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What Do I Do Now? Post-Match Day Advice for Students

Monday, March 18, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gabrielle Webster
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Match Day is over so we wanted to provide some advice to students going into residencies and fellowships. See the advice we have gathered from our members and colleagues below on what to do prior to your first day! 


The best piece of advice that can be given to a student preparing for residency is to develop a system to keep track of all projects.  Time management is one of the most important skills to perfect prior to residency as there will be many projects that the resident will be involved with. Without a time management system in place, residency can become very overwhelming."

I wish that someone told me that residency is a year (or two) where there is very little "off time."  It is important to have balance, allow time for yourself to participate in activities you enjoy.  Balance will prevent burnout.

Celebrate your accomplishments! Whether it's getting into a residency or fellowship program, passing an exam, completing a rotation, or graduating, don't forget to reward yourself and your health no matter how small or big.
This will keep you motivated to take on those next steps!

Jasica Truong, PharmD
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
Lehigh Valley Health Network


Study like heck for the boards.  Arrive at your residency already having taken the exam (if able by your university’s submission).  If you need to take boards during your orientation, see if there are any bad dates (ie Computer training day) where you shouldn’t take a board exam.
Ensure that all needed paperwork/apps are sent to the required state board ASAP after you match.  Don’t wait, send return receipt/registered mail if the process is not electronic.
Ask them for research project ideas.  Can you start doing background project research?

David J. Pavlik, Pharm.D.
Manager of Clinical Services – Department of Pharmacy
Allegheny General Hospital
  • First, definitely get involved with the residency program but also the hospital/health system/school. This is your time to learn from the experts in the field so take full advantage of the opportunities that are being given to you. That being said, it is equally important to understand and listen to your limits and make sure that you are not taking on too many responsibilities and therefore not able to give each opportunity your all.
  • From the very beginning, make sure that you find an activity, hobby, etc. that is important to you that gives you a break from the daily responsibilities of residency. Not only start in the beginning, but try to continue this activity throughout residency! 
Nicolette Diehl, PharmD
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
Temple University Hospital
Take your first steps into your professional career as a pharmacist confidently; move forward with purpose, pride, and passion. Take advantage of every opportunity, and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to try new things. Take each challenge as a chance to grow stronger and become the best practitioner you can be. Most importantly, trust the process and believe everything happens for a reason.  
Keri L. Diehl, PharmD
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
Enterprise Pharmacy
Geisinger Medical Center 
Start the licensure process ASAP!  Some state boards of pharmacy (BOP) take up to ninety days to process applications, and that is only after they have a complete application.  Look into what ducks you are required to have lined up as soon as you know the state in which you will be working and get the ball rolling.  This is a busy time of year for BOPs with freshly graduated PharmD’s flooding their systems; you do not want to get lost in the mix and delay your Authorization To Test (ATT) and subsequently, obtaining you license.

Maximize the residency experience by doing all that you can in this twelve-month period.  Carpe Diem!
Elizabeth E. Steadman, PharmD.
PGY-2 Geriatric Pharmacy Resident
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)
Millcreek Hospital (MCH)/Senior Living Center (SLC)

I think the biggest thing for those fresh out of school is to be open to new experiences.  This is the last chance you have to become a well-rounded practitioner before specializing, so take every opportunity to choose projects and rotations outside of your preferred area of focus.
Christine L. Zdaniewski, PharmD
PGY1 Resident
UPMC Hamot
I know it sounds really cheesy, but don’t be afraid to truly be yourself. Residency sites want to know if they’ll enjoy actually having you around for a whole year. So if you have something that you’ve done that’s unique or different or even a little weird, definitely mention it! Bonus points if it isn’t pharmacy related.
Meg Croom Taylor, PharmD, CPP
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Hematology/Bone Marrow Transplant
Atrium Health
Carolinas HealthCare System is Atrium Health
Use this free period to finally explore or visit somewhere you wish you had been during your pharmacy program. You will have weeks of unrestricted time before starting a rigorous and time-consuming year of learning, so make the most of it to refresh yourself and see the ones or places you love! 
Maxwell C. Norris, PharmD
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Find the learning opportunity in every experience. I ultimately learned a lot through tasks that on the surface seemed menial.  Don’t just check the box. . . seek meaning.  For example, taking meeting minutes is important and you can hone your writing and listening skills through the experience!


Meghan D. Swarthout, PharmD, MBA, BCPS
Division Director, Ambulatory and Care Transitions
Department of Pharmacy - The Johns Hopkins Hospital

You may also want to check out ASHP's eBook titled Letters from Pharmacy Residents for more advice on navigating your career.

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