Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Next Step

Posted by Shannon Hough at Saturday, January 16, 2010

January already.

December came and went with the ASHP Midyear Meeting, the holidays

and residency applications. This year's ASHP Midyear Meeting was held in Las Vegas, NV. I attended the meeting in order to learn more about first year (PGY1) residency programs. I could not believe how many people were at the meeting, including the number of pharmacy students looking for residencies. The photo at the right was taken at a student poster session. The majority of people in the room were students! It was a great experience to be at such an impressive meeting.

After weighing all of my options, I decided where I wanted to apply. So I polished up my applications and sent them off. I requested letters of recommendation and transcripts. Most pharmacy residency programs stopped accepting applications in early January. Over the next few months, I hope to receive invitations to interview for a PGY1 placement, and keep my fingers crossed for a good match.

This month, I also started my rotation in inpatient hematology and oncology at the University of Michigan. This rotation is unique in that there are two hematology/oncology teams, each of which sees both types of patients. Each team spends half of the morning rounding with an oncology attending physician, and the other half with a hematology attending physician. I am on one of the teams, and follow all of the patients that one of the physicians on the team sees. So far, I can see a huge role for a pharmacist with these patients. Cancer can change how the liver, kidneys and bone marrow function. Chemotherapy regimens alone have complex, highly individualized toxicities requiring patient-specific therapy. I have had to consider all of these factors in learning about the care of this patient population.

The team that I round with is quite pharmacy friendly. My fellow P-4-parter-in-crime and I reply to many "Hey Pharmacy..." questions from our residents and medical students. The residents often times make changes to the patient medication profiles as we make our recommendations. (Just one more reason we need to be very accurate in our recommendations!) I'm looking forward to learning more about the pharmaceutical care of hematology/oncology patients as the month continues.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Fair Deal

Posted by Akin at Sunday, January 10, 2010

It’s 20 degrees outside this morning. I bundle up in my winter coat, put my gloves on, and head out to my car as I realize, too late, that I should have started my car earlier so that it would have been pre-heated for the drive to work. I scrape the frost off my auto windshield and head to the first day of my first 2010 clinical rotation.

Contrary to what you may suspect based on this description, I’m actually not in Michigan. I’m actually 600 miles south of Ann Arbor in Chapel Hill, N.C., and, boy, is it a lot colder than I anticipated. This certainly isn’t what I thought I was signing up for when I decided I could escape typical Michigan January weather and instead spend a month at United Therapeutics pharmaceutical company in Chapel Hill. Usually, the weather at this time of year is in the 50s. I’ve been told that this is the coldest winter North Carolina has seen in years. I think global warming is to blame. But whenever someone finds out I’m from Michigan, I am playfully accused of bringing this weather with me.

Considering how abnormally cold it also was in Las Vegas during the December 2009 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition, maybe I am bringing cold weather along with me wherever I go.

At my United Therapeutics rotation, I’m getting to see how clinical trials are conducted, including the details of multi-centered subject recruitment, how protocols are changed to ensure patient safety, and the effort the company makes to comply with federal standards. I’m interested in pursuing a career in clinical research, so the experience I am getting is great on many levels. I may have come up short in my hope for warm weather, but the clinical research experience I'm gaining at United Therapeutics has more than compensated for that.