Sunday, April 14, 2013

Another post about residency?!

Posted by Anna at Sunday, April 14, 2013

Yes, this is another post about residency. If you are so over it already, I completely understand—feel free to move on to the next post. I will say that Kristen posted a recent entry with a lot of great information and tips based on her experiences, and I highly recommend checking it out for a complete overview and residency how-to. Instead of rehashing that information, I wanted to reflect on just a few points that may be relevant to those who find themselves in my shoes.

Specifically, this could be meaningful to you if you are….
  • A P4 student seeking PGY-1 hospital-based residency
  • Planning to enter practice as generalist after completion of a residency, but open to further specialization via PGY-2 if you happen to find something that truly grabs you
  • Restricting your search to Southeast Michigan based on a significant other or for other equally valid reasons

For the benefit of this post (and just for funsies), I have decided to interview myself:

Q: Why complete a residency if you want to pursue a generalist position? Do you even need a residency for that?!
A: You do not need a residency for a generalist position, and many people start in a generalist position immediately after graduation. Residency is a very personal decision and is not the right path for everyone—do not feel like you have to do one! For me, I wanted the extra year of hospital-based rotations, intensive study, and freedom to learn underneath an experienced pharmacist to either become a stronger and more confident generalist or to determine if further specialization is the path I want to pursue. I was also very open with my reasons for residency through my letter of intent and during my interviews.

Q: If I want to stay in Southeast Michigan, do I have to go to Midyear?
A: Absolutely not. The SE Michigan Residency Showcase and Career Gateway events both occur in mid-October to early-November, and are great venues to learn about the local residency programs. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend these events due to being out of the area on rotation. I did go to Midyear primarily to present a poster on my PharmD research, and I was able to chat with Michigan programs at the residency showcase there. If you do end up attending Midyear, do not feel bad speaking to Michigan programs! The only one I would stay away from is UofM, strictly because if you are a UofM student you will have easy access to resources regarding the program back in Ann Arbor.

Q: How many programs did you apply to and how did you choose?
A: I ended up applying to seven programs. Knowing you want a SE Michigan residency really helps narrow down the initial list of possible programs, but still leaves you with a considerable list. With my personal goals, I wanted a program that had teaching opportunities, diverse rotation opportunities, a bigger residency class, and a large health system. I was able to narrow down my list to seven programs—which is still sort of a lot until you realize that Detroit Medical Center requires separate applications for each site—through information on websites as well as what I gathered at Midyear. I accepted interviews at all seven sites, as I wanted to physically visit the hospitals and experience the learning environment. I do believe that you get a definite feel for each residency once you actually interview, and this feeling played a big role when I ranked my programs. Additionally, since I was within a 40-50 minute drive from each interview, it was feasible for me to go to many interviews without spending money on flights, hotels, and other travel expenses.

Initially I was jealous of my classmates who had the freedom to apply to any program in the nation, with no geographic limitations. However, I found that Michigan has many amazing residency opportunities, and I did not have to compromise any of my “must haves” in a program in order to stay in the area. Hopefully these few points will be helpful to those who find themselves in similar situations, and good luck!

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