Preparing to make a difference in community pharmacy practice

Residency

I started working in a community pharmacy when I was in high school, but I didn’t learn about community pharmacy residencies until pharmacy school. As a student pharmacist, I decided I wanted to pursue residency so I could solidify my clinical knowledge, but I also knew I wanted to work with patients in an outpatient setting instead of a hospital. Because of my passion for patient care, community pharmacy, and teaching, I was excited to be offered the community pharmacy residency at SUPERVALU with Cub Pharmacy last year in Minneapolis, MN.

New areas of practice

As the Cub pharmacy resident, I had different responsibilities every day. Two days per week I dispensed prescriptions, counseled patients, and oversaw technicians and students. One day each week, I was a wellness pharmacist for Cub Pharmacy responsible for conducting medication therapy management (MTM) visits for various payers, teaching diabetes education classes to patients, and organizing flu clinics in the community during the fall.

I worked with the pharmacy teams in various Cub Pharmacy locations to recruit patients for these services. After delivering the services, I documented and followed up with the patient and their physicians as needed. Through these programs, I worked with patients of all ages and diverse backgrounds. One of my pharmacies was located in an affluent community, while another was in a primarily low-income neighborhood. Both have given me tremendous insight and experience.

I also participated in a variety of projects as a resident. I conducted an original research project, helped develop a new clinical service, and implemented improvement measures in workflow at various pharmacies. My favorite project during residency was developing an electronic documentation tool for SUPERVALU’s clinical pharmacists to document their MTM visits. Each of these projects introduced me to a new area of pharmacy practice, where I helped the company grow and improved my knowledge of the profession. 

Honing my teaching skills

Teaching was an integral part of my residency. Not only did I help precept student pharmacists on IPPE and APPE rotations, but I also taught in the Pharmaceutical Care Practice Lab 1 half-day each week at the
University of Minnesota (UMN) College of Pharmacy.

I discussed the latest clinical practice guideline updates with second-year student pharmacists and gave third-years feedback on their written and oral communication skills during mock patient visits. Another one-half day per week, I helped precept medical residents at a local primary care clinic. This was not only an opportunity for me to teach the medical residents, but also for me to learn how a physician approaches patient care.

Through the UMN College of Pharmacy Ambulatory Care Residency Program, I took an online Foundations of Teaching course to develop my skills related to teaching. As part of that course, I delivered multiple lectures to other pharmacy residents, medical residents, and student pharmacists, and developed small group activities for student pharmacists.

Opened doors

During my residency, I learned about operations, managed care, advocacy, and education in addition to managing a pharmacy and caring for patients. As a result, I understand how the various parts of pharmacy practice are related, as well as where I can contribute best during of my career. Residency opened so many doors for me and prepared me to contribute to any area of pharmacy practice.

If you are interested in completing a community pharmacy residency, I encourage you to talk with current residents to learn about their day-to-day responsibilities and their longitudinal projects. Ask if you can have an APPE rotation with a clinical pharmacist in a community pharmacy to learn about their job. Volunteer at health fairs in the community during pharmacy school to demonstrate your commitment to community pharmacy and patient care.

I am grateful for what I learned and the relationships I built over the last year, and am confident my residency has made me a better pharmacist. I look forward to continuing to serve patients and the profession.