Friday, November 30, 2007

Wow! That was fast!

Before I realized it, the first quarter of pharmacy school at UCSF is over! Time definitely flew by although the weekend before and the week during the exam was excruciatingly painful and long. In those ten days of intensive studying and test-taking, I wonder how much I have really learned, what I would remember, and whether they will be useful for my career as a pharmacist. I am beginning find test-taking and grades as time-wasters than actual learning. It would be great if we can all learn without the pressure of exams.

I tried hard to study in order to learn as opposed to studying for the exams, but I found myself doing the latter half of the time because I do not want to retake the classes. Although there are overlaps between the two (learning can occur while studying for exams), I really question the need for paper exams. My learning used to be driven by the pressure of exams. However, I now think the most important "exam" is being able to apply the concepts learned in class to real life clinical practice. I will probably forget 99.9% of what I have memorized for the final exams and midterms, but I will probably not forget the information that I have to know in order to provide excellent patient-care.

I am so glad the craziness and stress induced by exams are over...for a short while, at least.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Defeat: the Vicious Cycle

Alright, I am not proud to announce but this but I have to do it to get it off my chest and move on: I failed a basic pharmaceutical calculations quiz that required nothing beyond basic algebraic knowledge! There you have it! Isn't that stupid? I ended up having to retake it today and I don't think I made the 90% to pass it. Well, that means I will be taking it again next year to get rid of my incomplete grade in the class!
I never thought that I could be defeated in such an easy task!!! After all, math was my favorite subject in school and I aced all the math classes....oh, way back in yesteryears....What has gotten into my brain? Ever since I started pharmacy school, I feel like a bug has entered my brain, slowly eating away all my mathematical and scientific skills...I am slowly drowning into a sea of confusion with the information overload. I wish I will find a debugging method before the problem becomes more serious. What a disaster!
Could this problem have been resulted from a vicious cycle of defeat and negative thinking that further worsened it? I know I need to think positively to become more productive, but I find it hard to be the master of my mind lately. I even had bad dreams about the quiz last night! I seriously need to take control and gear my mind into the right direction!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Flu Shots at Walgreens

The long awaited day had finally arrived: I finally got to put my immunization skills to use this afternoon at the clinic in Potrero's Wallgreens store! As an added bonus, I found out yesterday that I could do a 2-hour shift because one of my classmate was not able to go. I was really excited and nervous at the same time in anticipation of the event.
The excitement came from the fact that I would be able to practice giving real flu shots and pneumococcal shots to REAL PATIENTS! Although we got to practice sticking needles into our classmate to inject saline, I messed up on the IM shot because I put the needle in with too much force...and hurt my partner as a result. I have been envisioning in my mind how I would put the needle in with enough speed but not use as much force as I did. I couldn't wait until I could dress up in my white coat and professional attire to put my immunization skills to use.
At the same time, I was also very anxious about the event. Even though I had researched and found out the best time to get on the shuttle so I could arrive on time, the possibilities of getting there late kept on popping up in my mind. It felt like the pharmacy interview day all over again! I was worried that I would ruin UCSF's reputation as well as mine if I did not get there as promised. Moreover, I feared that I would be so shaky and clumsy when giving patients the shots that I would end up hurting them.
The two hours surprisingly turned out to be very pleasant and satisfying! I gave a total of six flu shots and one pneumococcal shot. Our supervisor, Joel, was extremely friendly, understanding, and positive. He totally related with my nervousness and was very thorough in explaining all the details to me before my first shot. After the initial shots, he also gave me little hints on how to make the procedure go more smoothly. I felt confident after giving the third shot. Everything went very well without any major problems. Only one patient that I gave the shot to bled a little.
I feel that I have benefited a lot from this experience. First and foremost, it allowed me to get over my fear of handling needles and giving people shots. Secondly, it was very satisfying being able to see the trust that the public has in us, especially with the white coat on. I felt more respected by others with my white coat, not only during the administration of the shots, but also in the store and even on campus. The white coat magically conjured up a lot of reverence: I felt like I got first-class service when I bought an item at Walgreens, when I made appointment to see the doctor at the student's health office, and of course, when I gave the shot. I am thankful that those who have worn the white coat before me and who are currently wearing them right now have established a generally positive reputation with the public. As a future health care provider and a current student pharmacist who has the honor of wearing the white coat, I feel tremendous responsibility in maintaining that long-established trust and respect.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Boring Part of Pharm School

My brain is fried from studying physical chemistry, a totally disgusting and repulsive subject that I hope to get past with a passing grade. Oh, how sweeter life will be when p-chem is over! Unfortunately, I will have to suffer at least another 3 weeks this quarter and 5 more weeks next quarter of these irrelevant and uninteresting materials before they can be totally erased from my limited memory space. What a drag!!!