Ms Lena Lee finds joy and fulfilment in sharing her knowledge and experiences with her students at Republic Polytechnic

MS LENA Lee walks the talk when it comes to the subject of education.

The 36-year-old programme head for the part-time Diploma in Applied Science (Pharmaceutical Sciences) programme at Republic Polytechnic (RP) makes sure that she is up to speed with the latest developments in the field.

All pharmacists attend Continuing Professional Education courses, as well as other conferences and seminars throughout pharmacist registration period to keep up with the industry.

“I read up a fair bit on the legislation and guidelines available on Health Sciences Authority’s website, and also tap on my colleagues’ experience,” she says.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Pharmacy) from the National University of Singapore in 2005, Ms Lee practised as a retail pharmacist before joining RP in 2008.

She says: “I joined the education sector because I felt that I had more to contribute to the pharmaceutical industry — by sharing my knowledge and experiences with the younger generation.

“As I was a practising pharmacist before I joined RP, I can appreciate the importance of pharmaceutical legislation in the industry. Yet it can be a rather dry module, so it is a personal challenge to make learning legislation fun for the students.”

She also finds it a tall order to understand the legal jargon, especially for people who are not formally trained as lawyers.

Yet Ms Lee remains passionate about the subject, as the drugs that a pharmacist works with depends on what is allowed — or not — in Singapore.

“It forms the basis of many things that pharmacists do, even in other areas within the industry, such as research or logistics,” she says.

Learning effectively

The majority of students who enrolled in the diploma programme launched last October are workers aged between 20 and 51 years. Half of the cohort is enrolled in the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme.

The latter is a work-study programme that requires part-time students to be employed by one of RP’s partner companies. The rest of the students in the cohort have their own jobs.

RP offers a range of part-time and specialist diplomas for adult learners’ career development and lifelong learning. These include subjects such as applied science, hospitality, information technology, engineering, business practice and sports wellness.

The programmes are well-structured and take the busy schedules of working adults into consideration.

To give pharmacy students a more authentic learning experience, RP’s learning facilities include a purpose-built teaching dispensary and teaching retail pharmacy, which were built in collaboration with industry partners.

Ms Lee says: “The good thing about teaching adult learners is hearing and learning from their personal experiences. The learning environment becomes very dynamic and an exchange of ideas rather than a one-way lecture in class.”

She derives great satisfaction from knowing that her students have gained additional knowledge and enjoyed the learning process with her.

“I hope they make good use of what they have gained from the course, not only by contributing in the pharmaceutical industry, but also in their daily lives,” adds Ms Lee.

Apart from being well informed about medical drugs and their regulations, Ms Lee makes sure she takes care of her health.

She practises yoga, attends body-conditioning classes at the gym, and occasionally keeps her mind sharp with computer games.

She adds: “At the end of the day, it is not just about how my career choices benefit me as an individual.

“I believe we are all here for a purpose — and for my family and me, it is more important to know that the choices I have made so far have benefited society, no matter how small the contribution is.”

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