Category: Professional Posters
Purpose: As competition for postgraduate training increases, students continue to explore options to diversify time and efforts during pharmacy school to improve chances of obtaining postgraduate training. While placement in these positions often related to interview performance, attainment of an initial interview is often determined by application materials, which depict a candidate’s involvement during their professional years of pharmacy school. Due to lack of available literature on this topic, this study evaluated two graduating classes of PharmD candidates to determine a correlation between time allocation during the professional years of pharmacy school with obtaining an initial interview for a postgraduate position.
Methods: An anonymous survey, composed of 45 questions, was administered to two graduating classes of PharmD candidates at a single institution one week prior to graduation. This survey assessed each students’ time allocation among various activities during the professional years of pharmacy school including but not limited to: the professional pharmacy setting in which students worked (community, hospital, industry...etc), the number of pharmacy organizations involved with, the number of leadership positions held within these organizations, and involvement with research activities throughout the P1 to P4 years. Additionally this survey also assessed average number of hours spent per week working in a pharmacy setting in addition to hours performing activities related to professional and non professional organizations. The number of interviews attained as well as the acceptance rates for postgraduate programs was also assessed. Student data was divided into three groups: those who applied to residency, those that applied to fellowship and the aggregate of both. To determine if a students’ level of activity throughout the professional years of pharmacy school correlates to being offered an interview for postgraduate training, the data within each of these groups was quantified and subsequently compared between those who were offered an interview and those who were not. Trends in data were then assessed between groups to evaluate any correlations that may have occurred.
Results: A total of 537 graduating PharmD students completed this survey. One hundred and eighty five students applied for postgraduate training (41 fellowship, 156 residency, and 6 both). Among applicants, 155 were offered interviews: 39 (95 percent) for fellowship and 120 (77 percent) for residency. Of all candidates who received an interview for postgraduate training 95 percent had a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or greater. Of those who attained at least one interview, 23 percent of fellowship and approximately 33 percent of residency applicants performed research during the P3/P4 years, compared to 16 percent of all applicants who did not receive any interviews. Regarding leadership roles within professional pharmacy organizations, approximately 50 percent of all applicants offered at least one interview (residency or fellowship) held one or more position(s) during the P2/P3 year compared to only 25 percent of all applicants that did not receive any interviews. Forty percent of applicants who achieved an interview were employed as an intern in the hospital setting versus less than 20 percent of those who did not receive any interviews. Ultimately, 87 candidates were offered positions: 16 (41 percent) fellowship position and 71 (59 percent) residency.
Conclusion: This study, evaluating two years of students graduating from a large school of pharmacy, suggests that there are multiple variables that influence a candidate’s chance of attaining an interview for postgraduate training. The likelihood of attaining an interview appears to be correlated to achieving a high GPA, involvement in professional pharmacy organizations, participating in research, as well as work experience (specifically hospital work) during their professional years. Based on these results, students should continue to seek additional opportunities outside the academic environment to be considered strong candidates for these increasingly competitive positions.