In this article five tips for incoming PGY2 pharmacy residents is provided.
Authored by: Timothy P. Gauthier, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCIDP
Article posted: 12 May 2023
The ASHP pharmacy residency match phases 1 and 2 have come to a close. Pharmacy residents are headed for their second year of training and are now lined up to land at the (likely) final destination in their training journey. It is an exciting time.
To help support our future pharmacy specialists, the following five tips for for incoming PGY2 residents are provided…
1. Review your schedule, elective options, and documentation responsibilities
We have to start with the basics in order to adequately orient to future expectations. There are similarities between PGY1 and PGY2 requirements so expect familiar ground, but do not make the mistake of expecting it to be all the same. Review your key requirements with your residency program director (RPD) as part of your orientation.
As residents review the topics they need to cover during their residency, it can be helpful to also include the Board of Pharmacy Specialties examination content outline for the specialty area in addition to ASHP requirements.
New residents should check out the physical and/or electronic portfolios from recent residents. This does not need to be a deep dive, in the early days it is more about having an awareness than knowing a lot of detail.
A status check on which electives seem available or potentially available is something to do at this time too. Electives typically come later in the year so no real need to make firm decisions, but awareness of options is important and things change all the time so what was available when you applied might be different than what is available once you come onboard.
2. Start to diversify your drug information resources for your specialty
In some ways transitioning from PGY1 to PGY2 is like having your educational goals go from a mile wide and an inch deep to an inch wide and a mile deep. Not too say it is as dramatic as the latter part of that statement, but it is a definite narrowing.
Within each pharmacy specialty there will be numerous niche topics for learners to familiarize themselves with. For example in infectious diseases we have things like tropical medicine, travel vaccines, microbiology breakpoints, immunocompromised hosts, infection prevention, and regulatory requirements. These are things which PGY1s likely have limited exposure. Consider what resources you are aware of to answer questions about these topics. It is time to start taking special note and seeking out new resources for all areas of your specialty.
There are a lot of resources, you cannot know all the answers, and you need to know where to look when a random question comes in (especially on a Friday afternoon!). Building a functional resource bank is key.
Core resources can include society guidelines, ACCP Self Assessment Program chapters, review articles, key specialty books (e.g., Mandell in ID) and the like. If you are learning ID, shameless plug for my book Learn Antibiotics too!
I would also check out Twitter, #IDtwitter for example is a fantastic place to learn about new and emerging resources in the specialty of infectious diseases.
3. Establish an open line of communication with your residency program director
Different strokes for different folks!
Your new RPD is an incredibly important person for incoming residents to establish a connection with. Knowing how the RPD communicates is important. Some people prefer face to face while others are fine with a text message or WhatsApp. Some expect more resident autonomy while others desire frequent updates. Things can also change as the residency program progresses.
Setting the expectations takes clear communication. Keeping par with expectations over time also requires good communication. To understand your RPDs preference, pay attention to how they communicate with other people and how other people communicate with them. If you can, ask other preceptors or past residents for tips to establish a good workflow with your particular RPD.
4. Start networking with other infectious diseases pharmacy residents
Sometimes people feel a bit isolated during residency, especially as a PGY2. Networking is beneficial for professional growth and finding potential future job opportunities, but it also can serve as a support system.
All the residents in your specialty are going through very similar experiences. Sharing ideas and being a resource for each other can help establish relationships which are mutually beneficial and could even be life-long.
I would not hesitate to start a WhatsApp group with other residents in your specialty.
You can find people like yourself through colleagues, professional organizations, or social media.
5. Start looking for a natural mentor
Many residency programs will assign a mentor, but it is also good for residents to find someone that they naturally connect with due to similar personalities or whatever may be the reason.
Being able to have open and confidential conversations is crucial to identifying options for resolving issues that arise. Pharmacists are intelligent and highly capable, but that does not mean they have to go it alone because they may be smart enough to figure out a few options to a given issue. An assigned mentor may not be a great fit. Having it on the radar to establish a natural mentor in the first few months of a residency can help set PGY2 residents up for success.
The road to PGY2 is long and winding. The jump from PGY2 to clinician is significant. The PGY2 year is a time to develop a bag of skills and tools so success and happiness can be achieved post-residency.
Wishing the best to the new residents and I hope this blog post helps to stimulate some young minds!
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