What is a Pharmacy Residency all about?

One thing I wish I had read prior to interviewing for residency was the Resident’s Guide to the RLS. RLS stands for the Residency Learning System, and discusses all the reasoning behind the designing of the infamous Resi-Trak, the headache of most residents (and probably directors too). More about that later. The Guide tells you about WHAT you are supposed to get out of a residency, what the program can EXPECT from YOU, but also what YOU can EXPECT from your program. Ah, expectations! Clear cut expectations are critical to successful coordination of efforts.

You have a RIGHT to ask for feedback. In fact, it is your JOB to ask for feedback. The idea behind a residency is to learn to be a self-sufficient, quality-focused, competent practitioner. It is supposed to help you learn to self-assess, which requires feedback. This is because many of us get out into the workforce without knowing how to assess our performance. We graduate, and suddenly we are in a position where feedback is probably not available on your performance. If you have a job where the expectations are clearly outlined, kudos to your workplace. If you have regular reviews as a new pharmacist about your performance, more kudos. The likelihood of having this in a new job…..LOW.

So, homework for those P4’s that just finished your residency interviews, and for the P3’s looking at places to interview at next year: READ THE RESIDENT’S GUIDE TO THE RLS. P4’s, do this before you RANK your programs in THE MATCH. P3’s, do this before ASHP Midyear next year. You will be thankful you did. If the program doesn’t help you in the context of the RLS, then you may get a lot of clinical experience, but you won’t get the MENTORSHIP that will take you to the next level when you are practicing alone.

Good luck to those of you participating in THE MATCH!