My Cup Of Tea
Contributed by : Swarnah Thuraiveloo
Perdana University Research Day 2019 – When I look back, I still smile at how that day panned out. Being my first ever experience presenting a research poster, I hardly envisioned receiving an award for it (Beginners luck I guess?). It may have been a relatively small achievement, but it meant an immense amount to me having established Professors in the area of research provide me with recognition for excellence in research for my efforts. I still remember asking Dr. Kanakeswary Krishnan (my research supervisor) for pointers on how to articulate our findings to the judges. She then explained to me the relevant points to highlight and simply said ‘don’t worry too much, you’ll do fine.’ I decided to take her word for it and went on to present my poster in the best way I could.
Presentation skills aside, I’m convinced that my poster design too played somewhat of a role in me receiving the award. The poster turned out really well with the subtle colour scheme and clear wordings with content that was concise and relevant to the gist of the research project itself. Research posters are meant to grasp the interest of people and further induce the want to know more, and I believe my research poster did just that. With that, here’s a bit on my entire summer research experience.
Last summer, I decided to venture into something pretty unfamiliar to me, research. I’ve only ever heard people say that research isn’t their cup of tea so I wanted to try it out for myself. Thus, I sent in my application and patiently waited for the project title list to be made available to me. Once the list was out, I was drawn to the topic of drug prescribing. It was quite intriguing to be a part of a study that’s aim was to determine prescribing readiness among PU-RCSI medical graduates as it meant that I could have first-hand insight on how well our curriculum is training us medical students to face the world of prescribing. Credits to my supervisors, Dr. Kanakeswary Krishnan & Dr. Amuthan Ganesh for the thought process that led to them coming up with such a unique research topic which is a pilot study here in Malaysia.
Our study population consisted of the PU-RSCI graduating batch of 2018, who were extremely helpful in taking time off to fill in the questionnaire given to them. So, here’s the crux of what our research paper managed to find. A majority of the PU-RCSI graduating batch of 2018 feel that they are confident in their prescribing skills and have sufficient knowledge in prescribing commonly used drugs. These findings, although due for follow-up studies, give us a good overall idea of how equipped PU-RCSI students perceive themselves to be in terms of their drug prescribing knowledge, not to mention their confidence levels in the skill of drug prescribing itself. A renowned author, William Hazlitt once said, ‘As is our confidence, so is our capacity’. Having said that, these results speak volumes.
During the course of the summer research programme, I managed to obtain a better understanding on manuscript writing and the use of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). In terms of manuscript writing, the fact that I’m not exactly the most creative writer somewhat worked in my advantage as I came to learn from my supervisors that you don’t need to have the widest vocabulary or a clockwork mind to write a research paper. Ultimately, you just need to know how to convey your findings in an understandable manner.
All in all, I can gladly say that joining the Summer Research Programme at Perdana University was one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far as it proved to be such a fruitful experience for me. I benefited tremendously from the involvement in hands-on research experience and developed valuable practical and analytical skills. Indeed, medical research contribute value to practice, community and the country! I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisors, Dr. Kanakeswary Krishnan and Dr. Amuthan Ganesh for guiding me throughout the process as well as the remaining co-authors of the study, Dr. Logan Ganesh and Prof. Simon J Maxwell. My gratitude also goes to the PU-RCSI Summer School Research Grant for funding the project. Here I end my little research experience with a quote by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi:
‘Research is to see what everybody else has seen and to think what nobody has thought.’
So what are you thinking?
See you next summer!!!