What is a community-based pharmacy residency?
A community pharmacy residency is a post-graduate training opportunity. In residency, a licensed pharmacist receives additional training under the supervision of a more experienced preceptor.
Tell me about a day in the life of a resident pharmacist at Sona Pharmacy + Clinic?
One of my favorite aspects of being a resident pharmacist at Sona is that every day is different! There are seemingly endless opportunities to put my knowledge to work and touch patient lives. To highlight a few:
I have one official staffing day per week (Wednesday). On this day, I take part in dispensing medications, work with our Sona Access Program, oversee medication therapy management services, and counsel patients on their medications. I am also on the on-call rotation to ensure our Sona patients can reach a pharmacist 24/7.
Sona Access Program
The Sona Access Program is a program focused on assisting complex patients going through a transition of care. Sona Access provides a great deal of patient care services such as: monthly care calls, adherence packaging, medication reconciliation services, and home visits.
My role in the program is primarily focused on assessing the appropriateness of patients’ medication lists and conducting patient home visits. I work with a fantastic team of technicians, pharmacists, and student pharmacists to ensure our patients get the attention and education necessary to take charge of their health.
Sona Benefits is a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) service that partners with businesses that self-fund their health insurance with the goal of reducing overall pharmacy drug spend.
My current role in Sona Benefits is primarily focused on medication management services. As I progress through the year, I will also take on a larger role in the Sona Wellness program, a service designed to help patients with disease states such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and others.
As the resident pharmacist, I have the opportunity to work in a number of clinical capacities throughout Sona.
I would like to highlight two clinical roles that I especially enjoy. Since it is flu season, flu clinics have been a major responsibility! This year, Sona flu clinics have provided hundreds of vaccinations to students, employees, and customers throughout WNC.
Another unique clinical opportunity is consulting for patients in a skilled nursing facility in Asheville. In this role, I evaluate patient charts to ensure that these patients are receiving the best possible care that is consistent with their health goals.
Precepting & Teaching
As a co-preceptor for these programs, I work closely with the students to develop presentations, facilitate topic discussions, and to incorporate them into Sona’s workflow. Moreover, the students have many opportunities to work in various clinical services, such as blood glucose checks or immunization clinics!
I also serve as a teaching assistant for UNC’s Self-Care Therapeutics elective, and help to facilitate immunization training for student pharmacists.
Finally, I have many opportunities to take part in community outreach events throughout WNC.
I volunteer at the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM), a free clinic that provides healthcare for uninsured patients. I am also able to coordinate blood glucose checks and promote educational pharmacy events across the community by partnering with multiple non-profits.
Is your residency limited to the work you do at Sona?
No! In addition to the many opportunities at Sona, I also work closely with an awesome group of co-residents and program directors.
We meet regularly for Seminar to discuss research projects, collaborate on presentations, and learn more about the pharmacy profession. We also travel to each of the nine practice sites within UNC’s community-based pharmacy residency program to learn more about how each pharmacy is uniquely working to advance the profession!
There are also many professional development opportunities through the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC):
– For example, Primary Care Clinical Meetings (PCCM) are weekly sessions that focus on advanced clinical skills for key disease states typically seen by community pharmacists.
– The Teaching and Learning Certificate (TLC) program is a monthly meeting that works to develop the teaching and precepting abilities of new pharmacy practitioners. TLC is especially fun because it allows for a chance to collaborate with residents from both inpatient and ambulatory care settings.
Professional organization involvement has been a key facet of my pharmacy career since school and has continued into residency.
I will attend many meetings throughout the year such as the annual North Carolina Association of Pharmacists (NCAP), American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). These meetings provide networking, continuing education, and opportunities to learn more about the most cutting-edge ideas in pharmacy.
I am especially excited for the APhA Annual Meeting since I will be presenting my research at this time!
Would you recommend community-based pharmacy residency to current student pharmacists?
100%, without question!
When I was researching residency programs as a student, a former resident explained that community-based residency will provide a “toolkit to go and create your own job.” Student pharmacists have an incredible amount of knowledge and skills; during residency, these skills are fine-tuned under the supervision of the brightest minds in community pharmacy.
I feel that anyone with a passion for community pharmacy would benefit tremendously from the opportunities presented by residency!