Pharmacy Residency: Cardiology
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There are numerous cardiology PGY2 positions offered throughout the US, as this is a popular and much-needed pharmacy specialty. Here we will consider core information on Cardiology as a residency specialty.
A Pharmacy Residency Program in Cardiology is designed to develop knowledge, clinical skills, and the attitudes required to provide the highest level of care in cardiovascular pharmacy. A cardiology residency program will therefore build on the competencies first established during the PGY1 residency, and in doing so allow the pharmacist to feel that they are truly becoming a specialist. A typical program will ensure that its residents are able to function truly independently, able to integrate their increasingly-deep knowledge into their practice, but equally with access to educators to further develop their skill as required. At the completion of a residency, a pharmacist should be able to establish their own practice as a cardiovascular pharmacy specialist – that means that they will have established a range of skills and abilities across clinical research, patient care, and education and committee roles. Of course, some may go on to pursue more training, either within cardiology or elsewhere in Pharmacy.
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There are a number of leading programs that offer a residency in Cardiology. Amongst them are The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Johns Hopkins, Duke, and the University of Michigan. You can find the full range of programs that offer this residency on the NMS website, where you can also filter by location and see details of core staff. For example, clicking on Johns Hopkins would reveal the name of the program director (one John Lindsley), as well as their relevant qualifications that are in the system.
Undertaking a residency in Cardiology requires that you complete a PGY1 residency. Therefore, you are able to apply as a PGY1 resident. The application process is conducted through PhORCAS (similarly to PGY1 general residencies), and will involve you providing a letter of intent, your CV, three letters of recommendation, and your official transcripts. Typically, you should expect interviews to now be conducted virtually, rather than in-person.
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The following outcomes are taken from the official ASHP documentation. They cover clinical outcomes; there are a further subset of outcomes that cover patient education and the teaching of other pharmacists, for example.
- Serve as an authoritative expert on the optimal use of medications used in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease.
- Optimise the outcomes of patients with acute and chronic cardiovascular disease in various settings through the expert provision of evidence-based, patient-centred medication therapy as an integral part of an interdisciplinary team.
- Demonstrate leadership and practice management skills.
- Manage and improve the medication-use process for patients with or at risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Contribute to the body of cardiovascular pharmacotherapy knowledge.
Life as a Resident
A resident in a Cardiology program will have the chance to take on intensive training specifically in the care of cardiovascular patients. They will of course be able to work alongside other healthcare professionals in the field, including not just clinical pharmacists but also cardiologists, surgeons, advanced nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and others. Specific areas that you might find yourself working in include heart failure, electrophysiology, acute coronary syndrome, valvular/congenital disease, critical care, VAD and transplant. Residents will take part in clinical pharmacy rounding services, and have direct responsibility for patient care across a range of different settings within the specialty of cardiology. Residents will also find a significant amount of their time given over to educating other health providers, medical students or pharmacy students, and patients; participating in conferences; completing research and projects focused on cardiology; acting as a cardiology reference for general pharmacy staff; and taking part in journal clubs. In terms of a rough schedule of rotations, you might expect Orientation & Training to take 2 weeks, then for a Primary Cardiology Service I rotation to take 4 weeks, followed by a second Service of 4 weeks. This might be followed by two Advanced Heart Failure Services of 4 weeks and 4 weeks respectively, followed by work on the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit for four weeks, eight weeks of Clinical Pharmacy Specialist/Preceptorship, two weeks of outcomes research, two weeks of electrophysiology, and one week of cardiology imaging.