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Tips for Residency Showcase

Please Note: This resource was created for an in-person event. Though much of it is still relevant, please keep in mind that PPS will be conducted virtually in 2020.

To be sure, the Residency Showcase provides potential residency applicants the convenience of one location in which to meet with representatives from hundreds of postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) and postgraduate year 2 (PGY2) pharmacy residency programs across the country.

But the immensity of the showcase, with each residency program appearing only once during the three three-hour sessions, means that potential applicants must make the best use of their time.

ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting News & Views asked several residency program directors who are members of the ASHP Council on Credentialing to offer two tips for getting the most out of Residency Showcase.

Here are their tips.

Julie K. Dagam, Pharm.D., BCPS
PGY1 Pharmacy
Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center — Aurora Health Care Metro, Inc., Milwaukee, Wis.

1. Come to Residency Showcase with a plan. Research in advance which programs you plan to visit during each session and start visiting programs right when the session opens. You want to give yourself enough time to stop by the booths of all the programs you are considering, and you'll be surprised how quickly the time flies!

2. Come prepared with questions specific to each program you plan to visit. Avoid asking questions whose answers can easily be found on the program's website or promotional materials. Instead, write down two or three key questions for each program and ask them — a unique, thoughtful question will help you gain insight into the program and will help you stand out from other candidates!

Beth Bryles Phillips, Pharm.D., BCPS, FASHP, FCCP
PGY2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy
University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, Athens

1. Be sure to sign in at each program booth you speak with during the showcase. Many programs use this as a way to keep track of interested candidates, and this is a great way to be remembered during the residency application process.

2. Don't be shy about approaching a booth surrounded by lots of students during the showcase. Most of the applicants at the booth will be waiting to speak with PGY1 residents, preceptors, and program directors. Chances are a representative from the PGY2 program will be available to speak with you about their program.

Joseph J. Saseen, Pharm.D., BCACP, BCPS
PGY2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy
University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy, Aurora

1. You only have one chance at a good first impression. Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior and be a good listener. Remember that these encounters are brief and general in nature. Keep your composure, be thoughtful in your questions and responses, and dress for success.

2. Go with the flow. The Residency Showcase can be stressful, chaotic, and basically a free-for-all circus at times. Try to be as relaxed and flexible as possible while waiting to talk to people, listening in on other conversations in a non-interrupting manner. Everything in your plan may not flow according to your schedule so roll with the punches and appear overall pleasant.

Harminder K. Sikand, Pharm.D., FASHP, FCSHP
PGY1 Pharmacy
Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego, Calif.

1. Before visiting a program's booth, be aware of the difference between a residency in an academic environment with medical interns (as at pharmacy school–affiliated hospitals and community-based teaching institutions) and a residency in a community-based setting (where there are no medical interns and medical rounds are generally led by an attending physician). Determine if you are comfortable with the layered learning model.

2. Ask a pertinent clinical or operational question that you really care about and that comes from your experiences as a student. For example, Do your pharmacists have prescribing authority? Do you use automated dispensing devices? Do you have CPOE?

Suzanne M. Turner, Pharm.D, FASHP
PGY1 Pharmacy
Lee Memorial Hospital, Fort Myers, Fla.

1. When you ask questions, be sure to understand the question you are asking, anticipate what the potential answers will be, and have some follow-up questions or comments ready based on the response. This will lead to a short, memorable conversation that will provide more insight into the program. For example, students will often ask if a program offers a teaching certificate program without really understanding what a teaching certificate is or how it will impact their residency training.

2. Don't travel in a pack!


In Addition ... 

ASHP Accreditation Services Division offers the following tips to potential residency applicants visiting the Residency Showcase.

  • Know at which session each residency program you want to visit is scheduled to exhibit. A residency program exhibits only once: Monday afternoon (booth numbers in the 4000s), Tuesday morning (5000s), or Tuesday afternoon (6000s).
  • Consult the posters in the hall if you need guidance to locations. The four-digit booth number denotes session and location.
  • Access the online list of programs before entering the showcase. Wi-Fi is not available there.
  • Go to the Residency Showcase Information Desk in the hall if you still have questions. Accreditation Services Division staff members will be at the booth during each showcase session.
  • Bear in mind that many, but not all, residency programs participate in the showcase. You may need to directly contact programs that did not exhibit.
  • Tailor your questions to the program. Ask questions that show you've done your research. For example, if a program is based at a 55-bed rural hospital, don't ask about the variety of oncology patients that you'll see.
  • Be respectful of each representative's time. If multiple program representatives are available, rotate among them and vary your questions to get a better overall feel for the program while meeting as many people as possible. Take the opportunity to meet the residents or preceptors for the program if the director is busy with other potential candidates.
  • Come prepared with a pen and notepad to jot down notes.