What is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) PGY1 Pharmacy Residency?

ASHP accreditation standards for PGY1 pharmacy residency expect programs to provide residents with “the opportunity to accelerate their growth beyond entry-level professional competence in patient-centered care and in pharmacy operational services, and to further the development of leadership skills that can be applied in any position and in any practice setting.” At Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (BSLMC), this translates more simply to developing practice leaders in health-system pharmacy. The residency emphasizes the total pharmacy practice, focusing on the concepts and philosophies of contemporary pharmacist care. The residency program builds upon practice experience and academic education, and provides the foundation of practice competence. It also provides preparation for advanced and specialty residencies and fellowships. The residency will provide experiences and knowledge that cannot easily be achieved in a staff role, and will provide greater career opportunities upon completion. For the more seasoned pharmacist, the residency can accelerate a career move to a higher level of practice.  

What is the goal of the residency at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (BSLMC)?

The overall goal of the BSLMC residency is to provide the resident with practical training and experience that affords them the opportunity and stimulus to develop, to the highest degree attainable, professional expertise and competence as a health-system pharmacy practitioner. Other goals are to provide a foundation for and stimulate an interest in the achievement of a leadership role in the profession. In addition, the goal of the residency is to support the attainment of professional self-realization and to prepare the resident for more advanced training or experiences if the resident desires.

What is the history of the residency program at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (BSLMC)?

An ASHP-accredited residency in hospital pharmacy was first initiated at BSLMC (formerly St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital) in 1972. It continued for some time, producing many graduates who have since assumed significant positions in all areas of the country. Full accreditation for the new program at BSLMC was awarded by the ASHP Commission on Credentialing in July 1991. As of the fall of 2016, we have had 73 graduates of the current program and six in training. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center has several other residency opportunities. We have a post-graduate year 2 (PGY2) Critical Care Residency which was accredited in 1998 and had nineteen graduates and two in training.   We also have a PGY2 Cardiology specialty residency program started in July 2007 and received full accreditation 2011 and there are five graduates and one in training. Also in 2008, we established a two year Infectious Diseases Fellowship in conjunction with the University of Houston College of Pharmacy. We have had seven fellows complete the program. There are currently two in the program. Lastly, we have a PGY1/PGY2 MS and Pharmacy Administration residency in conjunction with the University of Houston that was established in July 2009 and received full accreditation in 2011. We have had five graduates in the program and two in training. In 2012, we expanded the PGY1 Pharmacy Residency to 6 positions. In addition, we added a PGY2 Solid Organ Transplant Residency program, which has had three graduates, two in training and received full accreditation in 2013.

In 2015, we added a new International PGY1 Residency Program, in collaboration with Saudi Arabia. We have had 1 graduate and three in training. Accreditation for this program is pending.

How is the residency structured at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (BSLMC)?

The residency is a full-time 52-week program which requires a commitment of a minimum of 40 hours per week. The residency is conducted through the accomplishment of formal, agreed upon learning objectives. The Program Director serves as the overall program coordinator for the resident. The start date of the residency is typically in late June. Earlier or later start dates may be arranged based on individual circumstances. Residents in the PGY1 program staff every third weekend and complete a clinical practice month rotation. Residents can expect to cover one major and one minor holiday during the year. Vacation is accrued throughout the residency program.

Rotations are designed to provide comprehensive core-learning of diseases and drug therapy issues pertinent to patient care. Core rotations include internal medicine/drug information, critical care/pulmonary medicine, medical cardiology or cardiothoracic surgery, infectious diseases, pharmacy administration and thrombosis/hemostasis management. Elective rotations may include cardiothoracic transplant, liver transplant/hepatology, renal transplant/nephrology, neurology/neurosurgery, emergency medicine, and hematology/ oncology. The residency will include longitudinal experiences in medication safety, our transitional care clinic for heart failure patients, practice leadership, professional development, medical emergencies, and research services. Rotations are evaluated based upon pre-defined residency goals and objectives from ASHP and last approximately 4 weeks.  Rotations are assigned in July and may change

depending upon the resident’s interest

Tell me more about “staffing experiences”.

We knew you’d ask. Staffing experiences mean that the resident will be dedicated to working as a clinical pharmacist here at BSMLC -- this is a critical component to the program as often times, this is your first opportunity to be an independent pharmacist. Residents complete their staffing component through every third weekend assignments and a clinical practice month rotation. While staffing, residents rotate through positions focused on patient centered services as well as centralized prospective order review and the Sterile Products Pharmacy area. We believe that such staffing experiences are a very important part of meeting practice residency goals and objectives and that the absence of such experiences diminishes the resident’s growth and practice maturity in the program.

What are the residency requirements?

Download the chart that outlines the residents’ requirements to complete the program.  Other requirements include staffing, code blue participation, on call responsibility along with other rotation requirements.  Residents are required to teach Advanced Pharmacotherapy labs at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy (UHCOP) in the fall.

What teaching opportunities are available?

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is a major clinical teaching site for medical, nursing and pharmacy students. Residents will have the opportunity to mentor, precept and teach a variety of students from multiple disciplines. We have affiliation agreements with six colleges of pharmacy, and during your residency program, you will have the opportunity to receive a certificate in Academia.  As mentioned previously, you will also have the opportunity to teach pharmacotherapy skills labs at UHCOP during the year as well. 

What is the average cost for housing in Houston?

Residents can expect to pay approximately $800 to $1400 per month for a decent sized apartment very close to the Texas Medical Center area. Housing can vary based upon the geographical area that you may live in. However, the majority of residents choose to live closer to the hospital.

What is the stipend, and what benefits are included?

The current stipend per year is $ 50,004. Residents are entitled to the same benefits as clinical pharmacists. We offer health, dental, and vision insurance benefits, with many options available to fit the individual or family situation. Parking is provided for free at a remote lot with access to Metro Transit (Metrorail) and free, air-conditioned shuttle service at all hours.

Funded meetings are the ASHP Midyear meeting, Texas Society of Health-System Pharmacists annual seminar, and Alcalde Southwest Leadership Conference. Presentations of projects are required to be given at each meeting attended.

The resident has dedicated desk space with access to a personal computer with all contemporary software and printing. Full internet access is provided, with e-mail services.  

What other opportunities are associated with Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (BSLMC) and Houston?

A major advantage in taking the residency program at BSLMC is its location in the Texas Medical Center (TMC). The TMC is the largest medical complex in the world. It occupies over 500 acres, including twelve major hospitals representing over seven thousand beds. The TMC has over 7.2 million visits per year. There are over 106,000 employees within the TMC. It is home to nine academic institutions including two colleges of medicine, three colleges of pharmacy, several colleges of nursing, dentistry, and other medical disciplines. TMC is adjacent to the Rice University campus and the Hermann Park/Museum complex of the City of Houston. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center itself is home to the world renowned Texas Heart Institute®. The first human heart transplant in the United States was performed here; more open heart surgical procedures have been performed here than anywhere else in the world, and t. BSLMC has the largest cardiac catheterization facility in the world.

Houston is the fourth largest city in the nation and has an abundance of recreational opportunities. Immediately to the south of the TMC is the large Reliant Park complex, featuring Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome Stadium. Evenings out can include events such as the Houston Astros, Texans, Rockets, or Dynamo. The beaches and attractions of Galveston Island are less than an hour away. Other activities include multi-cultural activities such as opera, the ballet, museums, symphony or musicals. In addition, there are many places to eat and try new foods.

What about the Department of Pharmacy?

The Department of Pharmacy at BSLMC consists of approximately 180 staff members, of which over 100 are pharmacists. All contemporary services are provided. We emphasize being a “pharmacist-centered pharmacy in a patient-centered hospital.” Our distribution model uses unit based automation with decentralized clinical pharmacy services. We have automated carousels and automated repackaging in Central Pharmacy. Pharmacy Services are available 24/7 in Central Pharmacy. We have four pharmacy satellites in the operating room (OR), Cardiovascular OR, Outpatient OR Satellite, and Emergency Department Satellite. Clinical Pharmacy Services are also available 24/7.

The hospital is licensed for 850 beds, of which 157 are intensive care. It has forty-four operating rooms and ten cardiac catheterization labs.

What is desired in an applicant for this residency?

We are looking for mature individuals who have made a career decision to become a leader in health-system or institutional pharmacy. The candidate must be prepared to make a serious commitment to satisfactorily complete all requirements of the program, as planned in advance. This commitment includes attendance at required meetings, programs, presentations and trips, and the availability and willingness to participate in any function of the Department of Pharmacy on a 24-hour basis. The residency is tailored to each individual, and regular evaluations of accomplishment must be satisfactory. This is a program for mature individuals who are serious about the profession as a lifelong career.

How does one apply and what about interviews?

You must apply online through the ASHP PhORCAS program (https://portal.phorcas.org) (application documents are not to be mailed). You can find out more information about the ASHP PhORCAS program at www.ashp.org/PhORCAS.

An on-site interview is considered very important and is required for a complete application. All applications will be screened by our Residency Advisory Council, and all applicants chosen for interview will be contacted by the middle of January.   The on-site interview is a full day and will include a fifteen minute presentation on a disease state management topic of your choice. You will interview with clinical specialists, pharmacy leadership, and residents. You will also be provided a patient case to assess and complete on your interview day. The last date for interviews is normally one week before the ASHP match list submission date.   Financial assistance for the on-site interview is not available, but we will work with you in any way we can to reduce expenses.

More information and questions?

Please contact:
Ramsi Bethany Taylor, PharmD, RPh
Director, PGY1 Pharmacy Residency Program
Email: rbethany@stlukehealth.org