So you are thinking about a residency. It is a tough choice: secure a job after graduation or pursue additional training. The current, seemingly saturated job market and competitive residency environment is definitely making this decision more difficult. Many health-systems prefer, or even require, the hiring of a residency-trained pharmacist. For the first time in decades, many employers are cutting hours and even laying off pharmacists. So many soon-to-be graduate pharmacy students wonder if they should try to immediately accept a job offer or try for a residency position. We encourage you to consider a residency a wise investment in the future. And what is invested in that developmental, busy year will return 10-fold. It was an insightful resident who once informed me, “It's not just about what I will get out of a residency; but what I have to add … to contribute … to the program … that is what the year is about!” It will be an exciting, and sometimes, challenging time. Yet, there will be many great opportunities to develop and enhance pharmaceutical care, leadership, and organizational skills; collaborate with a multitude of healthcare professions; and take valuable steps toward advancing your career. This chapter will review key concepts of Postgraduate Year One (PGY-1) programs, including the differing types, educational design and evaluation, resident responsibilities, and opportunities during the year and beyond.
“Reflection and self-awareness are the cornerstones of choosing the right residency program.”
Ohannes K. – Pharmacy Student, California
According to the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP), the definition of postgraduate training is “an organized, directed, accredited program that builds upon knowledge, skills, attitudes, and abilities gained from an accredited professional pharmacy degree program.”1 The focus of this training should be on developing generalized skills in medication-use systems that foster “optimal medication therapy outcomes” in patients with a broad range of disease states.1 Most PGY-1 residency programs are designed to provide the resident with a broad range of skills and experiences complimented with elective opportunities with more focused patient populations. For instance, you may be entering a hospital-based PGY-1 with rotations in general internal medicine, surgery, and intensive care, providing care to a variety of patients (with different age ranges, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and immune status). You may then have a few electives in pediatrics or geriatrics, or specialty areas such as oncology. The overarching goal of all programs is to develop a well-rounded, competent, and “comfortably confident” professional clinician. Pharmacists are advocates for proper medication use and are also educators of patients, caregivers, family members, and other healthcare professionals. The residency year may incorporate a variety of educational opportunities to also improve communication skills, such as developing written newsletters and handouts, delivering in-services, facilitating medication discussions, and presenting formal lectures to a variety of audiences. Learning how to effectively educate different groups is an important skill set that will translate well into both a clinical setting ...