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Different Perspectives of American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Mid-Year: A Closer Lo

Friday, December 23, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Elizabeth Maynard
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Different Perspectives of American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Mid-Year: A Closer Look from P3 to Resident Levels

Introduction Author: Sejal H. Patel, PharmD, BCPS

As you know the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Mid-Year Clinical Meeting and Exhibition is the largest and longest running clinical meeting in the country!  Here are some facts below about ASHP and this Meeting:

·        First ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting held in 1966

·        ASHP Person Placement Service (PPS)  started in 1971

·        First Residency Showcase held at Midyear in 1976

·        ASHP Midyear attendance hits a whopping number of 10,000 attendees in 1985!

·        In 2012, Past President Bill Clinton gives keynote address! That year there was a record-breaking number of attendees – over 22,000 people!

Students, residents, technicians, and pharmacists from all over come to this Meeting for various reasons: PPS placement, Residency Showcase, job hunting, continuing education (CE), etc. It seems to grow every year! Let’s hear from various perspectives from a Student Pharmacists ranging from third Professional years to PharmD candidates in their last year about to graduate looking for Residencies and Fellowships to a Pharmacy Practice Resident who has been through it all!

The First Outlook: A Perspective Prior to Going to Mid-Year

Author: Gianna Girone, 2018 PharmD Candidate, Jefferson College of Pharmacy

Since my first year of pharmacy school, I’ve known that I would be travelling to ASHP’s mid-year conference with the prospect of seeking out residency information and to network with my pharmacy peers from all over the country. Now that I am a P3, my attendance at mid-year is only a year away. After the current P4 students returned from Las Vegas, I was really excited to hear about their experiences and see their pictures. Their recounts of the residency showcase, fellowship interviews and poster presentations have inspired me to keep a few important affirmations in mind for my own future mid-year experience: come prepared, have fun, and be your best possible “you”.

Although I am a year away from travelling to mid-year, I have started to think about and prepare for the experience. Over the next year it will be important for me to connect with classmates and alumni who have attended in previous years, and professors who can provide me with good advice. Whether it is keeping my CV up to date, combing through the residency directory, or getting personal business cards made, I know that acting early will allow me to have the best possible (and least stressful!) mid-year experience. 

The Next Outlook: Advice from Two PharmD Candidates Actively Seeking Residencies at Midyear

Authors: Maura Jones and Rory Moran, 2017 PharmD Candidates, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy

So you made it to Midyear. Midyear for residency search is about you, as the student, finding programs that will fit your criteria. If it just so happens the program also recruits you that is an added benefit. With that said, you want to find the programs promoting their own selves as much as you promote yourself.

There are multiple ways to promote your own self.  First and foremost, they are by using Curriculum Vitae (CV) and business cards - a hard copy document that the program can take back with them in the hopes to remember you by.  Your CV/resume should be as up to date as possible before attending midyear. Updating your CV as your APPE rotations progress is a simple way to stay on top of it and makes it easier come crunch time. Though you may be an excellent writer, it’s always important to get outside opinions and edits; but not too many. Sending your CV to two or three trusted mentors, preceptors, professors, etc. for them to analyze and critique is a solid option. Take all the advice and adjust it to your style and personality. Having a friend or classmate read it as well can be beneficial as another outside source. Business cards are also an option, in place of or addition to a CV, as they can have a plethora of information on a small amount of space. For example your name, email, phone number, picture, QR code to scan to your CV or LinkedIn profile; the options are endless. Presenting your student research at the poster presentation is also an effective way to network and promote you. It gives pharmacists, residents, other student, resident directs, preceptors, etc. the chance to see your work.

When it comes time to actually talking to the programs, pre-planning is crucial. There are over 3000 programs at the residency showcase and only a total of 9 hours to talk to your desired programs. It is important to have an idea of what day, what time, and the booth numbers of the programs you are most interested in. Having a goal of speaking with a maximum of 12 programs per session (each session is 3 hours) would be recommended. After you have mapped out whom it is you will be talking to, questions for the programs should be prepared in advance. It is recommended to have a list of general questions to ask all programs which will allow you for easier comparison between them, but also have questions specific to each program that you couldn't otherwise find on their website. Once you’ve talked with a program, step to the side and jot down your thoughts and answers to questions before moving on to the next program.

Throughout the convention there are a few key pointers to keep in mind. There are many other events besides the showcase and it is important to decide which to attend. For example, there is a session on navigating PhORCAS, the online residency application. Another presentation is how to effectively write a cover letter and prepare interview questions. These are just two examples of the many helpful programs that Midyear has to offer. It is also important to maintain a professional attitude and attire, even when not at the showcase; because you never know you’ll be speaking with at a restaurant or elevator. Also, networking is key. Again, you never know who could help determine your future in a residency and the more connections you make the larger your network. Some programs will have receptions in the evening that are by invitation only. If and when you are invited to a reception it is important to attend. This gives the program a chance to see more of your personality in a social setting rather than strictly business. In the end, whomever you speak with or feels has made an impact on any of your future decisions, it is important to reach out to them and thank them for their time. A personalized email or handwritten thank-you notes are both appropriate. In conclusion, Midyear will be what you make of it and there are numerous opportunities to make the most of it!


Walking into the showcase and ASHP Floor layout


Student poster presentation

Opening ceremony and keynote speaker

Information session on interview skills and cover letter writing

A Perspective on a PharmD Candidate Actively Seeking Fellowships

Author: Tyler Dally, 2017 PharmD Candidates, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy

Midyear for a P4 student pursuing a fellowship is known to be very stressful, but I am writing this to walk you through my experiences and give you little tips of the trade. First and most importantly, if you are pursuing a Rutgers fellowship, be prepared to interview for Saturday at your programs. For Rutgers interviewing is scheduled on a first come first serve basis, thus the massive line that starts to form in the early morning on Saturday. You do not have to be in the very front of the line but again interviews are first come first serve. I arrived in line at 6:15 and was #218/~800, and had got interviews that afternoon; so be prepared to interview going into line that morning.

Additionally, Rutgers programs generally have 2-3 rounds of interviews depending on the position you are applying for. The second and third round interviews can sometimes be arranged last minute so be flexible and stay calm! The good news is that any programs you interview with through PPS are prescheduled throughout the week and I have heard of 2 rounds of interviews maximum with non-Rutgers programs.

Receptions are a huge deal with fellowships. If you get offered a reception it means you are one of their top candidates for your prospective position! Be prepared to talk to the current fellows, preceptors, and your competition both individually and in small groups. It goes without saying you should be pleasant to the others pursuing your position. The topics at the reception vary but generally it remains light conversation where everyone gets to know each other on a more personal basis. Remember if you are here you are already qualified for the position, they are looking for if you would gel at the company.

Some final tips for anyone pursuing a fellowship at Midyear is to be prepared before you get to the airport. Know what the position you’re applying for details, one of the major ways they weed out candidates is by asking them “why this position” and if you describe things the fellow does not do you can almost guarantee not moving onto the next round of interviews. Print and maintain a organized schedule for your weekend. Finally, it is extremely common to not get follow-ups with programs. Never get discouraged or lose faith in yourself, everyone loses programs at Midyear.

What is Next After Graduation? Perspectives of ASHP Midyear as Residents

Author: Christopher Hvisdas, PharmD, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Resident

Individual perspectives of ASHP Midyear vary, depending on one’s pursuits. I distinctly recall the overwhelming stress from last year as a student preparing for my life-altering experience at Midyear. It is portrayed as the most pivotal event for individuals pursuing a residency or fellowship as it provides the opportunity to get all questions answered in one place to determine the appropriate programs to apply to that will ultimately decide your fate as a resident. This piece is written in collaboration with my co-residents to provide unique perspectives on our different experiences at Midyear, focusing on our individual pursuits at attempting to secure positions as a second year resident, looking for a job, or for a non-traditional residency abroad. Needless to say, my experience was converse to that stressful scenario from last year; however, as you will see, it vastly depends on plans for the following year.


Path one: pursuing a second year residency/non-traditional residency. My co-residents were on their way back to Midyear with vigor and confidence after completing nearly six months of their first year residency. Preparing for this article, I expected them to be bursting with information to discuss on their interviews and the confidence that comes with such experience. On the contrary, the feedback I was provided is that many of the same stressors are similar between students and residents. Is my CV optimally organized, did I eliminate all typos, do I know my research well enough to discuss it in an interview setting, am I qualified for this position, and did I do all I can to prepare appropriately? These are the questions my co-residents asked themselves prior to Midyear. They were up late preparing for their many interviews and spent the days exhaustively interviewing in thirty minute blocks, often leaving before I was up and staying for the entire day. I was exhausted just observing them. While their anxiety was palpable before Midyear, my co-residents relaxed following their first day and started to air the confidence I expected. Additionally, one of my co-residents pursued a non-traditional residency abroad. Their experience was also filled with interviews, but the interviews were often conducted in the evening and outside of PPS. One of the key points my co-resident made is that there are opportunities to talk with programs and have informed discussions whether or not you officially go through PPS. Overall, my co-residents described the experience as stressful, insightful, and ultimately helpful as they consider their options for next year. Their advice is to do your due diligence and prepare appropriately by researching programs, preparing for potential questions, and knowing your CV.


Path two: pursing a job after residency life. My personal experience was different. I decided to pursue work following my first year of residency. While this comes with many stressors, particularly finding a stable job for next year, my ASHP Midyear experience did not attribute to this stress. I used this opportunity to network with potential employers and to get a feel for the job market. However, I chose not to interview at PPS for multiple reasons. The biggest reason involves my geographical restriction and limited PPS opportunities in the area I was looking. My family and fiancée grounded me to the Tristate area and I have no plans to travel unless I am unable to find work. Additionally, many budgets and positions are not yet approved and come early in the fiscal year. On the other hand, speaking with colleagues who were going through PPS for jobs, I found there was ample opportunity to interview and discuss jobs with potential employers that were strictly available to these individuals. While I made the most of my opportunities, I do regret not officially participating in PPS. Because of my choices, I would say my overall experience was relaxed as I did not have thirty minute interviews scheduled the entire day, nor did I struggle with the prospect of narrowing programs to find an ideal fit. While I was not stressed at Midyear, I know that I will experience anxiety later in the year when looking for jobs, while my co-residents (hopefully) are all matched and care-free with their second year programs. I was free to enjoy the conference and take advantage of the many learning opportunities and programming that is available to the attendees. My experience was exceptionally educational and an experience I deeply valued.


What I have determined, is your Midyear experience, as a resident, truly depends on your plans for next year and your individual involvement with the opportunities that are presented to you during the largest gathering of clinical pharmacists. My advice to future residents would be make the most of the opportunity and take advantage of the programing and potential networking for job opportunities that are afforded to attendees.


Co-residents interviewed for article: Jennifer Hoh, Kody Merwine, Salematou Traore


Positioned from Left to Right: Omar Richardson, Salematou Traore, Kody Merwine, Priya Panchal, Jennifer Hoh, Natasha Maslow, Christopher Hvisdas





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