Monday, August 22, 2016

Applying my Education to Real Life

An update from Saliha Syeda:

It was my 2nd last day at rxBriefCase. I was almost done my placement and I had completed all my projects.  So, I starting working on other projects related to Obesity, and suddenly I get a phone call from a family member.  This phone call made me very nervous and worried - a family member was admitted to the hospital due to chest pain.   I will call this family member "AT."  I left early that day from rxBriefCase to go see AT.  When I reached the hospital, AT's vitals were stable, and they were waiting on blood work and final diagnosis from the doctor.

As we were waiting, I started to assess AT myself, and make my own conclusion about the incident.  When assessing AT, I realized AT's medications were not optimally managed. 

AT’s medical background: Diabetes, high blood pressure, and stent inserted due to previous heart blockage. 

I was thinking back to my rxBriefCase presentation which was on "Spotlight on SGLT2 inhibitors", and realized that AT should be on a SGLT2 inhibitor.  I wrote a letter to his family doctor mentioning the superior efficacy of this agent in those with diabetes and clinical cardiovascular disease.  

In terms of AT's chest pain, I mentioned:
    1. Doctor will probably ask why did you stopped Ramipril (a very important medication for patients with diabetes for heart and kidney protection) (AT mentioned cardiologist asked them to stop it because they were feeling dizzy)
    2. Rule in/out a mini stroke
    3. Determine if there was any heart abnormalities through ECG
When the doctor came back 5 hours later, they mentioned the same points.
    1. Doctor re-started ramipril at a lower dose for heart and kidney protection
    2. Ruled out mini stroke
    3. No heart abnormalities (both ECG and blood tests were normal)
In conclusion, due to normal blood test and ECG, they discharged AT with the diagnosis of chest pain.  In terms of the reason behind the incident, they were unable to find the cause.   The doctor did mention the importance of regularly taking medications, as AT’s medications are lifelong to help with his condition.  

The program that I took at rxBriefCase gave me knowledge about SGLT2 inhibitors as a class, as well as review the medical condition diabetes, and for that reason I was able to make an appropriate recommendation for AT.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Goodbyes are never easy

Look at the time! It's already the end of my rotation at rxBriefCase.  I thoroughly enjoyed this rotation, and feel like I made the most use of my time here.

I started by set out goals for myself to be able to finish my projects ahead of the deadlines.  This is because I knew I worked in a team-based office.  This meant I had to give a few days for other people to edit my work, give me feedback, and make my work presentable.  

Overall, this was quite a different rotation, and I will take the following skills along with me:

  • Critically appraise other people’s work (drafts of eCE and programs on rxBriefcase), and receive constructive criticism and feedback about my own work.  
  • Develop an eNewsletter (using lots of tables and algorithms, which pharmacists love) 
  •  Tailor my language to create patient-friendly material.  I realized this was quite an important skill to have and carry on for my future profession.  English may not be the patient's or the healthcare provider's 1st language.   As my mentor mentioned, “A Grade 6 tone helps simplify the information and improves communication both ways.”
  • Write in a concise, clear, accurate fashion.  I have told many people that writing is not my best skill, so when I first started this rotation, I was a little worried. However, I realized that with practice, your writing skills can develop.  Never let the fear of something steer you away from accomplishing something. 

Thank you to everyone here at rxBriefCase for an amazing journey. 

Don’t forget to check out my previous blogs:


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Back to School Already! Tips to Make the Most of Your Time

It is already mid-August, time is flying by, and many will be going back to school. 

Whenever I pass retail stores, all I see is back-to-school supplies.  This is bitter sweet for me, as I am currently in my last year of pharmacy school.  I won’t be returning to classes starting September, and it makes me a little sad (as I won’t be seeing my friends on a daily basis). I have been to University of Toronto for 8 years now.  I would like to share some words of wisdom to those returning to school (whether it’s high school, university, or higher-level education). 

1. Be organized and know your deadlines
Document your exam & assignment dates, volunteer & work schedule, extracurricular activities and meetings on either:
  • big calendar
  • agenda
  • personal organizer
  • laptop
  • phone app
 2. Be punctual and do not procrastinate
This is actually easier said than done.  However, it is a very important skill to have which can be passed onto your work life.  Make sure you get to your classes on time, and start your projects ahead of time.  It is so easy to get distracted.   If the computer is a huge distraction for you, print your study notes and go to the library instead of studying on the laptop.  Furthermore, study or do your projects in a group, so you can motivate each other to finish.  

3. Ask for help
This is especially important when you are unsure of a problem, or you don’t understand the material.  Ask your professor, other students and your friends.  You do not have knowledge about everything.  Be aware of your weaknesses, and implement ways to improve them.  Asking for help is not a weakness; it’s actually a strength since it allows you to learn something new each day.  

4. Communication is key
If you are running late on a project, unable to complete a task for a group project, or late for a meeting, let people know.  Send a quick email or text them right away, so people are aware of your actions.  People won’t be able to read your mind or your actions without you telling them.  

5. Enjoy your time!
School is only for a few more years, and then you will be working for the rest of your life.  Enjoy school life by participating in extra-curricular activities, making friends and taking the time to explore and try new things.  

I personally will miss the company of my friends and learning new information; however I will not miss the stress of my exams.  To actually survive school life, you need to find the perfect balance between school, work, family and friends. You also need to find ways to deal with stress.  Remember school will shape who you are in the future so take it as learning process and do your best!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Update on my time at rxBriefCase

Upon my arrival at rxBriefCase, two notes were waiting for me, one from Sara (my preceptor) and one from the past APPE student (Jennifer).  In the notes, they both welcomed me to rxBriefCase and the APPE manual 2016/2017 was waiting for me to read.  The manual was so helpful, and divided each task into weeks.  It mentioned all of the steps and requirements of my rotation.

These are my following tasks:

1. Critically appraise one of the rxBriefCase CCCEP-accrediated programs.

Chosen topic: Spotlight on SGLT2 inhibitors: thekidneys role in glucose control in type 2 diabetes 

I will highlight both strengths and weakness of the program during my presentation in 3 weeks. Overall, on review of the participation, the results were quite positive.  

2. Write the eNewsletter on a topic that is of interest to me and would benefit my peers.
Chosen topic: Vaginal health.  Currently, there are no modules/eNewsletters on this topic.  Many people shy away from discussing this topic, as it is quite an intimate subject.  However, it is important to bring awareness to women’s health and know available treatment options.  It is also important to be aware that we are not allowed to diagnose patients with vaginal infections.  If patients are experiencing it for the first time, they need to be referred to their doctor.   

3. Develop content for (MSFY), the patient education portal
Chosen topic: Colic and teething. In terms of pediatrics, we usually do not get to see the baby in person.  It becomes very important to know the signs and symptoms of each condition and to be able to make a good recommendation.  Also, it is important to know the age range of each condition and when to refer.

Stay tuned for the completed versions of
Vaginal health: “I have an itch!  Down there!” and
Colic and Teething: “Irritable, crying, fussy baby, and it’s not a fever!”