My desire to study pharmacy stems from an interest in diseases and the medications that have been developed to help relieve patient suffering. From volunteering at a care home I became aware of just how complex a pharmacist’s role can become, where patient needs are balanced against the pharmacist’s or even the patient family’s own wishes. I became inspired by my experiences to continue to take on immense responsibilities and be motivated by the challenges that arise from this profession.
During my placement at the In2Science program I worked alongside researchers who were investigating fetal and neonatal brain development in order to find cures for diseases such as Down Syndrome. It was particularly intriguing to be able to carry out immunohistochemistry, a common practice involved in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, whilst observing the interaction of multidisciplinary teams. The accuracy and precision that goes into every step of the procedure was a striking mirror of the approach in pharmaceutical research. From discussion with scientists I learnt the importance of sharing new research and discoveries in order to further the welfare of the population. My experience in the program emphasized that for all the deficiencies in medicine, the sheer amount of lives that have been improved because of the research makes it a very noble enterprise.
Reading accounts of real-life cases (A. Gawande, Complications) shows to me that pharmacy is a fallible science, and that patients and pharmacists can make small, yet critical decisions that could mean life or death. I witnessed this whilst volunteering at a care home for the elderly and dementia. Some residents initially refused to take their medicine, complaining of nausea and fatigue that it causes. Whilst refusing their treatment will undoubtly worsen their condition, the drugs may actually harbor unpleasant side effects unbeknown to anyone other than the patient. In Psychology the Treatment Aeitiology fallacy provides some reasoning as to why many mental disorders are not fully understood, suggesting that the treatment is not necessarily related to the cause of the condition. The issue of medicine in elderly care is explored in my essay on Paliative Sedation as part of the UCL Medicine Summer Challenge. Palliative drugs instill discomfort amongst family members with concerns that human consciousness is compromised, especially at end-of-life care. Studying pharmacy will enable me to delve deeper into these ethical dilemmas and ensure a better quality of palliative care during a patient’s final days.
Upon reading research articles I find it fascinating that scientific innovation is constantly evolving, such as a recent breakthrough in cancer treatments. Scientists have discovered that combining a cancer drug with an antirheumatic leads to improved effects against tumors, whilst at the same time minimising their side effects. Although this has only been tested on a small trial, it is truly exciting to think of the potential this could have worldwide. By pursuing a career in pharmacy, I look forward to seeing the positive effect of my role in this profession, allowing me to contribute to the provision of high quality care for all.