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In 1985, Penn State Health established a one-year Pharmacy Practice Residency — a challenging program. With an emphasis on evidence-based pharmacotherapy recommendations, it extends a pharmacist’s training to all aspects of health-system pharmacy practice. It has also been designed to offer flexibility to meet the needs of the individual resident. We encourage you to develop areas of interest and expertise in pharmacy practice.
Today, the Pharmacy Department is proud of the program’s success and of the accomplishments of its residents. The entire department participates in training, enabling the program to achieve a high level of recognition for excellence.
Pharmacy residents in the postgraduate year one (PGY-1) program are immersed in patient care pharmacotherapy opportunities consisting of several different practice areas.
- Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is a large, tertiary care acute adult teaching hospital.
- Penn State Children’s Hospital features the region’s highest level neonatal and pediatric intensive care units.
- Penn State Cancer Institute promotes multidisciplinary approaches to cancer care.
- Each year, the emergency department provides services for more than 70,000 visits. Nearly 30,000 patients are admitted to the hospital, and 1 million outpatient clinic visits occur.
Pharmacy residents are supported in an educationally stimulating academic medical center environment in which 1,700 multidisciplinary trainees are dedicated to extensive learning. The pharmacy department focuses on the comprehensive medication-related needs of its patients, with 200 dedicated team members. Pharmacists precept approximately 100 pharmacy students each year.
In addition to a state-of-the-art automated drug distribution and medication management program, pharmacy preceptors practice as essential members of interdisciplinary patient care teams and clinics. Pharmacists are present in unit-based patient care settings for a variety of areas including medicine, cardiology, surgery and pediatrics, constantly interacting with physicians and other health care providers.
The pharmacy offers decentralized pediatric and adult satellites, outpatient clinics, outpatient pharmacies, an emergency department with 24/7 pharmacist presence, investigational drug services and more. Along with medication order verification, disease state medication dosing, clinical monitoring and pharmacy consults, pharmacy team members focus on bedside patient interactions such as medication reconciliation, medication-focused teaching and discharge counseling. These pharmacy services are supported by more than two dozen clinical specialists and clinical pharmacists practicing side-by-side with physicians and nurses.
Learn More about the Residency
General Application Information
Interested applicants must register with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Residency Matching Program and apply through the Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service (PhORCAS).
To be considered for the Pharmacy Residency, a PhORCAS application and online application must be complete by early January. Exact deadline each year can be found on the ASHP Residency Directory.
Applicants must submit all of the following:
- A PhORCAS application, including a letter of intent that addresses the following points:
- Interests and reason for pursuing a residency
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Leadership experience
- Extracurricular activities
- Career goals for the next five years
- Curriculum vitae
- Official college transcript
- Three letters of recommendation using the standard PhORCAS reference form, including:
- One reference from a current or former pharmacy employer
- Two from a professional colleague such as an advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPE) preceptor and/or college faculty
An online application will be required from candidates offered a formal interview. One may be accessed via Penn State Health Careers by searching the job category of “Pharmacy Resident” and the location “Hershey.”
The program will consider all complete applications received by the deadline, with additional potential benefit of an early offer to interview if all materials are received prior to the deadline for qualified candidates. Candidates chosen for interviews will be contacted as soon as possible to arrange an interview date and time.
Interviews are in person by invitation only, typically conducted mid-January through February. Those invited for an interview will be notified by email and are asked to respond promptly.
The program prefers to interview up to four candidates at a time to create a more personalized experience, yet formal interview times are individualized to create a more personalized experience. Only a small part of the day is done in a joint interview format, during the program overview, presentation and lunch with current residents.
Interview days generally begin between 8 and 9 a.m. and conclude by 3 p.m. The day includes program director and multiple preceptor interviews, lunch with current residents, a tour and a written pharmacotherapy competency assessment. Those invited to interview will be asked to prepare a short “About Me” slide presentation.
The activities in the Pharmacy Residency include the following:
- Patient care team-based rounding
- Patient case presentations and topic discussions
- 24/7 clinical on-call, including ACLS response
- Providers formally consult pharmacy for pharmacokinetic dosing and a wide variety of drug information inquiries. After orientation, each resident serves as “first call” for approximately one day each week in-house, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (on-call is from home during off-hours overnight) with a clinical preceptor assigned as second call available at all times. We require formal documentation in the electronic medical record for each consult patient.
- Hospital pharmacy staffing
- Residents are required to staff every third weekend in eight-hour shifts Saturday and Sunday and one evening every three weeks. This requirement is typically in the central pharmacy with several technicians and additional pharmacists present.
- Longitudinal clinics
- Residents spend an assigned afternoon each week for two-thirds of the year in the anticoagulation clinic, located less than a mile from the medical center. The majority of time is spent in point-of-care direct patient clinic appointments. A specific afternoon of the week is assigned for the year.
- Residents spend an assigned afternoon each week for one-third of the year in either the HIV ambulatory or solid organ transplant ambulatory clinic located at Hershey Medical Center.
- Major research project
- With research project preceptor mentorship, residents complete an original institutional review board (IRB) protocol submission by the end of summer, create an electronic data collection tool and analyze data. Research is presented at the annual Eastern States Residency Conference. The regional conference is typically held each spring in Hershey, and includes residency programs from more than 10 states.
- Medication use evaluation
- Residents will conduct a selected drug use evaluation during the first six months of the program. Results will be presented in poster format at a national residency session immediately prior to the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting.
- Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee
- Residents will serve as secretary assistant to the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee for one to two months during the program year. Each resident also will complete at least one drug monograph for a medication being considered for formulary addition.
- Accredited Continuing Pharmacy Education (ACPE) presentation
- Residents prepare and deliver a continuing education program to the pharmacy department, typically in January, February or March of the program year. Additional teaching opportunities also exist as optional activities.
- Student preceptorship
- Journal club facilitation
- Transition of care
Each of the following services have a minimum of one rotation each.
- Adult critical care
- Adult internal medicine
- Advanced internal medicine
- General pediatrics (if the resident is a previous pediatric APPE, the possibility exists to substitute NICU, PICU or pediatric hematology/oncology)
- Infectious diseases
- Practice management
Each of the following required experiences or training areas continues throughout the program.
- Ambulatory HIV clinic or solid organ transplant clinic (one-third of the year)
- Anticoagulation clinic (two-thirds of the year)
- Drug use policy
- Hospital pharmacy practice
A number of electives are available in the Pharmacy Residency, including:
- Adult bone marrow transplant
- Adult hematology
- Adult oncology
- Advanced internal medicine
- Ambulatory care clinic
- Antimicrobial stewardship
- Emergency medicine
- Family and community medicine inpatient
- General pediatrics
- Heart and vascular intensive care
- HIV ambulatory
- Immunocompromised infectious diseases
- Medical intensive care
- Medication safety
- Neonatal intensive care
- Neuroscience intensive care
- Pediatric hematology/oncology
- Pediatric intensive care
- Solid organ transplant – ambulatory
- Solid organ transplant – inpatient
- Surgical trauma intensive care