Sunday, April 10, 2011

March 23rd

Posted by Zhe Han at Sunday, April 10, 2011

I remember this date and I am sure all my classmates pursuing residencies remember it as well. It is the ASHP Residency Match Day this year. Applicants receive an email containing their match result from the National Matching Services (NMS) that morning.

Residency application can be a stressful and time-consuming process, beginning in late November when students start looking at programs in preparation for Midyear through late March when match results are released. Having just gone through this process, I have several tips for those who are interested in residency training in the future.

1. Prepare for Midyear.

Know what you are looking for and generate a list of programs you plan to speak to at the residency showcases. Based on my own experiences, speaking with 5-6 programs at each showcase is very doable. Sometime in November, ASHP website posts maps of the exhibition hall with all booths labeled. Print a copy and map out your route so that you are not wasting time figuring out where things are. When you are at the showcase, make it a point to speak with both program director/preceptors and residents. Program directors and preceptors can be your future interviewers and despite speaking with many students at the showcase, I am surprised by how well they remember faces. One of my interviewers said "I remember talking to you at Midyear"! Its good to have that little connection.

Several questions I hope I had asked at the showcase:
- Do you plan to expand the size of your residency class next year?
- Any changes to your program requirement next year? (if yes, information you gathered online is no longer accurate)
- How long has your program been established? (do you like a very structured program or a newer one where residents may have a greater impact in shaping the program)
- Any plans to start new PGY2 programs?

2. Once you come back from Midyear, finalize your list of programs to apply to and get your materials in early.

Some programs review applications as they come in. The sooner you get your materials in, the sooner they review and chances are they will contact you earlier so that you have more options for interview dates.

3. Expect to hear back from programs from mid January through late February (emails, phone calls)

One thing which surprised me in this process was most programs that invited me for onsite interviews notify me via the phone (I was expecting emails). So if you are on rotations and can't answer phone calls all the time, check your voice message. Also, if you get a missed call from a number you don't recognize, be sure to call back!!!

4. Prepare for interviews.

Besides preparing for standard interview questions, go through your CV line by line and make sure you can speak intelligently about EVERYTHING listed there. If necessary, review your notes from your previous presentations/inservice/journal clubs to refresh yourself on the content. You may be asked to tell your interviewers about your journal club presentation on a rotation 6 months ago!! (yes, it CAN happen)

5. Don't forget the logistics!!

Know where you will be going on your interview day. Always have the pharmacy department's phone number on hand. If a resident is going to meet you at the main entrance, get his/her cell phone # and have it with you. When you are unsure if you are waiting at the correct location, ask around or call, if you are at the wrong location, you want to find out sooner rather than later so that you are not late for your actual interview.

I hope these tips are helpful to those who are looking at residencies in the future. Good luck!!

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