Wednesday, May 6, 2020

This year, 46 University of Iowa College of Pharmacy PharmD graduates—representing 44% of the graduating class of 2020—are heading off to pharmacy residency programs. Placement exceeds the national match rate by nearly 10%!   

Pharmacy residencies are specialized on-the-job training programs supervised by highly skilled mentors at their workplaces. Most residencies are one year in duration, though many residents continue with an additional year of more specialized training (e.g., Oncology, Critical Care, or Pain & Palliative Care).

You can find residents working to improve patient care at community pharmacies, in a clinic-based setting, as a vital member of a hospital health care team, or even on Capitol Hill bringing grassroots pharmacists’ messages to lawmakers. Residents gain the equivalent of 3-5 years of job experience per residency year.

We reached out to a few class of 2020 graduating students who will be training with a Post Graduate Year 1 (PGY1) Residency starting in July. We asked them why they chose to rank their residency program, what excited them the most, and how their experience might be affected by COVID-19. Here are some highlighted responses.

Michelle Jakaitis - Matched to Iowa City VA
Health Care System, Iowa City, IA


Michelle Jakaitis

I'm most excited about becoming more independent in practice. As a P4, I almost always ran my recommendations and ideas by my preceptor before informing the care team or patient. Residency will allow me to be more confident in my recommendations, but I'll also have more experienced pharmacists to learn from when I'm unsure.


Samantha Meyer - Matched to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics


Samantha Meyer

I chose UIHC because I loved the different opportunities that are available for pharmacy residents to explore, their teaching opportunities are one of the best, and the working environment at UIHC is very positive. I have had a few rotations at UIHC prior to applying for their residency program and I enjoyed everyone I worked with. It truly felt like home to me and I'm very excited to start my career here!


Marjorie "Margie" Peck - Matched to Franciscan Health, Indianapolis


Marjorie Peck

Because COVID-19 will continue to impact the healthcare industry in many unprecedented ways, I expect that pharmacy residency programs will respond with additional flexibility and creativity in how ASHP clinical competencies are met. Depending on the trajectory of current social distancing recommendations, I can foresee more opportunities to engage in virtual learning through the creation and presentation of pharmacotherapy educational materials. Lastly, I unfortunately anticipate reductions or limitations in direct patient contact—at least until the spread is contained—to help minimize the risk of disease transmission.


Austin Sack - Matched to University of Chicago Medical Center


Austin Sack

What drew me to UChicago Medicine is the strength of their clinical program, the pediatric opportunities at Comer Children's Hospital, and the leadership team I would be learning from during my administrative rotations. I think it's important for pharmacy administrators to be strong clinicians first and this residency program prides itself on having a clinically intense PGY1 [first-year residency]. I also wanted to be at a large healthcare system to see a variety of administrative roles as a PGY2 [second-year residency].