ASHP Midyear: Tips for Student Attendees

OCTOBER 10, 2015

ASHP’s Midyear Clinical Meeting is the largest gathering of pharmacy professionals in the world. Last year’s event attracted more than 5000 pharmacy students.

Midyear is a great opportunity to learn about the benefits of completing a pharmacy residency and narrow down a list of programs to pursue. However, it can also be an incredibly overwhelming experience for students. 

Use these tips to plan in advance for this year’s meeting in New Orleans:

Apply to PPS

Personnel Placement Service (PPS) is advertised as the pharmacy industry’s largest and most widely attended national pharmacy recruitment event. At ASHP Midyear, PPS hosts more than 2000 pharmacy candidates and nearly 400 employers.

 

PPS offers students a great opportunity to practice and fine tune their interview skills, gain valuable insight on residency and fellowship programs, and make a great first impression with residency programs.

 

Full PPS registration and resume uploading opened on September 16 for candidates. Beginning October 21, candidates, employers, and jobs will become visible.

 

Candidates will then be able to request interviews with employers, and employers will be able to view the resume database and contact candidates. Since PPS interview spots can fill up quickly, it’s important to upload your resume and request interviews as soon as possible.

 

PPS will be open at ASHP Midyear on Sunday, December 6, through Wednesday, December 9, from 7:30 am to 5 pm.

 

Students should keep in mind that some programs may not participate in PPS. If this is the case for a program you’re interested in, then be sure to stop by that program’s booth at the residency showcase.

 

Note that PPS does not replace on-site interviews for residency programs.

 

Come prepared

Before traveling to New Orleans, it’s crucial to prepare for the conference. This means printing 10 to 20 copies of your most up-to-date CV, reviewing residency programs to determine which ones you will want to devote your time to during the residency showcase, and coming up with a list of questions to ask current residents and residency directors at the residency showcase and PPS.

 

Other items to bring along include professional business attire, business cards, and a schedule of all the events at ASHP Midyear.

 

If you’re bringing a poster for the student poster session, then it may be beneficial to purchase a poster tube container at any office supply store. Keep in mind that some airlines will require you to check the poster tube for an additional fee. 

 

Attend student sessions

At this year’s Midyear, ASHP is hosting more than 150 education sessions on a variety of pharmacy-related topics. There is also a packed schedule for pharmacy student programming. 

Although it can be tempting to skip some of the meetings for CE events or sightseeing, be sure to attend some of the more important student sessions. Key student meetings this year include Mysteries of “the Match,” Navigating the Residency Application Process, PhORCAS, and Effective CV and Resume Writing.

P1-P3 pharmacy students should also attend Fundamental Strategies to Secure a Residency: Getting a Head Start as a P1-P3.

And don’t miss the keynote address featuring former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush.

ASHP’s mobile app will include all conference details such as schedule at a glance, special events, and exhibit information.


Set a plan for the residency showcase
The residency showcase allows students to meet with representatives from hundreds of residency programs across the country.

Although this was a beneficial experience for me, it was far more stressful then I had imaged. Just picture thousands of pharmacy students packed into a single conference room to speak with representatives from hundreds of residency programs.

Arrive at the residency showcase early and expect big crowds of people at most residency booths. Be patient and wait your turn to discuss the program with one of the representatives.

When speaking with current residents and residency directors, it’s important to be engaging. Do your homework on the programs to ask intelligent and thoughtful questions. This will help you stand out and get answers that will help narrow down your decision when ultimately where you’ll apply.

 

At this year’s Midyear, there are 3 time slots for the Residency Showcase:

·      1 pm to 4 pm on Monday, December 7

·      8 am to 11 am on Tuesday, December 8

·      1 pm to 4 pm on Tuesday, December 8

 

Keep in mind that each program will only be available during 1 of these 3 time slots, so plan accordingly. Business attire is recommended for the showcase.


Present a poster

ASHP will publish a document listing all poster presenter names, session/board number, and the date and time for presenting.

 

Be sure to arrive early to set up your poster. When presenting, be confident and prepared.

 

If you have a picture or chart on your poster, then be prepared to fully explain its purpose. If someone walks up to your poster, have a 30-second summary prepared to explain your topic and findings, and then to expand upon further if asked.

 

Try to avoid spending the entire session talking to friends or those around you. Otherwise, attendees will not likely stop at your poster.

 

When you’re not presenting, walk across the floor and see what poster topics other students are presenting.


Network

Although it may be tempting to stick with your group of friends for the entire conference, networking is the key to success. By networking with other attendees, you can acquire career information, advice, and other opportunities. 

 

Speak with as many current residents, residency directors, and pharmacists that you can. Additionally, attend all networking events at Midyear.

 

Many pharmacy schools, residency programs, and pharmacy organizations will host networking sessions at night, which can be great opportunities to meet people from across the country.


Have fun

Although Midyear is an important event for learning about residency programs and potentially narrowing down your selection, it’s important to relax and have a good time.

 

New Orleans is a great city with tremendous cuisine and nightlife. After your meetings are over, cut loose and have some fun!

Timothy O'Shea, PharmD
Timothy O'Shea, PharmD
Timothy O'Shea, PharmD, is a Clinical Pharmacist working at a large health insurance plan on the east coast. Additionally he works per diem at a retail pharmacy chain. He graduated from MCPHS University - Boston in 2015 and subsequently completed a PGY-1 Managed Care Pharmacy Residency. His professional interests include pharmacy legislation and managed care pharmacy. He can be followed on Twitter at @toshea125.
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