Posted in Clerkship, Pharmacy by Alvin on March 12, 2010


The occupant of this ward is one of a kind. They wander around the ward, most of them dine at the common area, like the school canteen and they had to queue up in front of the medication cart for their daily dose of drugs.

And it was one of a kind for us as well. We’ve heard screams and wails, seen patient gone under anesthesia and convulsed. Not to mention the disheartening stories and drama behind every patient before they ended up chemically imbalance, locked up in this ward.

The environment in the ward was a hodgepodge of people with different mood and emotions. We managed to talk to a few after clerking our case, and apart from their set of life epic before ending up here, some were unexpectedly cheerful, optimistic and patriotic. If there’s a thing to learn from them, it would definitely be that smile, without dwelling into the facts and whatnots about them being psychiatric patients.

The ward was guarded both by guards and grill bars. Right next to the interview corner, was a narrow balcony barred by steel poles. The cement walls at the balcony was the assembly points of pigeons who flocked by probably because of the free bread crumbs which some of the patient conveniently threw out of the bars to feed them. As a result, the  cement wall was full of bird droppings.

Shitty as it is, but definitely not as wretched as the plight of every patient in the ward.



Posted in Clerkship, Pharmacy by Alvin on March 6, 2010

Being in the surgical wards wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be. Except for the fact that some of the nurses finds us an eyesore to their workflow but nonetheless, clerkship is way more interesting than mundane slide reading lectures.

After a quick briefing on day 1, we randomly assigned patients to ourselves by the ward occupancy white board. Then the whole routine of reading, interpreting, head-scratching, scribbles  mimicking, notes flipping and forms filling starts. We had chance to follow rounds but it was none other than perking up our ears only to catch minute details of each patient’s condition.

Being in the ward gave an insight on how clinical based job would be in the future. Those in the lower ranks of the authority hierarchy are probably the most pitiful ones. They probably start some of their days at work with multiple tongue lashing and probably getting  dominoes of it.


Intriguing, yes but the whole ritual of waking up at 6 in the morning and stretched out all the way to midnight, reading up materials for case presentation is physically demanding. 4 more rotations to go, psychiatry coming up next!

If only this does not end with a killer paper for the finals.

9 to 10

Posted in Clerkship, Diary, Photography by Alvin on October 4, 2009


As the calendar flips from September to October, that transition witnessed one of the toughest week I’ve had over my undergraduate years. Its not the amount of workload, the hours spent studying and working, but its the mental torment when everything comes to an end, most of the results are quite disappointing.


Teletubbified on the last day of clerkship. Come to think about it, 5 weeks at the hospital just ended as if it has just started. Honestly, I enjoyed most of it, despite me complaining that some of the departments are really dry and boring. To sum things up, its a hodgepodge of management, administrative, communication and clinical. Its probably the mixture that makes the whole process interesting.

I’ll be flying off to Chiang Mai on the 17th of November, a day after the final exam ends. Will be back when I ran out of funds or when I feel like to.

Over and out. 🙂


Posted in Clerkship, Diary by Alvin on September 17, 2009


So, a week’s break after tomorrow and I’ll be heading back home.

The past 2 days was  linguistically challenging. It has been a while since I last converse in Bahasa Melayu and what’s more to translate and layman-ised medical jargons into BM. Consequently, the discussion and mock counseling session was funny because everyone was having a hard time to even construct a proper sentence.  Done with 4 rotations, with another 1 to go before a wrap.

Exercised too. Felt good after sweating out in the court for 3 hours. Deflated and rusty. Sigh..

Coffee, leisure reading and catching up with old highschool mates this coming holiday, apart from the mundane to-do-list.

Happy holiday 🙂


Posted in Clerkship, Diary by Alvin on September 11, 2009


‘Pt A, 50yo, 65kg on Vancomycin 750mg TDS

Trough: < 16umol/L, Peak: 25 umol/L. Recommendation?’ answer in 5 minutes

Starts to scribble formula

*tap tap tap* brutally pressing the calculator buttons

Units, intermediate answers and uncountable dashes and strikes on dubious answers.

‘Times up’ .

That is one of the many mock TDM drills over the past 3 days, case study presentation and clinical pharmacokinetic assessment a day after TDM clerkship rotation.

So, a week full of kinetics, numbers, formulas and mathematics.

Time to hibernate.


Posted in Clerkship, Diary by Alvin on September 4, 2009

Having to rotate in different departments, grasping the idea on each portion of the whole administrative chain, makes hospital pharmacy management slightly better than what I’ve expected.

Post clerkship discussions basically revolves around a recollection on management as whole; financial planning, budget, human resource, ward supply, purchase and storage. So, 3 days of what, when, who, where, why and how both in the hospital with the preceptors and pbl room with the lecturer.

Out of all the questions posted, the most mind intriguing which really got me pondering was,


Why Pharmacy?


Posted in Clerkship by Alvin on August 29, 2009


It has been a while since I last struggled to wake up in the wee hours of the morning.

Donned in lab coat and surgical mask, we made our way into the hospital on Tuesday, the first day of hospital clerkship. 5 rotations in total and I had a taste of drug information centre for the first week. A short lecture, mock phone call enquiries, drug bulletin and QnA discussion session summed up the rotation at the information centre. Administrative and secretarial work is scarcely my dish and so, the first rotation to me, was actually dreary and monotonous. 

Therapeutic drug monitoring and total parenteral nutrition clerkships are perchance, the physically and mentally challenging ones. Those who went through it the first week would swear at the amount of workload they had to endure.

That sparked a class discussion, or a parley I would say. The gist, majority opted for diminution. Truthfully, it was the session progression  that dismayed me, not the result.

Anyway, a good time to rest, read and revise, thanks to the long weekend.