Saturday, April 6, 2013

Residency Bound?

Posted by Kristen Gardner at Saturday, April 06, 2013

As fourth-year student pharmacists, my classmates and I who pursued residency training are constantly asked about our experiences going through the process- and for good reasons! It can seem overwhelming, it is competitive (but you can do it if that is what you want!), and I definitely believe there are tips/tricks to success. I decided it would be best to place the details on a google doc instead of taking up oodles of space on the blog website.

In general…
  • I encourage students to start exploring the residency path early if you think you may be interested. Speak to many different people because everyone offers their own perspective. It also allows you to see the commonalities in the opinions to help you know what you really need to do.
  • Use our faculty to learn about programs, make contacts, improve interviewing skills (have additional mock interviews), and proof your CV or cover letter! This requires initiative on your part.
  • Know yourself- self reflection and self-awareness are powerful tools/traits
  • Be strategic with program applications/interviews. Do not apply only to top programs regardless of being in Rho Chi, holding national leadership positions, having posters, manuscript, etc. I had several amazing pharmacy friends with the above criteria who did not match this year. Be smart but at the same time do not apply/rank a program you would not be happy being a resident; however, there are many programs

Programs to which I applied/interviewed; feel free to ask me questions if you are looking into any of these programs! I matched to UNC PGY-1 program!
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota Ambulatory Care Residency Program
  • University of Pittsburgh- St. Margaret
  • Saint Mary’s Health Care (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (Richmond, VA)
  • University of North Carolina Health Care (Chapel Hill, NC)

UPMC St. Margaret (a community teaching hospital with an amazing physician-pharmacy relationship particularly if you like outpatient/family medicine practice) and University of Minnesota had very interesting/unique programs. I encourage you to look into these programs which may be less known among our student body. University of Minnesota also has a 2-year Pharmaceutical Care Leadership Program (ambulatory care focused) which is very unique as well.

As an aside, I do not believe residency is the right path for everyone. Do not feel pressured to pursue this pathway- do want is right for you depending on your career goals and personal situation! This can be a difficult decision; however, know that our College will be proud of you for pursuing your dreams and being an awesome clinical pharmacist regardless of the setting in which you practice (e.g. community, managed care, industry, hospital, ambulatory care/clinics, etc.). Regardless of where you want to practice, FIND A MENTOR that fits your career goals. You will have to search for one within our College or ask faculty for an alumni contact which may be able to help you. Read and be informed of how to be a great mentee and cultivate a mentor-mentee relationship. This is not something to take for granted. You should also spend time appropriately approaching a potential mentor and articulate why them, what you hope to gain, and thank them for their consideration.

If you have any questions contact me! My favorite things are peer mentorship and professional development. Mentors and upper classman have helped me and I want to pay it forward. I would be happy to give comments on CVs or example cover letters you may have from P550 (although I expect these to strengthen when you actually apply because you will have more insight at that time)….prior to starting residency on June 17th. J

Email: or (while I am still a UM student)

GOOD LUCK! The final year is so exciting. Time time to be proud of your accomplishments and soak in every minute. It goes by fast!

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