Community Pharmacy Resident Q&A

Aside from the holidays, late December means one thing to pharmacy students: residency applications.

Aside from the holidays, late December means one thing to pharmacy students: residency applications.

Residency candidates are meticulously researching programs, drafting letters of intent, requesting transcripts, and submitting applications to the Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service (PhORCAS). Many categories of PGY1 residency programs have been developed over the years, including pharmacy practice, managed care, and community pharmacy.

I sat down with current PGY1 community pharmacy resident Emma Sew Hoy, PharmD, to discuss why she chose a community program and what advice she has for those currently in the application process.

Q: What is a community pharmacy residency program?

ESH: A community pharmacy residency program is a postgraduate year of training for pharmacists who aspire to advance community pharmacy practice. These programs are typically a partnership between a school of pharmacy and an independent, supermarket, or large chain community pharmacy.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the American Pharmacists Association both hold community pharmacy residency programs to rigorous accreditation standards.

Community pharmacy residents gain a breadth of experience spanning community pharmacy practice, management, ambulatory care, teaching, and research. Programs also challenge residents to advance their clinical skills, actively participate in professional advocacy efforts, and develop patient care services.

With a wide array of learning opportunities, community pharmacy residencies seek to cultivate future pharmacy leaders.

Q: Why did you choose to pursue a community pharmacy residency?

ESH: I have always had a passion for community pharmacy, and I am particularly intrigued by the potential positive impact community pharmacists have due to their accessibility to the public.

Seeing our patients regularly in the pharmacy fosters strong pharmacist-patient relationships. Through these relationships, we can address side effects, discuss drug and disease monitoring, support adherence, and provide convenient yet important services such as immunizations. Community pharmacists also advise patients on appropriate self-care measures, and importantly, they use clinical judgment to refer patients for medical evaluation when necessary.

With recent provider status and expanded scope of practice in California, and with federal provider status on the horizon, community pharmacists will soon offer additional clinical services. These patient care services will allow us to work towards the top of our license and become integral members of the healthcare team.

When considering my career options, I saw a great opportunity to bridge the gap between current community pharmacy practice and my ideal vision for a more patient-centered community pharmacy. A community pharmacy residency was a comprehensive and structured option for me to grow professionally and personally and to work towards becoming an effective agent of change as the profession continues to progress.

Q: What advice do you have for students applying to community pharmacy residency programs?

ESH: Like other residency programs, community pharmacy residencies have an intensive application process and seek well-rounded candidates. Strong candidates are those who can draw from their personal experiences and awareness of current pharmacy affairs to illustrate their motivation and aspirations for a career in community pharmacy.

I recommend reaching out to past and current residents, residency program directors, and preceptors to understand each program and see if it would be a good fit for you. Most importantly, be open to learning, stay true to yourself, and prepare for change.

It is an exciting time to get involved in community pharmacy, and a community pharmacy residency is a great investment that can catalyze your career.