Pharmacy is a field of work for healthcare professionals who understand the science of human’s health and chemical reaction in the body. Armed with a professional degree in pharmacy, pharmacists have the responsibilities to ensure drug effectiveness and safety. They can be found in various institutions, such as in hospital, pharmaceutical industry, pharmacy, and other healthcare facilities.

While University of Indonesia (UI) has one of the best pharmacy faculties in Indonesia, according to BAN-PT (Badan Akreditasi Nasional Perguruan Tinggi/National Accreditation Agency for Higher Education), there are some lecturers who actually did not register and practise as a pharmacist.

MIMS sits down with Mr Rezi Riadhi Syahdi, S. Farm., M. Farm. – and finds out the reasons behind his decision to why he didn’t pursue community pharmacy; instead, immersed into an academic career path – ultimately, becoming a lecturer in Pharmacy Faculty of University of Indonesia in Pharmaceutical Chemistry subject, specialised in Computational Chemistry (Molecular Docking and Virtual Screening).

“Responsibilities given to a pharmacist, is not part of my work.” – Mr Rezi Riadhi
“Responsibilities given to a pharmacist, is not part of my work.” – Mr Rezi Riadhi

MIMS: Why did you decide not to pursue a degree in community pharmacy (apothecary) and practise as a pharmacist?

Riadhi: Before I get into the reason, let me first explain a little about the healthcare system in Indonesia, according to my understanding.

Education and healthcare system in Indonesia distinguish a bachelor of pharmacy and those who graduated from professional education, which is called apothecary (pharmacist). According to Indonesia’s law on health (Law No. 36/2009), medicine workers are divided into pharmacist and pharmaceutical technician. Pharmacists are the ones who have completed additional education including internship (in industry, health facility, and other related institutions) – and have promised to perform pharmaceutical duties, including ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical preparation. On the other hand, a bachelor of pharmacy is considered pharmaceutical technician, together with pharmacy vocational high school. Pharmaceutical technicians assist pharmacists in their daily duties — and, of course, they don’t have the same responsibilities as pharmacists.

After you obtain your bachelor degree, you can decide to continue your study to be a pharmacist or to pursue master’s degree (in pharmacy or other). If my initial plan was to contribute to healthcare and work for the community, then my qualification won’t be sufficient. In addition, if I wanted to work in industry, especially in quality control or quality assessment and production, then an apothecary degree is compulsory. However, those who want to work in business development or marketing division, of course, they don’t need an apothecary degree to do that. Instead, they can spend one year to learn and be creative in that field.

The same happened to me: I initially decided to study pharmacy because of my interest in science; but, more towards the applicative way. While studying, I also worked as a private tutor to high school students. Eventually, I realised that I enjoy giving lecture to others, and started to purse my ideals to be a researcher and lecturer in academia. Coincidently, I’ve also dreamt of becoming a scientist — which pretty much pointed me to this new path that deviates from the original plan involving an apothecary degree.

Responsibilities given to a pharmacist, is not part of my work. Therefore, I decided to pursue master’s degree rather than practising as a pharmacist.

Mr Riadhi cultivates a friendly relationship with his students.
Mr Riadhi cultivates a friendly relationship with his students.

MIMS: Are you satisfied with your current job?

Riadhi: Generally, I am quite satisfied with my current job, at least for myself. However, I felt that the education design and system should be examined following the current role model. I study so many theories about educational psychology and this helps a lot when I applied them during my lectures.

The most important thing I like about my job is, I can always learn something new, whether it’s on my own or from other’s researches, textbooks, new theories or even from my students. This is relatively important, because we need to update our knowledge and transfer our knowledge to the students.

Nonetheless, I think there are several things should be improved. First, the expansion of research opportunities. Although the government has poured in many grants, the complicated administrative matters are making researchers busy and lead to failure in doing substantial matters. If research bureaucracy can be concise, then researcher’s – including lecturer’s – life would be much easier.

Secondly, lecturers should perform more student-centred learning system in the class. As the search process performed by students will make them independent and we can improve student’s ability in sorting out information, also coerce them to brainstorm. As lecturers, we play a vital role in the clarification and directing process. However, we need to avoid giving direct answers or simply just giving study materials as we cannot make sure students will read and study them.

Mr Riadhi strongly believes in “Loving what you do, give it your all — and hard-work will never disappoint you.”
Mr Riadhi strongly believes in “Loving what you do, give it your all — and hard-work will never disappoint you.”

MIMS: Do you have any message you want to share with the new pharmacy graduates out there?

Riadhi: Pharmacy is unique. Many of my students feel tired, stressed, or even hopeless. However, I want you to remember that “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”— every faculty has their own plus and minus.

This subsequently means you need to be mentally and physically prepared to finish all the courses required.

Second, also an important one, find your passion as early as possible. I observe many of my students haven’t quite identified their passion in this faculty. Believe me, if you do something with passion, everything won’t feel heavy. This passion will lead you to your ultimate destination. Also, ask yourself “Do I need to pursue apothecary degree or not” during your study. Last, but not least: Love what you do, give it your all — and hard-work will never disappoint you. MIMS

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