As students prepare themselves for post-graduate training, it can be overwhelming to determine what path to take. If you know what specialty you are already interested in, you are further ahead than you know! In part one of our Q&A panel Dr. Stummer answers questions from one of her pharmacy students, Dominique Jeanty. Part two involves Dr. Mitchell asking her current residents about their perspectives on what questions to ask prospective RPDs.
Dr. Lauren Stummer recently spent time with APPE student, Dominique Jeanty, to discuss the questions about pursuing a PGY2 in psychiatric pharmacy and future career paths:
Dr. Stummer: For someone interested in psychiatric pharmacy, consider applying to PGY1 programs that have psychiatric pharmacy learning experiences or have a PGY2 in psychiatric pharmacy. Ask those programs with a PGY2 if they have an early commitment option, as this can relieve some of the stress of applying to PGY2s. To narrow down your list of potential programs, inquire about what learning experiences the program offers, as well the patient population they serve. Make sure these both align with your career goals. Further items to consider when applying to PGY2 programs are accreditation, quality of the program, what services are provided to patients at the facility, teaching opportunities, and work environment.
Dr. Stummer: There are several different career paths that someone who has completed a PGY2 in psychiatric pharmacy can pursue, such as becoming a clinical psychiatric and/or neurologic pharmacist in the inpatient or outpatient setting, academia, research, pharmaceutical industry, and medical education, to name a few. Many pharmacists can work in a combination of these settings or adapt to different roles throughout their career. To prepare yourself for these positions, I recommend applying to residency programs that have learning experiences in the practice settings of interest, or with the residency program director (RPD) willing and able to create these learning experiences. For example, if you are interested in academia, apply to PGY2 programs that are affiliated with a college of pharmacy and have teaching opportunities. For more details on different career paths in psychiatric pharmacy, please see the careers/residencies tab on the CPNP website.
Dr. Melissa Mitchell sits down with PGY2 residents, Dr. Haley Andrews and Dr. Connie Kang, and PGY1 resident, Dr. Justin Chang:
Dr. Kang: Ask about the roles of the psychiatric pharmacists at your site and their interaction with the interdisciplinary team, collaborative practice agreements and protocols of "medication per pharmacy."
Dr. Chang: Ask what someone would gain from completing a PGY2 versus only a PGY1 here?
Dr. Andrews: What options are available to help residents with burnout and wellness? How does the RPD ensure that the resident’s needs are met?
Dr. Kang: It's important to have your own authority, and to voice any issues you have. Many times, preceptors are very flexible and willing to ensure you have a productive year. Make sure to form a professional and personal relationship with the pharmacists you are working with, as you will work closely with them for at least the next year.
Dr. Chang: Consider your options and career goals over the next 5, 10 or even 20 years. If you are not ready to early commit, you still have the option of going into the match for a residency in your PGY2 specialty of interest.
Dr. Andrews: I think all students should consider the commute you will have as this can affect your mental, emotional, and physical health, which still need to be a priority even in residency.
In summary, Dr. Mitchell reminds that motivation and passion are key to success in residency. Remember it is as important for you, as a student or resident, to feel the residency is a good fit, as much as it is for the program. And make as much as you can out of these years. A residency program can be a great stepping stone for you to begin your dream career serving those living with mental illness.