Our Top Takeaways from Shepherd Center’s Pharmacy Residency Program
By Kristina Carbone, PharmD, and Julie Parker, PharmD, MSHI
As a leading neurorehabilitation hospital, Shepherd Center takes pride in educating the next generation of clinicians through fellowship programs. Shepherd Center’s pharmacy residency program aims to prepare graduate pharmacists for medication-related care for various conditions. As this year’s residency ends, our two program residents reflect on what they’ve learned.
We started this residency year ready to learn and grow into the best pharmacists that Shepherd Center could prepare us to be! While this year has been one of the most challenging – if not the most challenging – years we have ever experienced, it has also been the most rewarding. There were long nights, a lot of coffee, and some tears along the way. Now that we have made it through, we can’t believe how much we have developed, and we are endlessly thankful for our incredible experience!
Here are our top 5 takeaways from our residency year:
- Organization – You can’t be prepared enough when starting residency.
- We both started residency thinking organization was a strength with our calendars ready to go and fill out. We quickly realized that residency requires a new level of organization, and Outlook became our best friend. Triaging was an essential process we learned as we had long to-do lists and not enough time in the day to accomplish it all.
- Guidelines – They never end, and you never know it all.
- New research is constantly being done in the medical world, and we have become well equipped to always search for the most up-to-date guidelines, even presenting on a handful of them! We learned that we will never know everything, as frustrating as it may be. And that’s okay – because we know where to find the answer. “I don’t know, but I’ll look it up and get back to you,” is a landmark phrase during residency.
- Feedback – You will get it…all day, every day.
- Feedback is a natural component of learning, and incorporating that feedback is even more valuable. Not all feedback is positive feedback. The key to residency is taking constructive feedback and building something with it. As first-year residents, we have not only been able to receive feedback but also provide it to improve the program for future residents!
- Leadership – It fuels us.
- We both came into residency with leadership experience from pharmacy school and hit the ground running with our involvement in various committees. From creating protocols to completing Medication Use Evaluations to developing new initiatives, being leaders in our organizations has fueled us through the burnout that is inevitable during residency. Our confidence has grown, we’ve stopped saying “um” during presentations, and we do it all for the care of our patients!
- Community – It doesn’t get better than Shepherd Center.
- Finally, this year would not have been the same if it had not been for the remarkable people we were able to work with. This includes not just our fellow pharmacists and preceptors but every single specialty that was involved in our residency program and all the inspiring patients we were fortunate to meet and take care of along the way. Endless thank yous are necessary for everyone who was involved in our learning and for making this the most warm and welcoming environment for the most stringent year.
We hope these takeaways share our unique experience and can help prepare new residents for what to expect during a difficult but enriching and fulfilling year ahead! Finally, as we always say, teamwork makes the dream work!
You can learn more about Shepherd Center’s pharmacy residency at shepherd.org/pharmacyresidency.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.