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This issue of CDTL Brief is the second of a two-part Brief that features the teaching practices of the 2005/2006 Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA) winners.
September 2007, Vol. 10 No. 4 Print Ready ArticlePrint-Ready
My Contributions to the International Mission for Pharmacy Education
Dr Chui Wai Keung
Deputy Head
Department of Pharmacy

Within the healthcare team, the pharmacist is a professional charged with the responsibility of ensuring the safe and appropriate use of medicines so as to achieve the desired health outcomes for patients. In the pharmaceutical industry, pharmacists may be involved in clinical research, product development, manufacturing, regulation, sale and marketing of pharmaceuticals. Therefore, the education of pharmacists will have to provide its graduates with a unique body of knowledge and a set of skills that will enable them to handle a wide range of challenges with competence.

The Fédération Internationale Pharmaceutique (FIP) is an organisation that represents and serves the professional interests of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists worldwide. In the "FIP Statement of Policy on Good Pharmacy Education Practice", the organisation has recommended that a basic pharmacy education should "provide pharmacy students and graduates with a sound and balanced grounding in the natural, pharmaceutical and healthcare sciences that provide the essential foundation for pharmacy practice in a multiprofessional healthcare delivery environment" (pp. 2-3). In a report of a World Health Organization (WHO) consultative group on the role of the pharmacist, the group has identified qualities of "seven star pharmacist" (p. 3) as the minimum essential expectations of pharmacists by healthcare systems worldwide. The "seven star pharmacist" is expected to be a caregiver, communicator, decision maker, leader, lifelong learner, manager and teacher. These characteristics are recognised as the key outcomes of the basic professional education and training of pharmacists.

These two organisations have set the essential outcomes for the education and training of future pharmacists. Pharmacy education offered by the Department of Pharmacy at NUS is indeed attuned to the recommendations of FIP and WHO. In addition, the department's mission is to provide a broad-based pharmacy education to enable its graduates to pursue professional careers in a spectrum of work environments, including hospitals, community pharmacies, polyclinics, the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies and so on.

Therefore the professional curriculum at NUS Pharmacy has been carefully designed in support of the three pillars of pharmacy, namely the drug, the product and the patient. With expertise and a research interest in medicinal chemistry, my contributions to the education of future pharmacists lie in laying the foundation for the drug pillar in students' learning process. In addition, I feel that it is also my duty and responsibility to ensure that the international and national educational outcomes for pharmacy education are achieved. In line with WHO's and FIP's recommendations for pharmacy education, I have decided to incorporate three main approaches to enhance student's learning process to achieve three distinct learning outcomes.

An integrated learning experience

For the modules I teach, I provide a unique learning platform for my students to enable them to master a multidisciplinary curriculum that includes basic sciences, pharmaceutical sciences and health sciences. I firmly believe that the pharmacists are the drug experts who are best equipped with essential knowledge in pharmaceutical chemistry within the healthcare team. This special knowledge will enable them to provide information on the properties of drugs. Therefore, in my teaching, I aim to integrate pharmaceutical chemistry into various aspects of pharmacy practice and highlight to students the chemical basis of the action and properties of drugs.

Development of useful life skills

Besides core scientific knowledge, it is important for students to develop skills in communication, critical thinking and problem-solving that are essential for lifelong learning. I aim at empowering my students to acquire these generic skills that will enable them to construct knowledge on their own and develop the habit of lifelong learning. These skills will be useful for students when they enter the profession upon graduation. In line with this objective, I set projects that require students to explore, collate, analyse and present information related to a specific topic in groups. I provide regular guidance to facilitate the learning process and make sure that the content of students' work is relevant to the projects.

Inculcating a sense of responsibility, compassion and professionalism

In order to mould students into respectable healthcare professionals, students must possess the right attitudes and sound values. As a pharmacist, I aim to inculcate in students a sense of responsibility, compassion and professionalism through my interaction with them. In addition, I strive to lead by being a role model for my students. Winning the Professor Lucy Wan Outstanding Pharmacist Award in 1999 is testimony to my leadership in the profession in Singapore. Recently, a pharmacy journal published a feature article on me based on my "growing involvement in the global pharmacy community and for actively pursuing an improved vision of pharmacy" (Anderson & Lesko, 2006 p. 31). Therefore, a holistic development of students' intellectual and emotional being is the essence of my teaching goals.


Fédération Internationale Pharmaceutique (2000). FIP Statement of Policy on Good Pharmacy Education Practice. http://www. file.php?id=188&table_id= (Last accessed: 31 July 2007).

Anderson, L. & Lesko, M. (2006). FIP Profi les: An Interview with Dr Chui Wai Keung. International Pharmacy Journal, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 31-32.

World Health Organization (1997). The Role of the Pharmacist in the Health Care System. Preparing the Future Pharmacist: Curricular Development. Report of a third WHO Consultative Group on the Role of the Pharmacist.Vancouver, Canada, 27-29 August. (Last accessed: 31 July 2007).

 First Look articles

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Inside this issue
Teaching the Weightier Matters of the Law
Plus est en vous
Joining the Dots
Teaching: A Learning Process for Both the Teacher and Student Alike
My Contributions to the International Mission for Pharmacy Education
The First Few Moments