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PGP Fundamentals: Residency Showcases and Open Houses
Episode 5319th December 2023 • The Post-Graduate Pharmacist • Sean Smithgall & Taylor Steuber
00:00:00 00:18:20

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This episode is all about all about Residency Showcases and Open Houses. Joining us is Dr. Katie Knight, a former PGY1 resident at Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Florida and current clinical pharmacist. At the time of the recording, Dr. Knight was still completing her residency and the episode is being released 6 months later.

Questions we discuss:

  • What recruiting mechanisms programs are currently using, including virtual and in-person showcases and open houses.
  • Differences and similarities between showcases and open houses.
  • Benefits of showcases and open houses
  • If the Midyear showcase attendance necessary to get a residency

This episode's take-aways:

  • Showcases are generally held systematically at large meetings or conferences and can happen locally or nationally.
  • Open houses are generally virtually and occur at various times depending on program availability
  • Some open houses are joint if under a large health system
  • How to find out about open houses: School/College of Pharmacy faculty and administrators (if they are contacted by programs); Listservs from professional organizations; Social media accounts from programs
  • If planning to stay local and apply only to local program, consider only attending local showcases (state and surrounding states) instead of going to Midyear as well to save financially.
  • Benefit of attending a showcase or open house is to create a comprehensive understanding of a program and obtain insight that is not included on the program website, but also get a sense of community of what it would be like to train at a given program.

What should you do now?

  • Identify programs you are interested in.
  • Determine if you would benefit from attending a regional or local showcase or if a national showcase is more feasible (depending on your geographic limitations)
  • Determine if the program is holding an open house if travel to a national meeting is not feasible.

What should you do later?

  • Develop a list of questions to ask programs at a showcase or open house.
  • Continue to research and monitor program social media accounts to determine when/if they will hold open houses.

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Music | "Sweet" by LiQWYD





This episode, we're excited to bring to you of our PGP fundamental series. Uh, is going to be about residency showcases and open houses, the new face to face experience with programs. Yeah. And to the best person to help us break down the pros and cons of this topic is Dr. Katie Knight, PGY1 pharmacy resident at Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Florida.

All right, Katie, welcome to the show. Oh, thank you for having me. Very excited to be back. So Katie, tell us about your post grad experience thus far. Yeah. So I graduated from Auburn last year and I am finishing up my PGY one year at Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Florida. It has gone by. Incredibly fast.

I can't believe I only have about five weeks left before I graduate and yeah, just finishing up all of my, all my projects. Um, and then, um, just trying, you know, just getting it to the finish line. And then I have actually accepted a job. And so I will be starting that job as a clinical pharmacist in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in July.

Moving on to our topic of showcases and open houses. So you got to help Taylor and I out here because I miss, I inappropriately used the word old earlier. I will say that we're getting pretty old in the terms of having done residency. So, you know, we try to keep up today as much as possible, but we know there's constantly these new things that are happening.

So. We, we believe you just let us know, we believe right now the popular things, of course, are still the residency showcases are kind of a staple. Then you have the personnel placement services, which you have it. We have a whole nother episode on that. That happens at midyear residency. Open houses are the newest thing.

Is there anything else that you have experienced these last couple of years that is out that programs are doing? I would say that's, that's pretty much it for right now. One, and I'll kind of talk about it a little bit later with the open houses, but, um, bigger hospital systems or corporate or kind of corporations in a way are doing like joint open houses.

So Ascension, which is, they own a hospital that I work for. They had a big open house where. All of the Ascension facilities in the Southeast had one big open house. So you could talk to people from Jacksonville, from Pensacola, from Birmingham. And then my personal hospital also had its own open house. So open houses are definitely the new and up and becoming thing for programs.

I think the only thing that I've seen in addition to that, and it kind of just more is kind of a supplement to these things, but would be, I see a lot more social media presence with some of the programs and having Instagram accounts, Twitter accounts, but yeah, the open houses is definitely something new in the last three years or so born out of COVID, I believe, so we'll dive into that a little bit more.

Yeah, definitely. The social media presence is growing. I will say sometimes the institutions might have an account that's not very active, hence mine, because of, um, the residents run it. So sometimes we forget that it's, that it's there. But, um, but yeah, so definitely the social media one is up and becoming for sure.

Obviously the, I think the bread and butter that everybody kind of pays attention to is still the showcase. And. Not just the mid year showcase, but local showcases as well. So there's local and regional Um, and then the national showcase. So did you attend any of these? And if so, what were some of the similarities and differences?

Yeah, I did. So as a candidate, I did attend both the national and the local showcase, but they were all virtual at the time still. So it was a lot easier for me to attend multiple ones. But as a resident, I actually only attended the national showcase. We did not, my program did not attend any local showcases, but I personally love going to the showcases.

I think they are such a great way to see so many different programs, talk to so many different, so many different people and then just really having that chance to see what they look like outside of their environment, outside of their hospital. How do they look outside of the hospital? Obviously you might've, your, your presence might've been requested this year from your program to kind of represent the program, but you mentioned you attended both as a student and the local, like maybe a statewide.

and then the national. So any reason for attending both and what you got out of each, each one? Yeah. So I attended both. I attended the ALSHP residency showcase in the fall and then I attended mid year virtually as well. I wanted to see both because some of the programs I went to speak to at the ALSHP residency showcase were Um, some of them were at both, some of them were only at mid year, some of them, and so for me, what I wanted to do is I wanted to have as much exposure before my application was submitted, before I went into interview season, all of those things, and I wanted to try to put try to have a better face to the name of my application.

So I wanted to go to all, um, as many as I could, um, especially with all of mine still being virtual. It was a lot easier to go to more than one of them. Um, cause I know sometimes that's a limitation. And then I also did go to a few open houses as well. Um, primarily with the program that I am at, I went to one of their open houses.

Um, but it was still a very similar thing, um, virtual. Got to speak with the program director, got to speak with some of the preceptors, some of the residents, um, who were available to attend the open houses. And so that's kind of the reason I wanted to, as you said, that way I had as much exposure to kind of put a face to the name for the showcases.

How do you think it benefited you as a candidate? Like what, what were the main things you got out of it? How did it help you in the process? Yeah, so I was able to ask them a lot of questions during the showcases. That's probably the number one reason I recommend for candidates this year as well as students to go to showcases because you can learn everything you can from their website and maybe from like a social media presence if they have that, but there's still some questions that you The website is not going to be able to answer.

So being able to ask the program director to ask the current residents, and a lot of times they'll also bring a couple of preceptors with them as well to the showcases. So being able to ask different questions to different people of the program is I think really, really key and really getting a good feel for the program because I did not fully understand it as a candidate, but now going through the process and seeing it on the other side, it really is.

You're trying to find the best place. for you as a candidate. And being able to have those, I didn't have as many face to face interactions, but even those virtual interactions to me, it was really crucial in creating my rank list and making my decisions. You mentioned finding that right fit with the program.

And I think of it is like The community you're going to be a part of and the people that you're going to surround yourself with for the next year for a long time, a long period of time. Um, cause it's not a, as you know, it's not just a, you know, easy schedule. It's, it's a rigorous schedule. So, um, I think that that is, uh, it's key in being able to start building those relationships and seeing what that might look like.

And I think even in person is. Better, but obviously you were limited by that fact, but that's good to, good to hear about that. Yeah. And I even saw it from the resident perspective this year, being able, so I was able to go to mid year for in person for the first time ever. So that was really, really cool to experience and just being able to have the conversations with candidates and students and, um, having be able to answer all the questions and really get to see them.

face to face. I remembered a lot of them when it came to interview season, surprisingly. Um, I didn't remember all of them, but I remembered a few standouts from it. But it was, it was just really cool to see and like being able to see like, Oh yeah, I really connect with this person. I really think they'll be a great fit and I think we'll be a great fit for them.

And so just really kind of answering the questions and seeing those connections made. So moving to open houses. Now, when you were describing the one with Ascension earlier, that almost sounded like a showcase when they're like, they're like, like a mini showcase where they're showcasing other things. So you're going to have to help me out and tell me like, what's, what's the difference between, in your opinion, the difference between an open house and a showcase.

So there's really not that much of a difference between an open house and a showcase, because really at a showcase, you're just going to have like, you know, all the booths and all of, or if it's virtually all the rooms with all of the programs. And then really with an open house, it's still the same format, but you're just have, they'll have like more directed rooms.

So. Let's say the Ascension, the big Ascension open house or showcase, whichever way they phrased it. Um, really you were just in a, you would go to a different room to talk to different program directors. I don't think at the time, um, any of the residents were available to attend it, but our program director was there for the entire time.

And he was just in a room with a preceptor that would come in and out whenever they were available. But the open house that our program specifically held, it was, Kind of in a way, very similar to what it kind of sounded like, like an interview day, as well as as showcase kind of in one. So you started out with the program director.

He did a quick intro, um, gave you a quick little points about our program. And then starting at whatever time he would send us to, he would open the breakout rooms and I had my own breakout room and resident, other residents have their own breakout rooms, preceptors have their own breakout rooms, and he would have.

Like our areas of interest and then like what we would kind of like what we wanted to talk about in a way about our program. And so then the students had the free reign to go and join the different rooms. So it's very similar to a showcase just We will post an application to Moonstone. If you haven't already we'll win a complete donation to the Campbell Medical Center for their second inhalation program for people that do mu Signal.

You'll also find out more information in January that can be accessed on our website. So, hang tight and we'd love to hear from you. So you can tell we're gonna be doing a huge collaboration with Campbell, going back into the COVID years last year,

Are, are there representing the program to talk to so, so a lot of have, it sounds like have both maybe an open house and are part of the showcase. So it gives you a lot of different opportunities, uh, to speak with them. It sounds like. Yeah, they definitely, I know from my program's perspective, that was a really big goal that we had this year is we want to expand our reach to people and being able to, um, reach more students and more candidates further away from Pensacola, Florida, just so that way we can.

You know, just let people know like, Hey, we're here. We have our program. We have a lot to offer and just being able to share that with other students who may not have heard of Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Florida. And then with everything going back to in person, we, our program director really wanted to do an open house.

So that way, people who were not able to make it to mid year, they could still come and speak with us. They can answer all their, we can answer all their questions before applications were due, just so that way they can once again, just trying to be, just trying to be as available as we can for candidates.

Now, if you attended the Showcase and talked to your program, do you feel like a student should also attend the open house? Would they get much benefit out of it? I think, I think they could get additional benefit out of it if they had also gone to a showcase. I think one, just kind of going from the same perspective that I had of just trying to get your face seen more and more times.

But also, um, I remember when I left. Virtual mid year last year. I, after I talked to a program and I went to talk to another one, I was like, wait, that's a really great question I should have asked that other program. So having the open house at a different time allows you to come up with more questions or even you might just have questions that come up as you're filling out your application.

or you're getting your letter of intent ready, what all, all of those things. And so it just gives you another opportunity for if you have more questions to ask, because I know not a lot of people feel comfortable emailing the program director to ask their questions or emailing a resident to ask their questions.

And so just gives them another opportunity to do that. And in one quick question, you said it was like scheduled out, but did candidates have to show up at the beginning or could they still come in at different times? No, they could come in at different times if they weren't there for the intro, you know, it didn't count against them or, you know, we didn't lock them out of the Google meet, which we use Google, but, um, but yeah, no, they could come and go as they pleased.

I talked to a lot of different people who were like, Hey, I'm just real quick. I'm on a break from rotation. I just wanted to ask you this question real quick. And I was like, okay, what you got? Oh, so yours was during the day. Okay. Ours was during the day. So that was a little different. Um, the big essential one was at night.

Um, so it really does depend on the program's availability. Where do you find out about? open houses? That is a great question. So I know our program director actually emailed several schools of pharmacy to let them know, Hey, we're having an open house. Um, here's a, here's the link to it. Here's the information.

So I know, um, your local farm. Uh, School of Pharmacy will also, will have the information, but we also sent it out on our social media account. We, um, I think he posted it to a couple of other places, but really the School of Pharmacy was our main mode of communication of going to, or getting the information out to candidates.

So definitely have You know, being in contact with your, like, some administration, or if you have a faculty member who you really like, you know, keep in contact with them to see if they know of any open houses that are coming up. Great, so what any additional tips you would give future candidates about open houses, showcases, the whole, the whole shebang?

Yeah, so probably the main tip I have is have a list of questions ready to go, no matter whether it's virtual, it's in person, and have something to write your, the responses down on. No one's going to Feel, you know, no one's gonna make you feel bad about writing down your responses. I know for me that was a really weird fear I had about it.

But to me, if you're making, like when I was talking to candidates, I loved it when they were writing down notes of what I was saying because that really showed that they were really, really interested in learning more about it. That made me want to talk more and more and more and more. I had like a person that I was talking to for like a full 30 minutes because she just kept asking questions.

I just kept answering them. But um, definitely have like a list of questions ready and then also just be um, Be okay with you know, kind of walking if it's in person be okay With just like walking up to a group of people and just kind of standing there awkwardly And then just kind of waiting for your opportunity to insert a question, especially if you're going to go to mid year That, I have never experienced that before, but I also had to go talk to a few programs myself, um, for potential PGY2 opportunities.

Um, but, so that was one of the things I had to kind of get used to, is like, just kind of awkwardly standing there in a group. But, it's totally okay, because we, everyone understands, like, that's gonna ha that's how it's gonna be. So just be okay with, you know, inserting yourself into the group, waiting for an opening to ask a question, and then come prepared for questions as well.

Also, Mid Year's great, but you don't have to go. That was a really big thing for me. Yeah, so Mid Year is a really, really great conference. I will say, from a student's perspective, there's not a lot for you to do besides the showcase. And it is a lot of money to go. It was a lot of money just to go virtually, so I can't imagine how much it is to go in person as a student.

So, Definitely, definitely, definitely. If there's a local showcase and you're wanting to stay local, like within your region, look out for those local showcases. Not only like within the state that you're doing your pharmacy schooling, but also other states as well. And go to those. A lot of programs, even from outside of your state, will attend the local showcases.

Like for Alabama, I know there was, Programs from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, all around. And so, really look out for those local showcases that are a little bit easier to get to. It's awesome. Don't get me wrong. It's awesome. But it's not required to go to. And it sounds like you might even be able to get yourself into a virtual regional showcase from another part of the country if it's virtual.

And then you always have the open houses too, is an option to, to get face to face. So definitely look at those, follow those social media accounts, even though they're run by residents, even though they might not be updating them. Very, uh, often, but definitely check them out. Right. Well, some of the larger ones might have other people running it, but some of the, some of them also might be run by residents.

So give them a little, little grace. Yeah. Give them some grace. All right. Well, Katie, it was great having you on this episode and we know we're getting you back for a future episodes. We're looking forward to that, but thank you so much for being on the postgraduate pharmacist today. Yeah. Thank you for having me.

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