Wednesday, November 30, 2016

End of semester one

The return from turkeys and endless amounts of food signifies the closing of the Fall semester. A little less than three weeks remain and now we are in the part of the semester where we focus more on molecular and cellular pharmacology. This course shows the students the experimental techniques and procedures that are likely to be encountered in the world of pharmacology. Most of the students were exposed to many of the topics, but this course may give more insight into the details involved in pharmacology. In my opinion, I enjoy this course since the experimental procedures and techniques are one of my favorite aspects of research. As for the pharmacology aspect, we just slid passed the pulmonary block which include medication for asthma and pneumonia. I learned a lot I did not know before about treatments for asthma. Now, we are entering the GI/ hepatic block. During the semester, we have been exposed to GI and hepatic side effects but haven't really looked at treatments for GI and hepatic diseases. This fact makes me excited to learn more about the liver and GI tract.
The end of the semester also signifies that we are halfway through, which is bittersweet. It is sweet that are that much closer to advancing in our academic careers, but bitter having to leave all of this behind so soon.

November hours: 36 hours
Total semester hours: 76 hours

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tricks and Treats of Pharmacology

A little over half of this semester has passed since we started our journey into pharmacology. Moving from the heart and cardiovascular block, we begin the renal block with all things pharmacology and kidneys with a splash of erectile dysfunction and benign prostatic hyperplasia thrown in. It's a nice break from the complexities of the heart and vessels, but no where simple as the kidney is a highly complex organ in of itself. We learned some of the several channels in the kidney which were involved with diuretics. Studying the kidney also shows us the complexities of the human body as changes in the kidney functions can affect other systems like blood pressure and changes in other systems can affect the kidneys. Currently, I am a bit struggling to keep my head out of water, but that just means I must work even harder.

Volunteering at the ER and department of internal medicine has been great. The ER and department of internal medicine were really different. The pace was different as the ER was more hectic compared to internal medicine but both were equally busy in workload and attention. In the ER, I mostly escort patients to different areas and rooms, but in internal medicine, I help the secretary at the nurses' station answer phone calls from patients and other parts of the hospital. Interacting with the patients, secretaries, and nurses were interesting and a great learning experience.

Hours completed this month: 32

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Roughly three months have passed since we started the program and already, I am deep in piles of note cards and print out lectures. This notion can reflect the amount of information we are learning. However, there comes an excitement when I see a drug we learned in class in the outside world. Each time a member of my family is prescribed a new drug, the past lecture had recently mentioned it.

 As we approach the end of the month, we approach the end of the autonomic nervous system and cardio vascular block. Since much of the faculty have experience with cardio vascular, the lectures were filled with meaningful real world details and relevance. During this block, we were taught to read EKGs and determine how a set of drugs can affect blood pressure and heart rate in beneficial or harmful ways. In the next few weeks, we will be working with medical students in simulator studies.

Yesterday, I started my first day of volunteering at Ochsner. Originally, the plan was to help in the clinical research labs there, but due to schedule conflicts around school, I wasn't able to. Instead, I was assigned to patient care in the ER. It was the first time I stepped in an ER and I can say it is hectic. The first day I arrived happened to be a busy night according to the triage nurse on duty, so I was not properly informed of duties and the layout of the area. At first, I found it difficult to adjust and navigate around the ER, but as the night went on, I began becoming used to it. My main duties were to assist the triage nurse and the nurse tech, which can be tasks from moving paperwork between the administration and them to escorting patients to their designated areas. A person can learn a lot volunteering there such as the different procedures and protocols. I spent four hours yesterday and today in the ER.

Total hours 8.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Start of Pharm

As we advance through this story we call life, we go through different chapters that shape us in ways we cannot not predict. I had recently finished the chapter of my life where I finished my undergraduate degree at LSU. My original plan was to chase after the goal to obtain a PhD, but unfortunately, I was unable to be accepted to any of the PhD programs I had applied to. For some time, I was stuck in a stage where I had no clue what to do. As the dread of the unknown future began to set in, I decided to seek other paths I could pursue. Through advice and talks with many, I stumbled upon this program at Tulane. Thus, a new chapter opened in my story I call "NOLA and PhamPharm". 

The program that I found was suggested to me by a researcher at Ochsner. The program was a Master's degree in Pharmacology. In my undergraduate studies, I had study biochemistry but focused my classes on plants, so I had a lot of catching up to shift to human pharmacology. Even though I had a lot to learn, the lectures I had made it easier since they were interesting and provided me with the information I needed. Some of the human physiology still eluded my knowledge, but I was relieved to be learning it. The first block we had was basic principles and inflammation. We were taught the basic physiology needed to do well in the course. 

To this date, we already taken eight weeks of classes and two block exams. The lectures were interesting since we never have the same professor teaching day by day. The topics of the lectures tend to cover an interest of the lecturer, so each lecture would be more enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Also, many of the lectures contain real life experiences and practical uses pertaining to the topic. A fun and great part of being part of this program is recognizing pharmaceuticals and drug names and actions in our everyday lives. For instance, my dad suffers from chronic gout and the lectures allowed me to understand what the drugs he was taking does for gout.  

This new chapter of my story has been a great experience so far. I was able to learn more about my city, myself, and pharmacology. A big contrast to my undergraduate experience is that everybody in the class were nice and friendly. I did not experience much solidarity and willingness to help each other during undergraduate, so this experience was refreshing. I am glad to meet all the new friends and great professors in this program. It is my hope to complete this year with all new happy memories and new knowledge that push us to a shining future.