Thank you in advance for your consideration of my application to enroll in pharmacy school in Canada. Currently I am in the third year of university as an honours biochemistry major. I am twenty years old and I speak three languages -- English is my first language, and I am also fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. I have had a vision for myself for several years as a pharmacist in Canada, and this presentation reflects my sincere desire to attend pharmacy school, graduate, and begin work as a highly trained, fully competent and compassionate pharmacist.
My research into the available literature points out that in Canada, besides collaborating with patients and families -- and other healthcare providers -- the role of the pharmacist is broadening to include several other services. Those include immunization programs, wellness programs, reviews of medication procedures and chronic disease management. It is exciting to know that, according to the Canadian Pharmacists Association, the role of the pharmacist in Canada is expanding to include a stronger focus on the outcomes of patients. Pharmacists are now being trained and hired to collaborate with family health teams and are taking on more responsibility vis-a-vis clinical practice in primary care and in hospital settings.
All this means that there will need to be additional training in the eight universities in Canada that train pharmacists. The "Blueprint for Pharmacy" is putting out a vision that faculties will train future pharmacists -- such as I will be -- to more strategically align with the full slate of healthcare needs in Canada. That "Blueprint" relates to advanced educational opportunities for those enrolled in pharmacy schools, and while I believe I have excellent communication skills, there will be more emphasis on communication -- as well as clinical decision-making, confidence-building and additional relevant courses.
The Blueprint has resulted in an expanded scope of practice, the Canadian Pharmacists Association reports in its Summary of Pharmacists' Expanded Scope of Practice Activities Across Canada, in the following aspects of the Canadian pharmacy domain: a) the ability to proscribe prescription refills on an emergency basis; b) the authorization to extend prescriptions when the patient and pharmacist have determined such action is pertinent to the patient's health; c) the authority to, in certain situations, change the dosage of a particular medication; d) the ability of the pharmacist to make therapeutic substitutions when appropriate; e) given the expanded scope of authority, the pharmacist may prescribe (without a physician's authorization) for a patient's minor ailments; f) the pharmacist may initiate a prescription drug therapy; g) the pharmacist has the authority to order lab tests and to interpret those tests; and h) the authority to administer a drug through injection.
All of these expanded roles for pharmacists in Canada require faculty and administration at universities to adjust their required courses so that new pharmacists are fully trained with and familiar with the expanded authority granted to the pharmacist practicing in Canada.
I am eager to become enrolled in a university pharmacy school so that I may receive the training and develop the skills necessary to treat patient that come under my jurisdiction. The Pharmacists' Medication Management Services (PMMS) update (October, 2013) reports that a pharmacist may participate in the Methadone Maintenance Program by interacting directly with the patient. Giving the pharmacist more authority in these areas of healthcare takes the burden off the physician, and gives the patient, in many instances, a more timely response to his or her need.
My own personal interaction with Canadian pharmacists gives me a first-hand understanding of the duties and responsibilities of a Canadian pharmacist.
TWO: Besides pharmacy what other career path you have considered; explain why that would interest you (200 words).
Throughout my high school years, and even into my university experiences, I have given thought to becoming a nurse practitioner or even a physician. In my visionary projections of how my life would play out -- and what part I could play in creating a healthier community -- I have thought about providing health services to others. As a biochemistry major, I have also thought about a career in biochemistry research, which relates to health science.
Also, in our neighborhood where I went to high school, I had an opportunity to know older people, and most of them were on medications. I could see the critical importance that the right prescriptions had on their health conditions.
My grandparents had their healthcare issues as well, and I spent time with them, discussing the problems people face when they get on in years. My grandma had what appeared to be the beginnings of dementia, and her physician was very helpful to her and to my family. He prescribed not just medication but exercise, healthy eating, and other routines that did not involve drugs, albeit there were medications that my grandmother took, like blood-thinning medication (Coumadin), among other needed prescriptions.
THREE: How would you handle personal disappointment? What if you entered a professional program and despite best efforts, poor performance meant you had to withdraw? (170 words)
My first response to that question is that I cannot remember any time in a learning situation in which I performed poorly. I consider myself a hard-working, intensely competitive student who is far more interested in scholarship -- and preparing for a career -- than other social activities that are part of the university experience. I am very serious about a career in pharmacy and there is nothing -- except perhaps for an unfortunate accident or serious illness -- that will prevent me from pouring my heart and soul and time into achieving what I have set out to achieve.
That said, I should mention that like anyone, I have had disappointments in life, but I always follow my parents' advice: never quit, never give up, keep fighting for what you believe in. I believe this question pertains to how well a student deals with stress in a course that is enormously challenging. I try with all my reserve to handle stressful situations with maturity and focus, and that has worked well for me.
FOUR: What would you do it if turned out that Heather had plagiarized her portion of the assignment? (680 words)
First of all, I would be greatly offended to realize that my academic partner in this project had plagiarized -- copied previously published materials without permission or acknowledgement -- her portion of our collaborative assignment. I trusted her. Also, I would be surprised at her lack of ethical behavior, and would be upset that I could potentially have been -- and still could be -- implicated in a very serious violation of academic protocols. The implications are horrifying, because I could be censored and receive a failing grade for the class that I worked so hard to succeed in. It could poison my academic reputation and reduce my previously unblemished record to one of a cheater rather than a scholar.
The nervousness I would experience would lead me to try several times to reach out to Heather and come to an understanding -- not about why she did it, because it's been done already and there is no going back -- about how the two of us should proceed. If she is still in denial and threatening to blame my part in the collaborative project for the plagiarism, I would make an appointment with my academic counselor and ask if he could hear me give details of an issue in a confidential session. Not knowing the university's policies regarding private, confidential conferences with counselors, I would inquire only as to that issue prior to explaining the plagiarism matter.
If the counselor acknowledged that our conversation would be private (unless I was alluding to a criminal act, which would require the counselor to report it to authorities), I would share exactly what happened in this joint project. My explanation would include the fact that I could prove all my scholarship on the collaborative project was honestly original, and that I used quotes properly and identified sources responsibly when paraphrasing others' research materials.
Moreover, I would explain that my goal wasn't to cause academic problems for Heather -- albeit I was frankly outraged at her lack of ethical behavior -- but rather to clear my name if for any reason the improper copying of others' material came to light and I would then be implicated. The counselor might wonder how the plagiarism got through the software that checks for plagiarism -- turnitin.com -- and might say that I was fortunate that the professor did not send the finished writing project through turnitin.com.
He might also say that I should just leave things as they are, and accept the grade for the paper and the final grade. But I doubt that he would brush it off that way. The chances are much better that he would recommend I go to the professor in that class and explain that my partner plagiarized. He might well say…