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Old 03-15-2009, 10:56 PM   #21
stillconfused
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Hi. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm currently caught between pharmacy and life sciences. NUS does not give the programme outline for life sciences so i do not know the modules available. This makes me hard to decided whether or not to take life sciences. Does anyone know what are the modules available for life sciences? Another thing is that i heard pharmacy is quite rigorous so i'm afraid it will be hard to cope. Is pharmacy very heavy?
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:15 PM   #22
Shar-
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hi stillconfused,

i am in the same dilemma as u are!! pharmacy or life sci! i also heard that pharm is vigorous and monotonous. but ppl keep telling me that if my interest in there, i would be able to cope. and ppl are discouraging me from taking life sci because there is seriously not much prospect if u graduate with a bachelor. and even if u pursue higher education, ur career options are still limited to research, teaching etc. wad do u think? will that make u think twice abt the course?
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:27 AM   #23
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haha! this is like the thread for the very confused ppl. hi there! im confused too!

apart from dent which i really want, pharm and chem is my next option. im not sure if its nicer to look at it this way, but if u guys are actually thinking abt doing some stuff outside the pharm cirriculum like taking up modules outside pharm i think u would think twice abt taking pharm. cuz it is actually a very rigid course structure that doesnt allow u to do stuff like overseas exchanges and language profiency courses.

i might be wrong cuz pharm might have their own overseas exchange. but yeah, somehow i feel that i would be spending too much time studying if i do pharm. so i went ahead with chem instead. was intending to do life science ddp with it as well tho.

haha i was re-reading my own reply and i do sound confused
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:33 AM   #24
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Hi,

I am interested in drug design and I do have an interest in the health care as well as pharmaceutical sector. Is pharmacy the right course for me? I was initially interested in chemical engineering because I was actually thinking of going into the pharmaceutical sector and design drugs as a chemical engineer. Would it be a wiser choice for me to go into pharmacy instead?

If I were to go into pharmacy and decide that I wish to go into the R&D field, do I have to be prepared to study til I obtain a PhD in order to be qualified?

Also, I understand that there are changes undergoing with regards to the role of pharmacists in Singapore, do all these changes point to a brighter future for pharmacists in Singapore?

Furthermore, what are the career prospects of pharmacists in Singapore? in terms of career progression, pay rise, do they earn well compared to other occupations in the health care sector?

Would really appreciate advice in terms of the 2 courses (pharmacy and chemE) and greater insights in to studying pharmacy in Singapore!

Thanks!
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:38 PM   #25
stillconfused
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Hi, i would also like to ask does anyone know whether A*star provides scholarship is graduate studies in pharmacy. tks
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:35 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pillarofautumn View Post
Hey guys,

I've just graduated from a pharmacy course in Ngee Ann poly, so i've kinda have lots of "studying & internship experiences" for the past 3 years. So more or less i've seen how the pharmacy dept works currently at NUH during my 1 year internship. I was like you guys before thinking if i should go into R&D or to a more patient focused course.

So do ask me anything if you guys are in doubt. I'll try my best to share what i've got.
hey i was thinking, do u have any idea of what's really the difference between a pharm deg and a chem deg that specialises into medicinal chem? im not sure abt the difference other than the fact that u can actually dispense medicine.
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:41 PM   #27
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Well put it very simply, a pharmacy degree is a professional degree, whereas a chemistry degree is not. when you study for a professional degree, you are trained specifically for the job that you are expected to perform in the future. You rightly mentioned dispense drug, but keep in mind thats only a small fraction of what a pharmacist does (in a hospital setting). But of course some pharmacists go on to do more than just a professional pharmacist job, some of them go into translational research or even pure academics. At the end of the day, the choice is up to you.

But as with all professional degrees, your scope is very much narrowed to the particular subject area that you study, in the case of pharmacists, its drugs. So unless you are absolutely sure thats the area you are interested in, it might be a better idea to do a broad based degree, such as chemistry (which is a science) or chemical engineering (applied sciences).
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Old 03-18-2009, 05:00 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a_p View Post
Well put it very simply, a pharmacy degree is a professional degree, whereas a chemistry degree is not. when you study for a professional degree, you are trained specifically for the job that you are expected to perform in the future. You rightly mentioned dispense drug, but keep in mind thats only a small fraction of what a pharmacist does (in a hospital setting). But of course some pharmacists go on to do more than just a professional pharmacist job, some of them go into translational research or even pure academics. At the end of the day, the choice is up to you.

But as with all professional degrees, your scope is very much narrowed to the particular subject area that you study, in the case of pharmacists, its drugs. So unless you are absolutely sure thats the area you are interested in, it might be a better idea to do a broad based degree, such as chemistry (which is a science) or chemical engineering (applied sciences).
Just to add on. Chemical Engineering is administered by the Engineering faculty in NUS, and is pretty much specialised already, at a degree level. A Chem engineer does extremely different things from a chemist. As in the Faculty of Science, there's also Applied Chemistry in NUS that you can do, and you can choose to focus branch into medicinal chemistry. My professor says they do alot of drug design and discovery, and a very prominent recent example is the research on H5N1 virus and its vaccine. It was a cross between computational chemistry and applied chem. There was also cross departmental research for that, between life sciences, pharmacy and chemistry.

Chem is yes, in a way a general degree, which equips you with fundamental knowledge of that particular science. It allows you to be more versatile, but less specialised. So you can go on to do a wide spectrum of things. I'm a chemistry major now, and I feel that things we learn, are largely the fundamental understandings behind many discoveries. As a chemist, you do very foundational stuff, and research at molecular level. Stuff at other levels like trials are conducted by the biologists or pharmacists. Healthcare and pharmaceuticals is a very large industry that involves people across several fields. Science and applied sciences are indispensable parts of the pharmaceutical industry. It just depends on which portion you want to be involved in.
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:07 AM   #29
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yeah it kinda make sense of what's on my mind haha. but yeah, it will be kinda weird if in future u move out of the pharmacy professional and ppl looking at ur cert giving the huh? look. at least not so bad with a chem deg cuz i dun really see myself being in the profession like forever. at least switch jobs for more exposure and stuff.
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:10 AM   #30
icantpassswingtrainer
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Pharmacist’s bitter pill
TODAYonline: Pharmacist’s bitter pill

Treated poorly by public, management
Letter from Kevin McDonnell

I am writing in response to the article “MOH to recruit more pharmacists from overseas” (Sept 17). My wife is a pharmacist trained and qualified in the United Kingdom who worked in one of Singapore’s largest hospitals for two years and rotated through the different pharmacies and disciplines.

She showed no surprise at all that less than half of the pharmacists on the register are actually involved in direct patient care as the turnover of pharmacists at the hospital was massive. Of the five foreign pharmacists recruited at the same time as my wife, only my spouse was left after 18 months.

The reasons? Pharmacists are routinely treated poorly by the public and senior management. They are considered an annoyance to doctors who seem oblivious to the fact that they have been trained for five years to do the job they are doing, and are pharmacists because they are experts in the field of drugs and understand the effects of the drugs at least as well as the doctors.

They are forced to suffer the abuse of the public who still think that “good service” means that they have the right to shout at staff no matter how wrong they are. To make this worse, the management offer no support no matter how bad the situation. In addition, the pay for a pharmacist here is far, far less than that in other developed countries.

To make things worse, the poor working conditions led to a situation where there was never enough pharmacists to operate the department effectively. That meant that my wife and her colleagues were working up to 13 days in a row, and up to eight hours without a break.

When the fact that this was potentially dangerous was raised, the management just fobbed off the problem and blamed it on the lack of pharmacists in the department, ignoring that this was one of the reasons why so many had left.

My wife became stressed and worn out, and she lost any desire to carry on with a pharmacy career that she had spent five years working towards.

Pharmacists are not willing to be subjected to the conditions that they face in Singapore for long. The pharmacy department at the hospital received one of the lowest staff satisfaction scores in a survey conducted by the cluster to which the hospital belonged. Yet despite giving their reasons when asked, little was done to change anything.

My wife’s employers and Ministry of Health officials emphasise pharmacist recruitment, but have neglected the greater problem of retention. The attitude in the pharmacy field here is that “everyone is replaceable”, stated frequently to staff, whose natural response is to pursue careers away from direct patient care or to leave Singapore.

So, by all means, bring in the foreign pharmacists. They’ll vote with their feet. And you’ll be reading the same article in 18 months’ time, if the root problems are not rectified.

0000000000000000

I know a pharmacist who has worked in a retail pharmacy and in one of the restructured hospitals. During her stint with the retail pharmacy, she worked from 10am to 10pm, with only half an hour’s break for lunch and dinner. This included Saturdays and Sundays, when business is most brisk. Most times, she was the only pharmacist during that 12-hour stretch.

When she was working at a hospital, it was common to see her and her colleagues having lunch at 3pm, after they attended to the last patient from the morning crowd. At times, she was called back to the hospital even though she was on leave. She worked till 3pm on Saturdays, even though the official knock-off time was 12.30pm. Sundays could become working days when duty called — working one Sunday per month is common.

Such is the life of a pharmacist, be it in hospitals, retail pharmacies or polyclinics. Increasing demands on pharmacists without adequate compensation leads to many leaving the profession. Perhaps it is time to review pharmacists’ salaries. They are, after all, highly-trained medical professionals who run specialised clinics and make rounds with the doctors to ensure patients fully benefit from treatment.

Until we address the concerns of pharmacists and plug the outflow, increasing the number of pharmacists will not ease the crunch. Sourcing from foreign supply is but a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

0000000000

i hope this article finally goes thru. plagarized from nus pharm website, aug 2007. is life as a pharmacist really that bad? i feel that i like pharmacy (the subject) but not pharmacists (the career).

and pharmacists find ways to create drugs (powder, capsule, pill) and deliver drugs ( intravenous, oral) but they dont actually come out with new drugs right because that's still the domain of research doctors and chemists? so pharmacists only experiment with existing drugs and dont do much R&D?

Last edited by icantpassswingtrainer; 03-19-2009 at 08:14 AM.
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