Dr Rukmalee Wijesinghe is a clinical pharmacist at the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Albany College of Pharmacy, New York, she worked in the community setting in New Jersey before moving to Singapore in 2007. Registered and licensed to practice in New Jersey and Singapore, Ruki is a Specialist Pharmacist in Psychiatry endorsed by the Ministry of Health in Singapore, and a United States board certified psychiatric pharmacist (BCPP). Apart from her clinical duties in the geriatric ward, she is also a team member of the pharmacist-run Clozapine Clinic, a collaborative service model in partnership with a psychiatrist, and the team leader of the Outpatient Day Hospital Program run by the members of the multi-disciplinary team of the mood disorders unit. She is a member of the national Pharmacy Specialist Accreditation Committee which evaluates applications submitted for the newly established Singapore Pharmacy Specialists Register.
Ruki’s main interests are education and training. She serves as a Residency Preceptor for the Psychiatric Resident and Chief Preceptor for undergraduate pharmacy students at her institution. She is also a Clinical Supervisor for pharmacists enrolled in the Clinical Pharmacist Preparatory Program. She was awarded the National Healthcare Group teaching award for pharmacy senior preceptors in 2013 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the training and development of pharmacists. Her love of teaching and mentoring led her to complete a certificate in Medical and Health Professions Education at the National University of Singapore. She is currently enrolled full-time at the University of Western Australia completing her Master of Health Professions Education degree. Ruki volunteers extensively to promote the pharmacy profession and is serving as a peer reviewer and an issue editor of the Mental Health Clinician, an electronic peer-reviewed journal of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists.
Pharmacy residency in Australia is becoming a reality. The profession as a whole is embracing the Australian national residency program and preparing pharmacists to develop workplace skills and competency.
American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) are calling for pharmacy residency training to be the minimum standard for providing direct patient care by 2020.
In Singapore, based on a projected need for “specialist” training by 2020, a pharmacy specialist training framework was created as a formal development pathway, which includes 1-2 years of residency training. ASHP Postgraduate Year 1/2 Residency Accreditation Standards were adapted as reference standards to accredit the local residency programs.
Continued government funding, development of residency program preceptors and pharmacy leadership support is essential in building a residency program and making it work. Roles of pharmacy leaders in preparing for a residency program site, challenges faced and lessons learned will be shared.