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Board Certification: BCOP +/- BCPS

Discussion in 'Pharmacy Residencies and Fellowships' started by 123abcdef, 07.15.11.

  1. 123abcdef

    123abcdef

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    For those that have already completed a PGY2 Hem/Onc, currently working as a pharmacist in this specialty or planning to in the future... are you planning to get a BCPS until you qualify for the BCOP, just wait to get the BCOP, or maintain both board certifications?

    I realize the BCPS is no small project but while my general practice residency is still semi fresh in my brain, I have been considering getting certified in pharmacotherapy.. just in case I don't get a job in Oncology right away (yes i know I still have to wait a year or so after my pgy2) or end up doing something completely different in the future (never know what might happen). I honestly dont know if I could even manage to study for the BCPS with the PGY2 starting anyway!

    I just finished my PGY1 and started a PGY2 Heme/Onc residency... anyone else in this boat feel free to respond! Thanks for your input :)
    Last edited: 07.15.11
  2. ucrx

    ucrx

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    I've been debating this myself. I'm afraid BCPS might be too much to take on during PGY2.

    Can anyone offer any advice before it's too late to register?
    Last edited: 07.15.11
  3. njac

    njac Senior Member

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    I don't know anyone who did the a hem/onc PGY-2 and has both, but I do know someone who did an am-care residency, then did BCPS, and after a couple years at a hem/onc job did BCOP.

    Right now there isn't a shortage of hem/onc jobs (might not be able to be picky about location, but they were out there this year) so I wouldn't sweat it too much. The CE alone to maintain both would be a huge pain.
  4. ucrx

    ucrx

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    I don't know that I would maintain BCPS as long as I had a job in oncology. I am unfortunately limited by location (thank you military), so I am a little worried about finding a job after. I'm afraid that employers would skip over me for general jobs because I'm too specialized, but BCPS would show that I do have that knowledge.

    The other thing is that all of that general practice is still improtant in oncology. A patient's heart failure or diabetes doesn't go away because they have cancer, and their medication regimens can become even more difficult to manage when you throw in persistent nausea and vomiting and medications with significant drug interactions.

    I do know of one pharmacist with BCPS who is studying for BCOP now. He got his BCPS during his PGY2 after his mentor recommended he do it. One reason he gave was demonstrating that you can take and pass a BPS exam.

    Despite all that, it is a huge commitment that will take time and money that are extremely valuable as a resident. I think I want to do it, but I just don't know if it is worth it or even feasible.


    Edited because I should never post when I'm half asleep.
    Last edited: 07.16.11
  5. KARM12

    KARM12 Super Member

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    Welcome to the BPS cash cow.

    Most of the onc people I know waited until they qualified to take BCOP. I am not sure that having both will make you more marketable. Those tests are such a pain and keeping up the certification with all the fees/CEs doesn't seem worth it.

    I took my BCPS during my PGY2 and passed. I felt the same way about the further I was from residency, the harder it would be to pass. Plus there was not a specific certification test in my specialty area. I will say that I was glad I took it when I did. BPS has a plan to make a Board Certification exam in almost every specialty area...so it is possible that the BCPS is going to get "phased out" eventually.

    It is a tough exam and I wouldn't advise taking it unless you have the time to prepare.

    I'm not sure, but isn't the BCOP only 1 year of practice after your PGY2?
  6. ucrx

    ucrx

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    I think you're right, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

    I know that the benefit is different for everyone. I'm limited to my current location for at least 2 more years (unless I want to move without the person who will be my husband by then). After that, we will probably move every 3-4 years. I might even end up overseas with only a military hospital or not working as my options.

    For those making this decision, here are some of the positives/negatives as I see it:
    Positives- shows well rounded/not too specialized, can pass BPS exam, information is relevant, material is fresh
    Negatives- time and money commitment for exam, time and money commitment to keep up, may not be necessary (cancer centers are expanding
    pharmacy services), lack of time to study

    Is there any way having BCPS could end up a negative?

    Thank you all for the advice... I know it seems crazy to even consider taking BCPS if it isn't necessary, but I'm really nervous about overcoming frequent job changes on my resume. I also just left a hospital where the pharmacy environment/culture was very negative and never want to go through that again. I don't want to be forced to take whatever job I can get if I can help it.

    Does anyone have an idea of how different practice settings and employers would feel about this? Academic center, other teaching hospitals not associated with SOP, community hospital (likely less specialized services like oncology anyway), academia, etc?

    TL;DR- Everyone's situation is different. It might be worth it for some situations, but is a huge thing to take on.
    Last edited: 04.10.12
  7. KARM12

    KARM12 Super Member

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    Not that I can see. The negative comes with the time and money to obtain/maintain it...but you could always not choose to renew. It may not always help, but I cannot say that it will ever hurt you.
  8. spacecowgirl

    spacecowgirl brr

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    Studying for BCPS was VERY time-consuming for me. I had a lot going on with work and personal stuff and I still passed (not even barely) but I walked out feeling like I just as easily could have failed.

    I'm not sure how it will help me yet other than showing that I am capable of passing it. I think keeping up with the CEs will be more beneficial than the initial certification. I forgot everything I studied as soon as I left the exam room.
  9. xiphoid2010

    xiphoid2010

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    Is there any advantage to getting bcps if you already have a job? I was planning on taking it until I got a job without it, now it's on the back burner. Besides, my main clinical duty is infectious diseases anyway. :confused:
  10. Dalteparin

    Dalteparin

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    Maybe. Some hospitals will give a raise to pharmacists who pass BCPS.
  11. KARM12

    KARM12 Super Member

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    I got a raise for my BCPS, but every place is different.
  12. xiphoid2010

    xiphoid2010

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    My VA residency site did, but people were telling me if I want to work for the VA, do not to take the BCOP until about 4 years later. Basically, you get an annual raise for the first 3 years anyway, then it slows to every 2, then every 3 years. So the trick was to use BCPS to get another raise in year 4. Yep, that's government for you. :smuggrin: Now, I need to look more closely into the compensation scheme of my new private sector job, thanks for the heads up.
  13. spacecowgirl

    spacecowgirl brr

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    I did not get a raise, but I do think it gives me job security.
  14. Protongenic

    Protongenic Drugz. I has dem.

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    I've spoken with both pharmacists with dual certifications (BCPS+BCOP) and pharmacists with BCOP only. Everyone seems to have different opinions on the matter and at the end of the day, you have to pick whichever decision you think is best for you...

    A few pros/cons in addition to your list includes:
    Positives- not very many hem/onc PGY2 residents will have BCPS during interview season, as most of them opt to only take BCOP when eligible after graduation. So it's a way to distinguish yourself from the rest. In fact, I've been told that there are only ~40-50 pharmacists in all of U.S. with dual BCPS and BCOP (never verified the number for myself). Cancer patients are regular patients with regular chronic diseases, with cancer on top (and with it all the associated supportive care, etc)--so mastering pharmacotherapy can be beneficial for overall patient care.

    Negatives- mostly echoing the time and money issue. Dual-certified pharmacists have told me that they believe BCPS allowed them to be more competitive during job interviews. On the other hand, BCOP pharmacists said that they wouldn't necessarily hire a new PGY2 grad with BCPS over a new PGY2 grad without; it's so dependent on fit, personality, etc...

    If you are planning on taking BCPS during your PGY2 year, make sure you spread out your residency requirements to allow ample time for review. It's definitely doable (as many excellent examples on these boards can tell you), but you shouldn't feel pressured to do it either.

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