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Steps I can take in Pharm School to get into a residency?

Discussion in 'Pharmacy Residencies and Fellowships' started by PharmD2Be48, May 1, 2012.

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  1. PharmD2Be48

    PharmD2Be48

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    Hey Im starting my PharmD program (@ Nova) in August and I really want to do a residency one day. What steps can/should I take in Pharmacy school to make me a good residency candidate? Thanks
  2. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    Step 1: Become a gunner :smuggrin:
  3. cycloketocaine

    cycloketocaine

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    Do research, get published and just get out there and do extra that you enjoy doing. A lot of people do stuff to put it on a CV, and they hate it, so they can't talk about it as well in interviews. And trust me, it will come up in interviews.
  4. bacillus1

    bacillus1

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    Things that various residency interviews commended me on:

    1) Choice of rotations. Good amount of variety, difficulty and clinical exposure.
    2)"outside of pharmacy" things I did, like a public health internship and some teaching experience
    3)Reseach experience (though limited, I still did something, and it seemed to look good)
    4)Professional organization involvement, including leadership positions.

    No one really commented on my GPA, but I think that also has some effect in residency selection.
  5. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    Professional involvement is overrated since everyone applying will have some sort of it...my friends had to fill out the membership form and pay dues for me to get me to do anything.

    Exception may be ASHP midyear, if you have a research project turned poster to present, you're pretty golden. But, since you pretty much need to be a member to go, that knocks out the whole "professional involvement" thing.

    Unlike getting into undergrad or even grad school, excessive involvement WILL NOT mask a piss poor GPA or poor performance on clinical rotations.

    /soapbox
  6. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    Oh, and be an interesting person. Have interesting hobbies and be knowledgable about the world. It'll make you stand out in interviews instead of being a typical pharmacy gunner drone that loves loves loves to help people and further their knowledge of pharmacotherapy and one day be a specialist (barf).

    I know of some directors who read CV's in reverse (starting with hobbies/interests first and moving backwards).
  7. bacillus1

    bacillus1

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    That's why I emphasize leadership positions, especially ones that aren't bull**** leadership positions. Gave me a lot to talk about at my interviews.
  8. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    I agree, any org I put had a corresponding "thing" attached to it (project, presentation, etc...)

    I just hate when pharm students carry the undergrad mentality that they can hide behind involvement.
  9. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    Agree with a lot that has been mentioned. I'd like to add:

    1. Think early and often about where you'd want your LOR from. Develop these relationships.
    2. Establish an inpatient internship ASAP. Work experience is big.
    3. IMO, people like to see real leadership as they want proof of concept that you will take initiative in an orgo and get things done, not just collect a pay check. Ergo why they ask about what you did
    4. As mentioned, gpa is important as it shows you care about the material, your profession, and the patient (maybe not in that order)
    5. Start developing your letter of intent either in reality or in your head. Need to come up with strong reasons as to why you want this.
  10. Rutgers13

    Rutgers13

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    #1: Get work experience- Hospital pharmacy technician will take you a long way. You will be able to talk about many different experiences you had while working- conflict with coworkers or physicians and how you handled it. Interviewers like to see that you wouldn't take a long time getting used to a hospital workflow and won't take a long time to train.

    #2: GPA does matter- not that a 3.7 is better than a 3.5, but a 3.2 may not make a program's cutoff. A lot of programs are receiving tons of applicants and unfortunately GPA is becoming more important in the selection process. Even though a candidate may have a strong CV and work experience- their GPA may be a 3.1 and their CV won't get a second glance. Work hard in your therapeutics courses- I promise it will pay off when it comes time for rotations and applying for residency.

    #3: Like everyone else said - if you have time research/clubs won't hurt. However a lot of students get too involved and their grades suffer, it's about balance.

    #4: Rotations- take as many clinical rotations as you can before Midyear (December). Try to schedule an off-cycle or an easier cycle around February-March so you have time to prepare for interviews and presentations for residency.

    #5: Make a resume/CV early and keep it up to date. You don't want to waste time starting a resume from scratch.

    #6: As for letters of recommendation- try to get one from an employer and the rest from clinical rotation preceptors. Don't stress too much about that until you start rotations.
  11. PharmD2Be48

    PharmD2Be48

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    Thanks for all the great advice but practically speaking, I wont have time for extra volunteer work and research (I am married with two kids).

    However, are my chances reasonable if I am able to maintain, say a 3.7 and try to get as many clinical rotations as possible?
  12. cycloketocaine

    cycloketocaine

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    .
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  13. pyaari83

    pyaari83

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    How do you get involved in publications and doing research? Do the universities have specific websites or do you approach professors?
  14. rxlea

    rxlea Unicorn in training Moderator Emeritus

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    Approach professors. Best thing to do is find a mentor.
  15. pharm B

    pharm B Phar Noir Moderator Emeritus Gold Donor

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    I have to wonder how much of it is "hiding," though. I'm assuming your GPA is really only relevant for your first job, if even that. Residency is the one place where I can see it being "heavily" stressed, but even that isn't universal. I know of a few programs that only give minor consideration to GPA and want someone who's able to get through school while heavily participating in meaningful projects and organizations.

    You're the social chair of a fraternity? Eh. You created a patient care event and oversaw it every week or month? Seems like something that could be parlayed into residency.
  16. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    I said it before and I'll say it again: I see a lot of self-perpetuating orgs/officer positions (eg create events that don't really do anything, but become annual and are handed off to others). Everyone thats ever worked an empty health fair raise their hand. *raises hand* I think meaningful projects are definitely less common than most people perceive. Reminds me of an argument I had with a Kappa Psi member with me taking the position that Kappa Psi was mostly just a social fraternity. IMO, the value of the project is a lot like quality EBM, what is the impact in the pt outcome?
  17. pyaari83

    pyaari83

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    Thank you. :)
  18. BenJammin

    BenJammin No Apologies

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    Ugh, disgusting. Am I the only person here who hates research and doesn't want to do it? I have absolutely no interest in researching drugs and I don't want to do that just so I can get a one year residency for a staff hospital job. Thank goodness I didn't get any interviews for residencies because I got offered a hospital job recently in Texas and I'm starting very soon. Pay is good and it is in a great location.

    That's what a 3.0 GPA gets you lol
  19. BenJammin

    BenJammin No Apologies

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    I have no idea why GPA is even a factor. I have a 3.0 and I work 10x as hard as some of these people in my class who have 4.0s. If you are socially deficient and don't seem like you can handle the job then your grades don't impress anyone.
  20. cycloketocaine

    cycloketocaine

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    Maybe you have a different perception of the types of research required. I'm not talking about bench research, where you're injecting mice all day.
  21. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    Yeah we're not talking about bench research, more along the lines of MUE's/DUE's, etc...

    Congrats on the job though, that woulda been my preferred path but the location I'm headed to requires residencies for staffing jobs.
  22. pharmacisttobe

    pharmacisttobe

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    What is considered "piss poor GPA"?
  23. cycloketocaine

    cycloketocaine

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    Piss poor is like sub 2.5. But you're gonna have to get a 3.0 or even a 3.3 to be competitive nowadays.
  24. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    3.2 seems to be a popular absolute minimum if one exists for the program
  25. km1070

    km1070

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    is bench research something that would look good though?
  26. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    Doubtful. Better than nothing on your cv, yes. But residencies are geared towards making clinicians, not bench scientist. There are pk/pd fellowships that would be good for though.
  27. ADN1226

    ADN1226 Class of 2012!

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    I had published bench research with a pharmacology professor, many sites asked me about that so they were interested in it. Its not typical pharmacist-directed research but I talked about my dedication to the project (spent 2yrs on it), learning to time manage and how to write a published scientific article.

    I also had an ASHP-presented DUE poster and had questions on this too. I'm sure this project looked good as well but having a published article is not something many of my peers had so it definitely stood out.
  28. patmcd

    patmcd Senior Member

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    Its a good thing to have on your CV and is something sites will ask about during interviews. I was asked about my research while applying for programs, and I asked candidates about it when I interviewed them.

    Any research experience >> no research experience
  29. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    That's what I said. Ergo "better than nothing"
  30. Bowler11

    Bowler11

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    I also took the involvement route. I believe that a GPA above a 3.3 looks the same as the high GPA (At least that is what I have been told).

    My biggest suggestion is to do something unique. The part of my CV that was commented on the most was my involvement with the University of Minnesota's traveling bowling team :).

    Your CV really gets you the interview but its how you interact and communicate is what gets you the residency. Make yourself visible at state and national meetings.
  31. Rutgers13

    Rutgers13

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    Pharmacy residencies are about making clinical interventions and being a part of a multidisciplinary medical team. You need a good GPA > 3.2/3.3 just to not get weeded out to begin with. Then they will look at the extra stuff you do.

    At the end of the day we need to know about drugs and clinical knowledge. Being involved and doing research are wonderful things, but what good is a pharmacy resident who isn't clinically up to date and who doesn't know anything about drugs? I know a lot of people who were super involved with clubs and research etc. but had mediocre grades and couldn't answer any clinical questions asked during their interviews. They didn't get residencies.

    All GPA does is gets your foot in the door. Then they look at what you did on your CV- clubs, research, etc. make good small talk and show that you are a real person and not just some loser who studied all of the time. But you still need to be able to show that you are clinically oriented - questions you might get asked
    "what is one intervention that you made that made a large impact?"
    "how do you feel about the new antibiotic/anticoagulant xyz?"


    If you want a residency then excel in your therapeutics courses, challenge yourself on your rotations, and really be passionate about medicine. The results will speak for themselves. Do things that will help you become a better clinician (if that's your goal). If you want to do research later then do research. It's that simple, but if a program was choosing between 2 candidates and 1 of them had done research, but the other was better clinically - I think the program would choose the more clinical student.
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  32. SeekerofTruth

    SeekerofTruth

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    What do you mean by "find a mentor?"
  33. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    Find a professor/clinician you click with and keep in touch personally/professionally.
  34. rxlea

    rxlea Unicorn in training Moderator Emeritus

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    This. A good mentor will change your life.
  35. spacecowgirl

    spacecowgirl brr

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    Absolutely.
  36. spacecowgirl

    spacecowgirl brr

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    Duplicate post
  37. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    Thought about this post today and thought it needed a good bump :thumbup: A good mentor can definitely change your life.
  38. pharmacisttobe

    pharmacisttobe

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    I totally agree:thumbup:. A good mentor will get you through rough rotations, help you to build your confidence back, and re-ignite your passion for the pharmacy profession.:love:
  39. stumbleine88

    stumbleine88

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    I totally agree with the mentor comments. I feel like I got a late start with finding a good mentor, but better late than never! Especially if you have a strong area of interest, seek out someone in that field to shadow, or at least get some information on their daily job responsibilities. If you're friendly and show interest, I think you'll be surprised how far that alone will get you- after expressing interest in psych pharmacy and writing, I had mentors hook me up with medical writing and peer-review opportunities with major medical journals. Also, now that I'm in a residency program across the country, I still contact my mentors to get their insight on residency project topics, different perspectives from another facility/region of the country, and PGY2 prospects.
  40. pharmisfun

    pharmisfun

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    I recently decided I to apply for a residency but realize I may not be a great candidate. Looking at the following stats, could you give advice on a) whether I can get one b) what I still have time to do in order to get one
    1. 4th year student having completed three rotations (all 4.0s) including one clinical, with another three clinical coming up
    2.Heavy involvement in APhA as committee chair for two years and placing each year in the patient counseling competition
    3. GPA 3.007 ( this is where I am worried)

    I can get great recommendation letters from my preceptors am passionate about my profession, I just had some bad luck one semester in school.

    Any advice is appreciated!

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