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Preparing my residency credentials from p1 year

Discussion in 'Pharmacy Residencies and Fellowships' started by Rutgers2015, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Rutgers2015

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    I will be a p1 this fall and I am really thinking of doing a pgy2 residency. I wanted to know what to do starting this fall to make me look as competitive as possible other than getting straight A's. I've been working at cvs for a year now and I have not been able to find a job in a hospital. So far I have no ECs and no research. What should i realistically be doing?
     
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  3. bacillus1

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    Hospital jobs, ECs and research.
     
  4. xiphoid2010

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    These things and a good GPA really did the trick for me. Applied to 7 and got 7 interviews. Bring your kick ass portfolio to the interview for some show and tell to further seal the deal.

    Hospital job wont be easy to come by, took me until spring of second year to land one. Just have to put yourself out there and keep following up with the hospitals periodically to let them know that you are still interested. Research wise, one approach is to ask intelligent questions during class, get good grades, get noticed then go talk to the professor in the second half of the semester.
     
  5. Rutgers2015

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    Definitely will keep trying on the hospital job, but is research a must? I feel like it's not something I'm really interested in doing, I've always been uncomfortable in the lab.
     
  6. xiphoid2010

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    Not as much as the hospital job, but having a hospital job isn't that rare, so you need other things beyond that to really make you standout from the crowd. Research is probably one of the biggest, since you WILL be doing research during your residency.

    Not all research is in the labs. Clinical studies is probably the best. Talk to the professors who are clinical pharmacists, they are probably doing some retrospective study. So you will likely be doing a lot of gopher work, flipping charts and tabulating data. :laugh:
     
  7. bacillus1

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    Question for you: I never thought of bringing my portfolio to residency interviews. Our school does an online portfolio though. Should I just print out some of the best materials that are in the portfolio and bring them to the interview with me, or will that seem awkward? Or can I just log on to a computer during the interview and show them the portfolio from a computer?
     
  8. xiphoid2010

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    Print it out. You won't be able to ask to borrow their computer and make them wait while you look nervous trying to find the file to pull up. It should easily integrate into the interview process: e.g: Them: Tell us about a time when you demonstrated leadership. You: I volunteered to be chair of XYZ campaign, I did ABC to build consensus among the team members, made sure time tables are followed. Here is what we ended up with (hand a copy over for them to look at, while you keep talking), blah blah blah, and it was a major success!
     
  9. xiphoid2010

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    Double post
     
    #8 xiphoid2010, Aug 10, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  10. Rutgers2015

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    Thank goodness! Thanks for the idea-- I'll keep an eye out for those kinds of opportunities.
     
  11. DHG

    DHG Senior Member
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    Residency programs don't give a hoot about your grades. I mean, they usually have cutoffs, but if you are above the cutoff, a 4.0 doesn't necessarily have a better chance than a 3.3.

    Residency program directors want to see a person with great people-skills, leadership experience, communication skills, the ability to function autonomously (without needing constant supervision and/or support), and the ability to work well in a team.

    Spend more time developing some great patient care or leadership experiences that you can discuss during an interview. Don't worry so much about the grades (within reason).
     
  12. cycloketocaine

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    I think this is true to a point, but I also think that grades are becoming more relevant as the applicants are becoming increasingly competitive.
     
  13. xiphoid2010

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    A reasonable assumption. Also my residency site used a scoring system for everything, so 3.8-4.0 is given 5 points and progressively less points as GPA goes lower. Same goes for work experience, leadership, etc, for a total score that determined which ones to interview. I doubt we are the only one doing that, it just seems to be a more objective system.
     
  14. DHG

    DHG Senior Member
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    Heard this same sentiment from 4 different residency directors (in 3 different states). As an example, during my PGY1 program, the current residents were part of the committee. We used a scoring system like the one mentioned above...a rubric type thing which provided a certain number of points to different GPA ranges. But this really only accounted for a very small portion of the overall score. And believe me, when the committee is sitting around the table discussing the applicants that just interviewed, no one is talking about grades. As long as your grades are "good" there are other vastly more important things that committees are going to be looking at and talking about for potential residents.

    I believe a candidate's efforts would be better spent improving other areas of their the application in lieu of spending a lot of time working on making a 3.8 from a 3.4. Yes grades are important... But much less so than other areas. No one wants a 4.0 with terrible people skills and no good clinical experiences.
     
  15. xiphoid2010

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    Why must people getting 4.0's have bad people skill? :smuggrin: Most of the top students in my school had good people skills and are the presidents/leaders of organizations, constitute the majority of the people going into residency.

    The same people who studied hard for a high GPA is most likely the same people who are mature enough to know what's at stake and put in the efforts in all other areas such as internship and organizations as well. Besides, many of us toss in couple of clinical questions just to see gauge the candidate's knowledge level and thinking process. If he/she didn't study and try to BS... Agreed that grades are more important in the first part of the application process -- getting an interview. The GPA portion counts as ~1/4 of the pre-interview score, and half as much in the post-interview final ranking score. If the interview doesn't happen because the GPA isn't as good as the other applicants, all other talks are moot.

    The bottom line, study hard, work hard, put in more efforts into all areas than most of the competitors/classmates, you'll have your residency. Residency is a career changer, so if serious about it, don't take a chance with it.
     
    #14 xiphoid2010, Sep 4, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  16. KARM12

    KARM12 Super Member
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    I agree 100%. A high GPA does not equate to bad people skills. I know plenty of people with low GPAs and bad people skills. Ususally the people with high GPAs have good time management and organizational skills.

    There are many residency candidates are a total package meaning they have a high GPA, good leadership, and good experience. You need all these things to get the interview.
     
  17. spacecowgirl

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    Ah yes, the SDN fallacy that GPA and social aptitude are mutually exclusive.

    Like PPs said, there are people who will have it all. Be one of them. There's little excuse for a sub 3.0 and really, maintaining a minimum of 3.5 will be a huge asset and is very doable. I don't think residencies nitpick too much among candidates that are in the 3.5 to 4.0 range. But if saw a 3.2, it would take a really good application in every other way to overcome that.
     
  18. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator
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    I don't think all people with high grades have bad people skills. But I have observed a mystifying and disturbing phenonmena... the student with very high grades who seems to know NOTHING in a practical setting. Who excels (does better than me, actually) on multiple choice exams but can't counsel patients on metformin or answer questions like "what does this drug do?"

    Then there are those who know too much. Those who can't formulate a succinct recommendation for a prescriber (two LINES instead of two PAGES please) or figure out which of 1000 adverse effects or drug interactions are actually relevant. They know stuff... lots of things. They can tell you all about it... but can't tell you what's important and what isn't.
     
  19. spacecowgirl

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    I agree, but I think that's really common for most pharmacy students. That is something I work on with my APPE students. School teaches you to be thorough, rotations teach you to be realistic about what is important. It's a learned skill and something I make sure students get practice with on my rotation. Pharmacy school doesn't necessarily teach you to be succinct (I know this, I was a TA during residency, I see what they were taught - oh! the painful letters to prescribers that were pages upon pages) or how to triage problems.
     
  20. Pharmy2012

    Pharmy2012 PharmD, BCPS
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    I have a 3.2, along with one unfortuante "D" on my transcript from the first semester of pharmacology where I was struggling to stay afloat and to deal with some family issues all at the same time. The second half of pharmacology came in the Spring and I got a "B". Do residency directors look specifically at grades like this and throw out our applications alltogether? I just signed up for the Match and am already anticipating (granted I get an interview) that I will have to talk about this. I take full responsibility for my grades, so talking about it isn't the issue. I just worry that my application won't be looked at at all, especially if the transcipt is involved. I have a number of leadership and extra-curricular academic experiences, and have superb verbal and written communication skills. Does any of this count for anything in a residency, or should I just give up and not even bother applying and kiss the $116 Match fee good-bye?
     
  21. spacecowgirl

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    I personally wouldn't look at a transcript grade by grade. But that's just me. I would expect to see great LORs - to me those are really important. And they have to be meaningful, not some generic letter. I can tell the difference. Maybe other people who have been on committees can chime in too.
     
  22. KARM12

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    Agree, as someone who has sat on a residency recruitment committee for 2 different programs at this point. A lower GPA isn't an automatic "no" but there better be a well rounded applicant to back it up. I want people that can manage their time well and handle the demands of residency.
     
    #21 KARM12, Sep 13, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  23. Dalteparin

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    Personally, I don't think a 3.2 is that bad. Sub-3.0, I would worry, but 3-3.5 is OK. If I saw one D or F on a transcript I'd ask the candidate about it, but as long as s/he had a good excuse and repeated the class with a better grade, I wouldn't hold it against them.
     
  24. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn
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    For residencies do the committees weigh hospital experience and community experience differently or is any work experience the important part? I find myself struggling to get A's in the "hardest" classes. B's are easy for me to get. It isn't because I don't understand (I excel in classes like case studies) but I work a lot because I have to for financial reasons. My classmates are extremely competitive and a lot of them have 4.0's so Rho Chi might be out for me. I do work in a hospital and will have great letters of recommendation. I've worked there a long time.
     

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