The types and numbers of postgraduate training options available to you are seemingly endless. Yet, the reasons for you to delay entry into the job market may not be quite as numerous. You've probably had a hard enough time describing why it takes 4 years in pharmacy school, much less the education you had before that, to become a pharmacist. And now, you want, need, or are compelled to do more? Know that thousands of pharmacy students and even existing practitioners have worked through this debate before you, and the debate may rage long after you graduate. Yet, there are compelling reasons to invest more in your own career beyond your PharmD degree. We went to the source, the rich source of information that is our Postgraduate Year One (PGY-1) and Postgraduate Year Two (PGY-2) pharmacy residents, who provided some data for this chapter. Was it a formal study? No. However, mixing their thoughts with ours provides a well-rounded rationale for postgraduate training.
Before we proceed further, remember that, beyond residencies, there are other types of postgraduate education that can be considered, including graduate degrees. Specific programs offered, their structure and design, and numbers of programs are discussed in Chapter 25. Another option for graduates includes fellowships (see Chapter 24). Both graduate training and fellowship training can have a focus on research, while certain degree options will focus on measurement of clinical services or have a leadership orientation.
In determining if a residency is right for you, consider what activities suit you best for your career. You may thrive on working with a healthcare team, be energized by seeing a patient's hemoglobin A1c drop from 11% to 6.5% after your months of work with them, or be drawn to working with pharmacy students and other trainees to help them flourish under your watchful eye. Residencies and other postgraduate training often provide you the flexibility in choosing a position that allows you to be involved in activities like these or others that interest you. However, the personal investment of a residency admittedly includes the issues of decreased salary (initially), decreased sleep, opening yourself up to feedback on your performance from all angles (but at least there are no more grades), and sacrificing some activities that you might normally do (movies, dinners out, exercise) while you are training. Those same sacrifices hold true for students in graduate school or those participating in fellowships; in fact, those periods of time often far surpass the duration of a residency year (or two). However, the career and professional development you experience in postgraduate training is exponential.
Knowing yourself, what you value and deem important, and what you wish to invest in and obtain from your career are critical to any steps you take as you embark on your professional journey. No longer will you have an academic advisor instructing you about the specific courses you will need to take to reach ...