28 Nov 2016 Intern of the Year Recipient Gains a Wealth of Experience during Internship in Australia
Elisha Teh Hwee Yee has always looked for challenges in life that will excel her professionally and at the same time provide her enrichment in life, gaining her a wealth of experience. One of the challenges was pursuing work experience out of her comfort zone as a pharmacist in Australia. Elisha’s determination in achieving this goal has led her to pursue her internship in Australia.
To realise this pursuit of internship in Australia, Elisha took 2 Australian Pharmacy Council papers in Singapore, which fulfilled the criteria required to obtain her Australian Permanent Residency (PR). With a PR status, Elisha left Malaysia in pursuit of the Pharmacy internship placements. Elisha conducted walk-ins to various pharmacies in Melbourne and other suburbs in Victoria to seek employment as an intern. With her determination and drive she finally gained employment as an intern with Guardian Pharmacy (under the HSN chain) in Wodonga, Victoria.
“It was an eye-opening experience – I started as a foreign intern in a regional pharmacy with no idea how I would be accepted by staff or the community, or how the local people would react to me being an ethnic person. Initially, the staff and the community were apprehensive of my skills and fluency in English but over time and from their observation of my interaction with staff and people from all walks of life, I gained their respect and proved to them I am a professional. I am thankful for the opportunity to share my knowledge and became someone customers can rely on and trust for assistance and care. I assimilated well with everyone and managed to build a good customer base with Dose Administration Service. ”
“My professionalism at work and acceptance from people of all walks of live had also led to an invitation by a local school to introduce Malaysia. Looking back now, the experience I had as an intern in Australia was surreal. I am so glad I pursued this experience as I had gained so much more in confidence and life experience than I ever expected. I believe this exposure has equipped me with the ability to adapt to changing environments, learnt how to communicate and approach different situations effectively and promote good pharmacy practice.”
Elisha’s preceptor, the Pharmacist Manager, overwhelmed by Elisha’s professionalism and hard work initiated a nomination for Intern of the Year Award without Elisha’s knowledge as an acknowledgement and recognition for Elisha’s dedication and passion in her work at the pharmacy. She was taken by surprise and extremely excited when the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia informed her that she has won the award. Elisha successfully attained her Pharmacist Registration in Australia in 2010.
Elisha believes that her MPharm degree from University of Strathclyde has without doubt assisted greatly in providing a solid foundation of skills and knowledge to apply throughout her career, especially in satisfying her drive for continual learning and improvement. She started her pharmacy studies at IMU, Malaysia in 1999 and transferred to University of Strathclyde for completion of her degree.
A memorable moment at IMU for Elisha was “when I played Queen Elizabeth in a drama with the theme 4PMs of Malaysia. I wore my classmate, Yap Poh Leng’s mother’s vintage green dress with a blond wig and I looked absolutely hilarious but it was a really fun and enjoyable experience!”
Prior to the internship in Australia, Elisha commenced employment with AEON Wellness as a Shop Manager cum Pharmacist in 2008 and was offered the opportunity to transfer to HQ Office as HQ Pharmacist upon completion of a year’s service. Not wanting to lose a valuable employee, and with the prospects of gaining new innovation from Elisha’s experience, AEON granted Elisha unpaid leave to pursue and complete her internship in Australia. Upon her return from Australia after 2 years, she returned to her employment with AEON and within 1 year was promoted to Consultation/Pharmacist Manager.
“Basically, at AEON Wellness, I am in-charge of Continuous Professional Development for Pharmacist, Nutritionist and Beauty Advisors, implementation of Health and Beauty Services, Special Projects involving integration of different businesses together to create new concepts and enhance customer convenience, ethical merchandising, Operational Control and Audit. My daily challenges include professional staff management as well as seeking understanding from the operational team on the role of a pharmacist and nutritionist in a retail setting which flows into their contribution to the community,” said Elisha.
In the future, Elisha hopes to bring AEON Wellness to another level through the provision of health services, best product range and build strategic alliance with other business partners/departments while putting customers’ convenience and healthcare as priority at the centre of everything they do.
Elisha would also like to express her highest appreciation to her preceptor, David Whittle and IMU classmates, Wu Phui Yen and Eric Yang, aunt, Ms How Peck Lian, husband, Mr Liew Wey Sheng and her family for their support and help during her internship in Australia.