Pharmacy Residency FAQ
How is pharmacy integrated into the health care team (i.e. what kind of relationships do pharmacists have with other providers)?
Dr. Kelli Cunningham: Our relationship with providers is one of the reasons I love working at UnityPoint Health – Des Moines. Our providers truly value our input and seek us out if we are not in rounds. We are considered an integral part of the medical team and are able to practice at the top of our license due to the amount of respect we hold on the team.
What is the overall relationship like between residency preceptors and the residents?
Dr. Kelli Cunningham: Our preceptors truly care about the residents – their success and as individuals. We get to know the residents on a personal level due to the amount of time we spend with them on learning experiences throughout the year. We all invest a lot of our time and energy into helping them grow into successful pharmacists and individuals and we value their input in making changes to the residency program to help train the next generation of pharmacy practice residents.
For the longitudinal research project component, how are topics chosen - are they assigned to you or are you required to formulate your own idea(s) for research?
Dr. Laura Elliott: The residency preceptor group and leadership develop a list of potential research topics prior to the residency year kicking off. The list is based on needs at either the local or system level for quality improvement or are thought to be impactful. We are also open to ideas that residents bring and encourage exploration of their own personal areas of interest. We've had two years in a row where residents have developed their own project ideas and carried them out with great success.
What is something that you feel is unique to this residency program?
Dr. Amanda Bushman: It is small enough to know everyone and foster relationships yet large enough to offer diverse patient care, opportunities, and resources.
Dr. Allie Schlicher: There are a large number of elective rotations that provide flexibility for the resident to complete two- or four-week rotations, so each resident can adapt the schedule to meet their interest areas. Iowa is very pro-pharmacy and we have developed 25+ collaborative practice agreements so we have a lot of autonomy to provide patient care. Collaborative practice agreements include – vancomycin, aminoglycoside, warfarin, parenteral nutrition, electrolyte management, asplenia, oncology dose rounding, IV to PO and many, many more.
What opportunities are there for residents to teach – both formally or informally (i.e. IPPE students, APPE students, medical residents, association with a college of pharmacy, etc.)?
Dr. Allie Schlicher: The residents informally teach P4 students on many rotations (pediatrics, internal medicine, ID, etc.). The resident will often "run the list" with the student prior to rounds to answer any questions that might arise. In addition, the residents have a wonderful opportunity to co-teach a laboratory elective at Drake University in the spring. Each resident is responsible for communicating with students, developing and presenting lectures, creating active learning activities and writing exam questions. During their residency year, they will also attend the new faculty development series and earn a teaching certificate. Most residents find this to be a very rewarding part of residency!
What changes do you foresee happening with the residency program in the near future?
Dr. Allie Schlicher: Our elective rotation options will continue to expand – we are currently looking into a psychiatry elective. Our program would love to expand to include a PGY-2 program in ID.
In what areas have past residents found employment??
Dr. Allie Schlicher: Residents that graduate from our program are extremely well-rounded. A large number of residents have chosen to stay on at UnityPoint Health – Des Moines! Other residents have pursued additional residencies in oncology, ID and administration, or have taken clinical pharmacist positions at other hospitals.
What opportunities for electives are available to residents??
Dr. Allie Schlicher: Since I graduated from this residency 10 years ago – the electives have multiplied as our pharmacy team continues to become established in different areas of the health care teams. We now offer palliative care (pediatric and adult), pediatric infectious disease, PICU, hematology/oncology (pediatric and adult), kidney transplant, trauma/surgery, emergency department and cardiology. The residents will often work directly with the physicians and resident physicians to provide direct patient care.
What are the staffing requirements for this residency??
Dr. Allie Schlicher: Residents will complete an orientation month in July to familiarize themselves with EPIC, our collaborative practice agreements and the hospital's policies and procedures. After orientation, the residents will staff every third weekend (7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.). On the weekends, pharmacists are centralized in the main pharmacy to verify orders and complete consults. Additionally, they send up first doses of medications, answer phone calls, check oral syringes, fill the narcotic safe and complete consults. The resident will staff one evening each week, except the week after their weekend (these hours are 3:30 – 9 p.m.). During staffing shifts, the resident will cover internal medicine or surgery floors. The resident will be responsible for verifying orders, completing new and continuing consults, obtaining medication histories and performing chart reviews as needed.
What do you like best about living in Des Moines??
Dr. Kelli Cunningham: I love Des Moines! It's a wonderfully kept secret in the Midwest offering some unique and great places to eat, craft breweries, hundreds of miles of bike trails around the metro and surrounding communities, great art and theatre culture and a short commute (even from the suburbs!).