due a lot earlier in the day than I first thought, and so just handed it in! It was only worth 2% anyway so good riddens to that!
In the first week back at uni though I had a test on Wednesday and one on Thursday. Wednesday's test was a multiple-choice test, and so I could get away with half-studying for that. When it came to the test though, I went through the test and answered all I could within the first twenty minutes (shows how much I know!). With so much time remaining, I ended up dozing off a little, till the invigilators told us we had 5 minutes left to go! I furiously answered (or guessed) the remaining questions. That is only the second time I've ever dozed off in the middle of the test!
I was a little concerned with the test, as I answered 'All of the Above' for a lot of the questions, and so I tried to avoid that answer for a few of the questions I didn't know, just to balance it out a bit (which is not the way to go!). It turns out a couple of the questions didn't even make sense (I didn't even notice! Shows how much I was paying attention doesn't it?), and so they're going to be removed with the remaining questions being worth more marks. Hopefully those questions were the ones I didn't know!
As for the MEDSCI test on Thursday, it wast terrible, possibly one of the worst tests I've ever sat! The day before, I was cramming as much as I could. I ended up deciding to focus on a few lectures as I had received a tip-off that in the mid-term test we'd get an option on what we wanted to write about. Boy was I wrong. There was a 40 mark question (out of a total 50 marks in the test) which was based on ONE lecture, the ONE lecture I didn't look at in depth! I tried filling in two pages of rubbish! Hopefully I get some marks out of it!
To finish off a hectic week, we had an online quiz test for our MEDSCI lab on Friday, which I pretty much had to guess! Fortunately my lab report mark wasn't too bad and Turnitin didn't accuse me of plagarism! Yay!!