It’s been about a month since I started working on my Stretch Experience. You see, it wasn’t until the end of May when I finally sorted out what my Stretch Experience would be for the summer. After months and months of going through multiple different back up plans, it was quite relieving to finally begin my journey for the summer.
So you may wonder, what are you doing for your Stretch Experience? My Stretch Experience essentially is a research project that involves literature review on a topic of my interest. As a pharmacy student at the University of Alberta, I decided that it would be more appropriate for my research topic to be in the area of pharmacy – more specifically, on medication information online. I came to this decision because I felt that many patients/consumers turn to internet for reliable source of health and/or medication information in this day and age where internet is easily accessible. In addition to limited time that health care professionals can offer, advanced technology seem to make this phenomenon (where consumers are actively seeking online for health and/or medication information) more prominent.
However, this didn’t all come together smoothly for me. My originally plan was to create an app or a website or educational YouTube videos that consumers can look up or watch to educate themselves. However, when I recommended this plan to the professor who is currently mentoring me through this process, he inquired my reasoning for wanting to start such project. So when I explained to him that I don’t believe internet to be a good source of information for health or medication related information, he asked if my statement could be supported with evidence. Since I wasn’t able to support my argument with any evidence, he guided me to take a few steps back and start off with finding evidence. This is where my journey for this research project began.
I found this past month very meaning for many reasons. Firstly, my encounter with my professor has been very motivational since he was willing to give up his time for this project despite the fact that he is not getting paid to guide me in the right direction. Whenever I expressed my appreciation, he would always tell me that he is more than happy to be able to help and witness someone learn about research. It was really empowering to see his passion in teaching a student purely for the joy of seeing a student grow. Additionally, even though this was my first real research experience, I wasn’t afraid to run into obstacles since I knew that he was there to support me through my challenges. No matter what the challenge was, I was able to overcome various challenges with the help of my professor who was willing to sit and brainstorm different ideas with me. I can confidently say that even though it has only been a month, I have learnt so much from him that I can continue to apply in the future. I think I am very lucky to have an experienced and passionate professor to take me through this journey. He holds so many characteristics that I hope to carry as a future health care professional.
Additionally, throughout my school, I hope to work on the topic of improving health or medication information for patients online to better provide educational materials to patients/consumers. If you happen to have any suggestions, please let me know as I would like to explore various options.