Student Exchange in Korea
12 August 2010
Final year Pharmacy student Min Jung Kang has just completed a two-week placement at Seoul National University Hospital pharmacy. The exchange was organised through the Pharmacy Student Exchange Program run by SUPA, the Sydney University Pharmacy Association.
"It was a very busy two weeks, but a lot of learning and lots of fun" says Min. "I was able to work in a different site everyday and have gained some great experience in oncology pharmacy, paediatrics, outpatient dispensing and total parental nutrition."
Min Jung was able to visit her parents who live in Seoul during the exchange, which took place during winter break, and met a lot of students from Seoul National University who were carrying out their own clinical placements at the hospital. She also met two international students who were on exchange from Pennsylvania and Washington Universities at the same time.
"There seem to be a lot more lectures rather than workshops and tutorials at Seoul compared to Sydney, and a lot more emphasis on theoretical knowledge than on pharmacy practice." says Min Jung.
This difference in the role of pharmacists between Korea and Sydney is due to legislation in Korea, which states that only pharmacists are allowed to dispense medication. In Australia, pharmacy technicians are often employed to assist with dispensing, allowing pharmacists to get involved in patient counselling.
"There were approximately 70 pharmacists employed at the hospital" says Min Jung "the head of student education was really helpful and advised me on where I was to be stationed every day.
"I would say that Australia is much more advanced when it comes to pharmacy practice but Korea definitely has the edge regarding technology and machinery available to the profession. Patient records are all stored electronically and they have an extremely fast and accurate record keeping system" she explains.
"I would definitely recommend the experience to other students. I think it's really valuable to get an overview of a different system and experience what being a pharmacist is like in different countries."
Min Jung has now started into the final semester of her degree and is looking forward to graduating and getting through her registration year. Once registered in Australia she is eligible to take a registration exam in Korea. "I'm not exactly sure what direction I'll take career wise, but there are numerous option open to pharmacists. I'll concentrate on graduating well first!"
Contact: Claire Riordan
Phone: 02 9351 2311