Advice on becoming a community-based pharmacist practitioner
Community-based pharmacy practitioners always have the eye of the tiger.
Hello, future colleagues! Are you ready for virtual residency showcases? That is the reality this year. While your road to residency will be different from my experience, I can say I am a proud PGY1 community-based residency graduate, and perhaps you will be one day as well. How did I choose my program? Where did it take me? What was the point of it all? I’m here to answer those questions for you.
My first piece of advice is to discover the programs that interest you, but don’t ignore ones you are not familiar with. I first learned about community-based residencies and the program I matched with at a residency showcase. I desperately wanted the unparalleled opportunity for growth that residency provides. Hospital or community? This was a harder decision. I enjoyed both types of practice as an intern. My goal was to pursue excellence and keep learning, not work my way to a specific position. In the end, I applied to a handful in each practice type area.
Wait … I didn’t match? Yes, that happened to me, and it was rough. Rejection hits hard and it feels personal. But I promise you, it’s not. I was a good candidate; I just hadn’t found the right program for me yet. I matched in Phase 2 with—you guessed it—a community-based program. And what a match it turned out to be! I found myself challenged personally and professionally in ways I hadn’t expected. With a great team of mentors who supported my vision, I learned more than I had anticipated. I found the right program thanks to the many pharmacists who reviewed my application and interviewed me, especially those I didn’t match with.
Using what I learned
Community-based pharmacists need broad clinical knowledge, exceptional communication skills, and a strong understanding of the business to be successful. To meet these needs, community-based residencies are designed to dive deeply into a wide range of topics—exactly what I wanted. Community practice varies significantly across the country, meaning community-based residency programs do, too. Finding the right one takes time and sincere communication.
During my residency, I developed a deeper understanding of myself and how to use my skills for the benefit of others. I learned how to operate effectively as a pharmacist in the larger practice of health care, building relationships with patients and providers. I expanded my clinical knowledge by using the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners patient care process. I found a love for mentorship and building professional relationships.
I am a community-based pharmacist practitioner. Because of my residency training, I practice with a level of distinction that has opened other doors for me. For instance, I also serve as a residency coordinator and chair my company’s East Coast quality assurance committee—me, a new practitioner! Each day, I use what I learned in residency. It has prepared me for the long-term pursuit of excellence.
Bethany Abrahams, PharmD, is a Staff Pharmacist and Residency Coordinator for the ACME division of Albertsons Companies in Philadelphia, PA.