Are you going to Mid-Year?
by Michael A. Fotis, Director Pharmacy Practice Residency, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL
December 1, 2009
Mingling with 20,000 other pharmacists can be an intimidating experience for a prospective residency candidate at their first Mid-Year meeting. A little bit of advance preparation on your part will improve your Mid-Year experience and most importantly help you to identify residency programs that are a good fit for you.
Residency Showcase: About 450 Pharmacy Practice Residencies will be represented by about a thousand preceptors at the Residency Showcase. The Showcase is held on Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning and Tuesday afternoon. However each program will exhibit only once. You will be joined by about 1200 other prospective residency candidates, and each one of them, like you will represent the top students in their College of Pharmacy. Clearly there will be a big crowd at Showcase, and you will not be able to stop at each booth. You should identify programs in advance that you want to visit. Some candidates select programs by city and state, by size or by college of pharmacy affiliation. Teeters1 and Pochop2 offer excellent advice about how to choose a residency and I highly recommend that you read these papers in advance of Mid-Year.
Your goal at residency showcase is to identify programs that are a good fit for your interests. The Residency Showcase is an excellent opportunity for you to interview us!! Ask questions designed to narrow your choices for onsite interviews to a manageable (and affordable) size. Structure your questions to find out if a particular program shares your goals, interests and professional values. Don’t worry if a program can not offer every one of the experiences you would like to complete. Most likely you will change your mind over the next 18 months. Avoid asking too many questions that can be answered yes or no or answered with a numerical value. For example how many residents are in the program, how much staffing would I have to do? Instead ask the residency director why they serve in this role, and what do they like the most about working with residents. Ask the residents if their staffing experiences contribute to their development as a practitioner. Ask the residents what they like about relationships with their preceptors, and with other pharmacists. Conducting an interview during the conditions at residency showcase is difficult to do and I recommend that you practice ahead of time on pharmacy residents and preceptors that you meet during your clerkship experiences.
The Resident’s Poster Session is usually held on Wednesday. Too many prospective residency candidates overlook this excellent opportunity to learn about a residency program. The poster sessions are less crowded and the atmosphere is much more relaxed than at Residency Showcase. After all who does not want to talk to an interested party about their own work? You will have plenty of time to discuss the residents work, and to find out about preceptor support, relationships with the Medical Staff, and the overall quality and scope of the residency.
Still can't decide which programs to select? Search the Educational Programming at Mid-Year using the names of program directors and preceptors and visit their posters and or attend their presentations!
Not sure which aspect of health-system pharmacy interests you the most? Check out ASHP Section of Clinical Specialists and Scientists Networking Sessions. These are open forums where you will learn about the “hot topics” in a given area and you may even enjoy the give and take enough to participate in a lively discussion.
I hope you have an outstanding Mid-Year and after you return that you are able to continue the enthusiasm generated by attendance at a National Meeting. I also want to thank you for having the commitment to pursue residency training. I am envious of all the wonderful things you will accomplish in your professional career.
1. Teeters, JL. Pharmacy residency programs: how to find the one for you. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2004 61: 2254 (PMID: 15552631)
2. Pochop, Sarah. Pharmacy practice residency programs. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2005 62: 1562-1564 (PMID: 16030364)
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