Student Pharmacist

Written by student pharmacists for student pharmacists, Student Pharmacist magazine provides the latest on career preparation, leadership, legislative activities and advocacy efforts, patient care projects, APhA–ASP Chapter innovations, life on rotation, tips from new practitioners, and more.

Residency challenges me as a leader and clinical pharmacist

Residency challenges me as a leader and clinical pharmacist


Stanley Dowell, PharmD, is a PGY-2 Health System Pharmacy Administration and Leadership Resident at Novant Health in Charlotte, NC.

Health System Pharmacy Administration and Leadership (HSPAL) residencies aim to develop the skills necessary to lead within a variety of health system settings. HSPAL residents quickly transition from student to new practitioner to leader through a combined PGY-1 and PGY-2 program or a stand-alone PGY-2. The HSPAL residency program at Novant Health has helped me develop professionally and personally over the past year, and has challenged me as a leader and clinical pharmacist.

The aim of the first year in a combined program is to develop the strong clinical skills necessary to provide direct patient care in various health system settings. I was quickly able to practice independently and experience the impact that pharmacists have on patient care firsthand. During this time, I also engaged in longitudinal projects with clinical and administrative qualities such as research on antiepileptic dosing in the emergency department and opportunities for implementing pharmacogenomics in inpatient cardiology. My PGY-1 also included administrative elective rotations, such as medication safety, clinical management, and inpatient operations, which made for a well-rounded year.

A well-integrated experience

This year I am excited to dive into all that pharmacy administration has to offer. I will have the opportunity to manage a group of pharmacists and take responsibility for my own initiatives through projects on facility and system levels. My preceptors include leaders in acute and ambulatory settings, and I will have the chance to participate in strategic planning and execution of key initiatives across the pharmacy enterprise. Overall, this year should give me the skills needed to lead as part of a health system pharmacy team after graduation.

The HSPAL program at Novant Health also involves a master’s in health care administration. These classes allow me to focus on the fundamental principles of health care administration and to participate in engaging discussions with other up-and-coming leaders within and outside of pharmacy. The topics discussed in class often crossover into my experiences on rotation, and vice versa, making for a well-integrated experience.

A major advantage to the 2-year structure is I developed an understanding of the organization and a rapport with members of the department before joining the leadership team. This also allowed me to find mentors and establish professional relationships that I am excited to build upon during my second year.

Find a mentor

My strongest piece of advice is to find a mentor. I encourage student pharmacists to find a pharmacy leader who can provide administrative experiences and networking opportunities. While the world of pharmacy is small, the world of pharmacy administration is even smaller, allowing for a great network of young and experienced leaders in the field.

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