Things are getting hectic


In order to speak honestly and openly with you, I write this column anonymously under the name “Alison.” It is my hope to provide you with insights about rotations and the many 
pharmacy opportunities I encounter.

Welcome back as we journey through these last few months of pharmacy school. As APPE rotations are winding down and graduation is nearing, there is more excitement than I am capable of describing. Close to a decade of college and professional school and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And let me tell you something, I have never been more excited to wear that poufy, less-than-flattering, graduation cap. However, the stress still seems to be never-ending. 

During my third year of pharmacy school, I decided that I wanted to pursue a residency upon graduation. This means I recently spent a lot of time in the thick of applications, letters of intent, and, fingers crossed, lots of interviews. If you too are in the same boat as I am, you are likely experiencing the same nervousness.

Additionally, in February, I finished my second-to-last rotation at an inpatient rehabilitation hospital. There’s a lot going on! 

Quality time with patients

Most, if not all, of my patients at the rehabilitation hospital had suffered from strokes, spinal cord injuries, or traumatic brain injuries. I am not sure why, but I didn’t anticipate working with these types of patients, but I also didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. With this hospital having fewer than 100 beds, I was able to spend quality time with patients, getting to know them as people rather than just patients. 

As my APPE rotations are starting to come to an end, I am really thankful for the broad range of patients I have had the chance to work with this year. Initially, I was hoping to spend more time in general acute care than I had, but after some reflection, I think it was best that I had a chance to have different experiences. Though I may not want to specialize in some of these areas, I do know that when I eventually staff on a weekend or at night, I will feel comfortable in my knowledge of these conditions and know how to take care of these patients. That is what is most important to me. 

A draining and humbling

Due to my previous rotation being at a smaller bed hospital, I was also able to spend much needed time working on my residency applications. I thought the application and interview process for pharmacy school was worse than pharmacy school itself, and didn’t think it could get worse. I was wrong. Oh, so wrong. Those of you going through this process with me likely understand. 

Applying for residency has been draining and humbling all at the same time. Draining because when you submit your application, you immediately hold your breath, waiting for the e-mails offering you interviews to start rolling in. Every time the phone rings, your heart stops for a quick second, and you pick up that phone faster than someone turning around to fire their gun in an old western duel. Don’t get me wrong, this process has been as pleasant as it can be; however, knowing that the future is unknown up until Match Day is scary. 

This process is humbling because despite the hard work that you put into school, holding leadership positions, doing research, and more, you are not guaranteed an interview at your top residency program. There is a lot of excitement when you get those e-mails that ask you to come interview. However, your ego gets a little bruised when you don’t get an offer, but maybe that is a good thing. 

This isn’t meant to further induce stress in those applying, and it certainly shouldn’t deter those who hope to apply in the future. I decided later in my pharmacy education that I wanted to pursue a residency, but I still felt prepared going into this year. So if you aren’t sure yet what is ahead for you, keep your options open and don’t count yourself out. To all of my fellow final-year student pharmacists that are pursuing residency, I wish you the best of luck throughout the interview process and Match Day! 

I could use sage advice from some new practitioners 

For our Preceptor Feedback authors: I am constantly being told that completing residency somewhere you do not like is better than no residency at all. What are your thoughts on that? Part of me believes that you can do anything for a year, but ultimately, is it worth being somewhere you despise? Do you a rank a program that you are unsure about?

Until next time, y’all!