Frequently Asked Questions – Pharmacy Residency at St. Charles Hospital

Frequently Asked Questions

How many applications does the Mercy Health St. Charles PGY 1 program receive every year? What is assessed after the application is received? How many candidates are asked to schedule an interview? What happens if I’m offered an interview and how will St. Charles determine my ranking for the National Match? 

For the most recent application cycle, Mercy Health St. Charles PGY 1 received approximately 30 application for its two PGY 1 positions in round one. We did enter round two of the match and received approximately 75 applications for the remaining PGY 1 position. Once an application is received, it is reviewed for completeness. In order to be reviewed, all PGY 1 applications (including letters of recommendation) must be received by the application deadline. Candidates must be eligible for pharmacist licensure in the state of Ohio to apply. 

Each PGY 1 applicant packet is reviewed and scored by the residency program director. Candidates are assessed on the following: communication skills, clinical experience (breadth, performance, scope of activity), personal/environmental factors (maturity, confidence, motivation, adaptability), work experience, aggregate letters of recommendation, leadership/initiative, teaching (interest and/or experience), research (interest and/or experience), extracurricular involvement and academic performance. The score that the candidate receives determines if an on-site interview will be granted. On-site interviews are offered to approximately 10 applicants each year. 

On-site interviews take place during the end of January/February. The interview process consists of three 20-minute interviews. There are two interviews with various residency preceptors as well as an interview with current residents. During all three interviews the candidate is given an opportunity to ask questions about the program/facility. In addition the candidate will present a formal presentation on a topic of their choosing as well as evaluate a patient case provided at the time of interview. Interviews are designed to assess overall fit with the St. Charles PGY 1 residency program based on personal career goals, ability to discuss information presented in the applicant’s curriculum vitae, ability to answer clinical and non-clinical questions, oral communication skills and interpersonal skills. The applicant receives a tour of the facility with current PGY 1 residents and has lunch with the residency program director, current residents and additional faculty. The status of Covid-19 at the time of interviews may necessitate moving to a virtual platform. 
There are approximately nine pharmacists and two residents who sit on the Resident Selection Committee. Applicants are ranked going into the selection meeting based on the scores from the PhORCAS packet review and interview process. A candidate can be moved up or down on the list based on discussion with final rankings being submitted to National Matching Services. 

Is there a preference for in-state or out-of-state pharmacy school graduates? 

There is no preference for in-state or out-of-state graduates. Each applicant is treated equally and is reviewed using the same criteria. Each applicant must be eligible for Ohio state licensure. 

What is the start date for the PGY 1 pharmacy residency program? 

Anticipated program start is the last Monday in June. 

How frequently do I staff in the pharmacy? Will I be required to take home a pager or be on call? 

PGY 1 residents will gain experience in order verification, centralized pharmacy operations, sterile technique and IV additives checking and preparation. Additionally, residents assume the pharmacist in charge role during staffing. PGY 1 residents are not required to carry a pager or take call. Residents are assigned to staff every other weekend. There are no holiday requirements of the resident. 

How are research projects ideas determined? What sort of research skills will I gain and where is my research presented? 

Annually, the residency preceptors develop a list of research projects for the residents to choose from. In addition, the resident is encouraged to bring any ideas for projects they may have developed on their own or seen during APPE/work experience. The list developed in this forum focuses on projects that demonstrate the value of clinical pharmacist services, and/or focus on quality improvement initiatives such as drug safety, optimal medication use, cost effective drug use and efficient, safe and effective medication preparation, delivery and administration. Primary research preceptors are assigned to the projects. 

All projects are of a scope suitable for publication. Projects are presented as posters at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Mercy Health Research Day. The final presentation occurs in spring and is a platform presentation at the Ohio Pharmacy Resident Conference. 

What sort of guidance/mentorship will I receive? 

Each resident spends time during the first few days of the residency with the outgoing residents, who will be able to answer any immediate questions before the program starts. While on service, residents are mentored by our clinical pharmacists and faculty. Preceptors orient the resident to their service and discuss the resident’s expectations. Preceptors meet regularly with the resident to discuss patient cases, topic discussions and clinical pearls. Preceptors also provide guidance on the resident’s approach to student precepting.
How is the resident’s progress monitored? 

After the orientation period, each pharmacy resident will be evaluated by the primary preceptor(s) at midpoint and upon completion of each learning experience and quarterly for longitudinal learning experiences. The resident will also be evaluated quarterly by the residency program director. On-demand evaluations or feedback can occur at any time. 

Where do residents go after completing a Mercy Health St. Charles PGY 1 pharmacy residency? 

During the past five years, most graduates of the PGY 1 program have either pursued additional training PGY 2 or were hired into clinical pharmacist positions at teaching or non-teaching hospitals or organizations. 

Will residents travel to any meetings? 

Pharmacy residents will attend the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and The Ohio Pharmacy Resident Conference. Additionally, pharmacy residents are expected to showcase the residency program on the local level. 

Is there a travel reimbursement policy for residents? 

Travel/meeting expenses are built into the residency stipend. By increasing the stipend to account for expenses anticipated for ASHP Midyear and the Ohio Pharmacy Residency Conference the resident is given the ability to make their own decisions as to how to use the monies and the program does not risk lack of ability to fund due to travel freezes, etc. The increase in stipend is anticipated to cover meeting registration, hotel and airline costs.