Sunday, January 8, 2012

From Administration to Midyear to Institutional

Posted by Nina Cimino at Sunday, January 08, 2012

Wow! What a month! It's been a while since my last blog post but it feels like it has been forever with all that has happened between then and now, so I'll try to fill you in as best I can.

Administration Rotation
First, I finished my administration rotation with Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Clark at UMHS. What an amazing rotation- I HIGHLY recommend that you rank this rotation as your non-traditional experience if you are at all interested in pharmacy administration. I found this rotation extremely beneficial for getting a broader view of all that goes on in a hospital pharmacy department. When you work or rotate in a specific pharmacy or satellite that is part of a larger department, there are often many policies and procedures that just seem to be there. Rotating in pharmacy administration helped me to understand the rational behind many of these policies, and why it is important to do things a certain way.

I also gained an understanding of the many external factors that impact a hospital pharmacy department, such as:
  • Pharmacy law and rules from the Board of Pharmacy- such as those surrounding the electronic prescribing of controlled substances (including C-IIs)
  • Political factors- such as proposed cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement
  • Economic factors- pressure to increase productivity while lowering expenses
Another great thing about this rotation was the opportunity to work on projects that I found really interesting, all while meeting people who were great role models! I worked on a lot of projects, including one surrounding transitions of care and one on electronic prescribing of controlled substances. Throughout both, I learned a lot about important issues in pharmacy and got to work with great people who really inspired me to become a leader and advocate for the profession of pharmacy.

Oh boy. It's really not as stressful as it sounds going into it, but if you want to pursue a residency after graduation, Midyear is a big deal. It is also a great opportunity to discover a lot about residency programs all in one place. In order to get the most out of it and not be too stressed, I recommend preparing early. To prepare, I would recommend:
  • Researching which programs you're interested in (think about which rotations they offer, location if that is important to you, size of the program, and whether or not they offer a PGY2 program)
  • Developing a list of questions for each programs- try to think about which questions you may want to ask residents, and which you'd like to ask directors. Each person will have a different point of view, and all will be valuable to you as you think about where you would like to apply.
Once you come back from Midyear, be sure to get your applications as soon as you can- things will get very busy very fast with the holidays, and many people go on vacation, so I really think the sooner you can get your applications out, the better.

And...don't forget to have fun! Not only is it fun to experience a new city, but Midyear is a great way to meet pharmacists and pharmacy students from all over the country and hear about their experiences!

And now...Institutional Rotation
After a much needed break, I started my institutional rotation this past Monday. Since I have mainly worked in outpatient pharmacies, or had non-traditional pharmacy internships at the FDA, this institutional rotation is a good opportunity to gain experience in an inpatient environment. The hospital where I am completing my rotation is a cancer hospital, so while institutional focuses on general inpatient pharmacy, this rotation provides an inpatient perspective with an emphasis on oncology. Before this rotation, I had pretty minimal experience in the IV room, and even more limited experience with compounding chemotherapy. Even after just a few days in the IV room and chemotherapy lab, I'm already starting to feel more comfortable compounding IVs. I have also gained experience in unit dose preparation and order entry verification. In the weeks to come, I am looking forward to gaining experience shadowing the pharmacists on the BMT floor, and learning about what happens to the IVs after they leave the pharmacy by shadowing nurses in the infusion center.

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