Are you wondering what the pharmacy residency is like? Check out Grace's story below.

What is a pharmacy residency like?

After graduating from pharmacy school, you can pursue more clinical education or research. If you choose the research path, that’s called a fellowship. (Read all about Austin’s fellowship experience here.) But, if you choose to pursue clinical education, that’s called a residency.

What is a residency?

A pharmacy residency is an organized, directed, postgraduate training program in a defined area of pharmacy practice. It provides the knowledge and experience to further training with a clinical focus. During residency, a resident performs as a licensed practitioner but trains under the supervision of an experienced preceptor. As many as 42% of Concordia University Wisconsin’s School of Pharmacy graduates pursue either a residency or a fellowship.

Learn about Grace Dyke’s experience in her residency at Advocate Aurora Health.


What is your current role?

I’m a first year Health-System Pharmacy Administration and Leadership (HSPAL) resident with Advocate Aurora Health. As a HSPAL resident, I have the opportunity to grow as a pharmacist and also as a future healthcare leader. My first year of residency is very clinically-focused. For example, I have rotations in areas such as oncology, critical care, cardiology, and others. This first year is designed to help me grow as a confident pharmacist and build a solid clinical foundation as I enter my second year of residency.

My second year of residency is designed to integrate my patient-care experiences in a pharmacy operational. This will help prepare me to be a future healthcare leader.


Where are you doing your residency?

My first year of residency is primarily based out of Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During my second year of residency, I will have the opportunity to travel between the various Advocate Aurora Health sites throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.


Why did you decide to become a pharmacist?

From a young age, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. However, it was not until later in my undergraduate career that I learned I had a true passion for pharmacy. As a chemistry major, I enjoyed learning about the amazing ways our God-given bodies function and the minute details required for daily tasks.  The impact small molecules could have on our large bodies was fascinating and a topic I truly enjoyed learning about. As I began researching future careers allowing me to integrate my chemistry knowledge with healthcare, I landed on pharmacy and after a few pharmacist shadowing experiences later and I knew in my heart this was the path for me.


What made you want to pursue a pharmacy residency after graduation?

As I learned more about the different opportunities within pharmacy, I became more aware of the goals I wanted to chase as a future pharmacist. Such goals included building a strong clinical foundation as well as becoming a confident healthcare leader within a large, integrated health system.  I knew a residency would provide numerous opportunities to help me achieve these goals and so much more.


How did CUW help prepare you for a pharmacy residency?

CUW was and still is a huge blessing in my pharmacy career. As a student, I developed lifelong relationships with professors who care deeply about my development – not only as a pharmacist but also as an individual.  Each professor displayed a true interest in teaching and building young pharmacists ultimately allowing us to develop a strong clinical foundation.  CUW also allowed me the opportunity to develop as a leader with experiences such as teaching fellow students and leading organizations.  Overall, I truly believe CUW is a special placed filled with incredible individuals who will stand by your side supporting you during and after pharmacy school.


How do you think your residency is preparing you for a successful career in pharmacy?

Residency is a time where you are challenged each day and pushed outside your comfort zone. However, you are also supported and encouraged with each step of the process.  This is a time for growth – professionally and individually.  I have grown as a pharmacist, as a future healthcare leader, and also as a friend, coworker, and person. The experiences I have encountered, and knowledge gained during residency will carry on and build as I continue my career in pharmacy.  If I were to pass along any advice about residency, it would be to soak up each experience, ask questions and do not be afraid to put yourself out there.  Your time as a resident is short and serves as a great steppingstone in your career as a pharmacist.


What has been the most memorable moment of your residency?

One of the most memorable moments of residency was the completion of my clinical forum. My residency program requires each first-year resident to complete an hour-long presentation on a specific topic, incorporating latest guidelines, research studies, and patient cases into the talk.  I had the opportunity to complete my clinical forum first in my residency class, which was exciting yet also slightly daunting.  My timeline to prepare was accelerated and consisted of many late nights developing and tweaking my presentation slides.  However, when my time came to present, I was prepared and ready.  I felt confident giving the presentation and answering questions asked after.  Completing this milestone was such a relief and is a moment I am extremely proud to look back on.


What advice do you have for future pharmacists?

My advice would be to take chances, push yourself, and use each opportunity to learn something new. Take that unique rotation, ask the hard questions, and try something new.  Our time in pharmacy school and residency is a time for us to gain new experiences and learn more about our interests – so soak up each and every opportunity!


Do you want to know more?

If you’re interested in learning more about Concordia University Wisconsin’s School of Pharmacy, visit us here.

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