The timing of this blog post is perfect because Amber Korn, our first community pharmacy resident, recently completed her community pharmacy residency. Thank you Amber for being the best first resident we could have asked for, for being you, and for all your hard work along the way! We all enjoyed getting to work with you and watch you grow professionally over the last year. Congratulations and best wishes on your next steps in South Carolina!
Have you ever heard the term “residency” before?
Many people have, but most think of how residency pertains to a doctor’s medical training. A handful of people have heard of pharmacy residencies, but often associate them with teaching hospitals and pharmacists that round with providers at hospitals. Not as many individuals have heard about a community pharmacy residency, or understand the difference between hospital and community pharmacy residencies.
What is a community pharmacy residency?
A community pharmacy residency is an extra year of training for a licensed pharmacist in a community pharmacy setting. This extra year allows the resident to be a licensed pharmacist while receiving extra training, preceptorship, and mentorship in other areas of pharmacy practice.
A community pharmacy residency differs from hospital pharmacy residencies in that the resident does not work in specific fields for a short amount of time. For example, in a hospital setting a resident might be on a cardiology rotation one month, and then an infectious disease rotation next month. Community pharmacy residents are at the same pharmacy for the entire year. They complete the activities of a staff/clinical pharmacist, conduct multiple projects, precept pharmacy students, teach at the school of pharmacy, and grow relationships with patients for twelve months. These experiences allow the resident to understand the depth and breadth of community pharmacy, and helps them to make a difference in the lives of patients by continuing to work with them all year.
In addition to these responsibilities, community pharmacy residents also complete a research project and a business plan. Based on the experiences community pharmacy residents are exposed to and expected to complete throughout the program, it is stated that one year of residency is equivalent to three to five years of practice.
Why would a pharmacist want to complete a community pharmacy residency?
I completed a community pharmacy residency because I wanted to provide more one-on-one patient care, become a preceptor for pharmacy students, learn the business side of pharmacy, and move the pharmacy profession forward.
At the time I started my residency, I thought I wanted to go back and own a pharmacy in my hometown. Working at Sona has allowed me to be involved in the business side of pharmacy while providing, developing, and growing clinical services.
Today community pharmacists want to work with and educate patients on medications and disease states, providing vaccinations, performing medication reconciliations, completing medication reviews, and creating new clinical programs. A community pharmacy residency allows pharmacists to obtain positions where they are free to provide more hands-on patient care and create clinical programs, verses simply checking prescriptions all day.
When I interviewed for a position at Blue Ridge Pharmacy, Sona Pharmacy’s parent company, I spoke to my experiences as a community pharmacy resident and preceptor.
Within weeks of being with Sona, I saw all the wonderful things we were doing for patients in Western North Carolina. Our Sona Access program (a transition of care/continuation of care program that offers adherence packaging, free delivery, etc.) was a program that I thought would be a great learning opportunity for a community pharmacy resident. Amber worked with this program for a significant amount of time and I think she would agree it was rewarding.
UNC’s Community Pharmacy Residency Program – Shaping the Future
UNC’s community pharmacy residency program was established in 2000, and is one of the oldest accredited programs of its kind in the nation. Sona Pharmacy is the only independent pharmacy in Asheville that is a residency site for UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Community Pharmacy Residency Program.
Why did Sona want to be part of such a unique program?
We love independent pharmacy and continually push the envelope of what community pharmacy is and can be. We want to train other pharmacists that have the same vision and passion to continuing pushing the envelope forward for our profession, whether it’s in North Carolina or elsewhere.
The role of the pharmacist is changing and the next generation of pharmacists are our future – we want to help shape them!
Stay tuned next week for our newest community pharmacy resident, Deven Jackson’s, first blog post!