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Creating an Effective Pharmacy Residents Seminar Series

Oct 09, 2009

MANY OF US STRUGGLE with the fact that there often are not enough hours in the day to do all that’s expected of us. And if you participate in residency and fellowship programs, you probably feel the pinch even more. In the Washington, D.C., area, which is home to 15 fellowship and ASHP-accredited pharmacy residency programs, we developed and currently manage a long-standing seminar program for residents, preceptors, residency directors, and fellows that offers high-quality presentations on therapeutic and professional-development topics.

The Importance of Teamwork

As the seminar program has grown in size and complexity, we have relied on teamwork to make it more efficient and effective. Held six times a year, each four-hour seminar in the program series augments the training that residents receive in their health care settings. Residency directors can also network with faculty members from other accredited programs, and preceptors can expand their own knowledge and get professional speaking experience.

From left, Shannon H. Goldwater, Pharm.D., BCPS, FASHP; Pamela S. Smith, Pharm.D.; and Mary C. Binghay, Pharm.D.

Living and working in a metropolitan area has given us access to a variety of professional pharmacy organizations and agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration for programming ideas and faculty volunteers.

To help reduce costs, we recently moved the seminar series from an area hotel to local residency-site meeting rooms. This change allows residency directors to host the meetings and encourages more preceptors to give presentations. We have also been working to ensure that our communication about upcoming events is efficient. All seminar-series participants are asked to enroll in Yahoo! Groups, a free Internet forum through which we send meeting notices and post relevant information.

Ongoing Quality Improvement
An annual survey of the seminars’ participants has been a great source of information for program improvements. For example, based on feedback, we increased the number of meetings from four to six per year and changed presentation content from a therapeutic overview to a clinical pearls format.

Our meetings have focused on poster development, abstract preparation, presentation skills, pharmacy career development, and preparing for the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties pharmacotherapy exam. Additionally, meetings have highlighted interviewing techniques, tips on working with other health care disciplines and hospital and health-system administrators work-life balance, and how to write for publication.

To date, feedback has been very positive. Participants, who are placed in groups for each seminar to promote teamwork, idea exchange, and networking, said they especially value working with residents, fellows, and faculty from other programs.

Throughout the process of developing innovative programming for the seminar series, faculty members have modeled teamwork, the very behavior we hope to develop in our residents and fellows. Based on ongoing feedback we receive, it is clear that the seminar series has filled a real need locally for professional development and therapeutic knowledge.

Mary C. Binghay, Pharm.D., a pediatric clinical specialist and residency program director at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland, also contributed to this article.

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