Ms Liew Yixin
Specialist Pharmacist (Infectious Diseases), Singapore General Hospital & Alumna of the Singapore General Hospital Postgraduate Allied Health Institute Infectious Diseases Pharmacotherapy Residency Programme (2009)
Liew Yixin was the first pharmacist who entered the pharmacy residency programme (infectious diseases) in Singapore. Currently, she practises at Singapore General Hospital and is an accredited specialist pharmacist (infectious diseases) under the Pharmacy Specialist Accreditation Board in Singapore. She is part of the Pharmacy Residency Examination Committee and is also a preceptor for both PGY1 and PGY2 residents under the Singapore National Residency Programme.
We speak to Yixin to learn more about her personal development journey from being a resident herself to becoming a specialist pharmacist and a residency preceptor.
- What made you pursue the residency programme in infectious diseases (ID)?
After two years of practising in general pharmacy at SGH, I found my passion in the area of Infectious Diseases (ID). ID is a very dynamic specialty, where treatment options are never a one-size-fits-all approach. Therapy recommendations are often individualised based on the characteristics of the patient, the infection and the antimicrobial used. It is an area of specialisation that requires excellent knowledge in both general medicine and surgical issues.
Upon discussing with my bosses, I decided to embark on the residency programme with the aim to further hone my skillsets in this area. Personally, I believe you are never too old to be learning new knowledge and I was determined to pursue my goal of being a specialist pharmacist for my personal and professional development.
In your opinion, how is the residency programme different from “on-the-job” training? How does it help in advancing your clinical practice?
Residency is more focused than “on-the-job training”. It allows residents to have one full year of dedicated time to hone their knowledge and expertise in the area of ID. The residency programme is well-structured and exposes residents to a variety of case mix. Residents are given opportunities to be involved in comprehensive discussions with their preceptors and also other healthcare professionals, such as ID doctors on patient management. Moreover, they will learn how to incorporate up-to-date evidence-based medicine in their daily practice, including interpreting clinical data and incorporating patient-specific factors into their clinical reasoning prior to recommending an appropriate anti-infective.
What made you want to be a residency preceptor?
I have always had a keen interest in teaching and I thought it would be good to share my knowledge with juniors who share the same passion as me in the area of ID. Back in my residency year, I had a very inspiring preceptor, Dr Hsu Li Yang. He was a very knowledgeable and nurturing preceptor and he was the perfect role model for me. I aspire to be like him and I hope I can inspire others to pursue their interest in the field of ID.
How do you think the residency programme has evolved over the years?
The residency programme has become more structured over the years (e.g. in terms of specific requirements and type of assignments). Back in my time, the residency programme was mainly based in SGH. However, residents now get to be rotated across various institutions in Singapore where they are exposed to greater diversity of patient profiles and disease severity. The critical care rotation, which I did not managed to experience back then, is now a mandatory module that is incorporated into the residency curriculum. This new rotation now allows residents to have a better understanding on the management of critically ill patients.
In your opinion, what are the attributes you look out for in a pharmacist before deciding that he/she is ready to embark on a residency programme?
He/she must be a good team player with excellent interpersonal skills and possess a positive outlook. Also, he/she must have good clinical reasoning skills and display enthusiasm towards both learning and patient care. Of course, being hardworking is a plus point. =)
What is your advice to fellow colleagues/juniors who are uncertain about entering into residency?
Completing a residency programme is a prerequisite to be accredited as a specialist pharmacist in Singapore. Hence, if being a specialist pharmacist in ID is the goal, embarking on residency programme is a necessary step.
However, it is important to note that the decision to embark on residency should be a well thought out decision and not done hastily. Interested pharmacists are encouraged to have an open discussion with their superiors before deciding on taking up the residency programme.
This interview is part of a series to introduce the SingHealth Allied Health Residency Programmes and is facilitated by the
SingHealth Allied Health Residency Steering Committee and
SingHealth Academy College of Allied Health (CAH).