If your graduation was not the happiest day of your life and you did not pose for some photos with a few important people, did you really graduate! (On a light note) I finished my degree in Bachelor of Pharmacy and graduated in December 2017. Boy, wasn’t it a pomp and glorious moment ! JJ. We were then posted in May the next year and in less than two weeks from the posting date, I was to begin my first rotation; at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital(MTRH).
It was the 9th of May when I formally began my internship at MTRH and after a few sessions of orientation of the facility and brief sessions with the preceptors on what our expectations as learners were; I was good to go. Ready to start this long awaited internship where in no time it would be done and dusted! We had full time interactions with patients in the wards and I must admit the first few weeks were overwhelming.
The transition from school to internship was a big one! As opposed to cramming all the Clinical Pharmacy there was and regurgitating it an exam room in a bid to maintain my GPA, it was a tall order. Here I was, with real patients and not the dummy models I would visualize when I used to read way back in school. It also dawned on me that while yet it is really important to be theoretical, you have to be practical. I had to change my reading strategies and read with the end goal question in my mind being, “How can I apply this in a patient case scenario and manage my patient better?”
As a typical campus student, reading intensifies when the exams are nigh. While yet this may have worked a lot for me in many undersiege scenarios, I realized that last minute reading cannot save the life of a patient! I challenged myself to read more, with an understanding and with a desire to be a dependable Pharmacist in a ward round team. The patient slowly became my world and deep down I knew with this opportunity I had to give my patient the very best.
While being in school I was comfortable with being asked a question and not knowing the answer, during my internship I grew into really being uncomfortable in not doing something about the issues I was not really conversant with. So no, internship is not that period after school where you sit back on all the knowledge you have accrued so far and just enjoy the mighty ‘CBA’, Just as one is accorded the powers to read while graduating, it just is simply that. Also, ignorance had to cease being bliss! J
My hospital internship experience is among the best things that happened to me in 2018 and I would want carry forward the lessons even as I navigate through life as a young pharmacist. It is through MTRH, a clinical center of excellence that the role of a pharmacist in a hospital was elucidated. Patient centered care it is. Whatever it is that I did, I would always ask myself how eventually it would affect my patient. As a result of this, I read around the medical conditions I encountered, did research and eventually this helped me provide better care to the patients.
My greatest lesson during my internship were words from one of my supervisors; ‘That in life, one’s primary focus should be on being good and not looking good.” Being good in something automatically spurs you to going the extra mile and gives you the zeal and desire to make a difference no matter how small it is in whatever has been entrusted to you. It makes you want to invest in excellence with the end goal being giving the task 100%.
I write to you young pharmacist, that is yet or is on the verge on beginning internship. It is a world of endless possibilities out here. To make a difference, you do not need to be in a specific facility or the lack of thereof, does not mean you cannot be good at what you do. It takes commitment, sacrifice, excellence and one knowing that you no longer are a cheeky student but a professional that people and colleagues can look up to. Character and work ethics are some of the most fundamental values you can invest in as they can unlock unbelievable opportunities for you! “What you are waiting for is not as important as what happens to you while we are waiting. Trust the process” Be fully present in the moment and give it your all.
At such a time as this, the profession needs people committed to the task of making an impact wherever they are, people that can create solutions for existing problems, a dependable practitioner and people bold enough to make a difference.
That said, I really cannot pen off without emphasizing the importance of financial integrity during this internship period. Save as much you can and also invest wisely. You may not have any business idea as yet but the money you save will always have your back when the idea a.k.a light bulb moment is nigh. Treat yourself as well and also spend time doing the things that matter to you as well. You deserve that much.
Take a day at a time. Going through the three different parts of the internship programme will open your mind to reality and also enable you know which areas you are passionate about so that you can further your education on the same.
The going may be tough but it is really important to remember some fundamental truths. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. God gave you this life because He already equipped you to thrive in it. Since He began this work in you, He is with you even while you are at it.
My parting shot would be Bianca Sparacino’s quote “Live a life that is driven not by fear, but by love.” Love and value what you do.
Live, love, laugh and leave a legacy!
Viva la Pharmacie!
Dr. Maryanne Favour Ong’udi
Co- founder – Medware Supplies Limited.