Pharmacy Residency: Critical Care

Pharmacy Residency Preparation Specialists

Critical care offers numerous positions across the US, and combines a range of different learning within a busy year.


PGY2 pharmacy positions are designed to build upon that which is learnt both in the PharmD education and then subsequently in PGY1 pharmacy residency programs. A PGY2 residency will provide pharmacists with the skills to function independently – integrating their knowledge and skill further into the delivery of patient care. A critical care residency prepares a clinical pharmacist for work in the ICU, SICU, or ED. It is therefore a broad education, and can be high-paced.

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There are a great number of programs available, with many leading institutions amongst the ranks. In particular, you will find that Stanford Health Care (Palo Alto, CA), UCLA Davis Medical Center (Sacramento, CA), and Johns Hopkins (Baltimore, Maryland) all offer a Pharmacy PGY2 Residency in Critical Care. You can of course 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.


In order to apply, candidates must be sufficiently qualified, through both having a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from an ACPE-accredited school of pharmacy, and showing that they have completed an ASHP-accredited PGY1 pharmacy residency program. Applicants will then need to submit a letter of intent, cover letter, CV, transcripts and letters of recommendation.

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The following outcomes are taken from Johns Hopkins, and serve as a good overview of the much more detailed ASHP outcomes guidance:

  • Practice as competent, independent, and highly qualified critical care pharmacists with an advanced degree of proficiency and expertise who provide optimal care to critically ill patients as a fully integrated member of the interdisciplinary team in a variety of critical care environments
  • Serve as critical care pharmacy leaders who accept responsibility for developing a personal plan for professional development, provide education related to critical care drug therapy, contribute to the body of critical care pharmacotherapy research, and conduct their practice with a high level of professional maturity and integrity
  • Manage of a wide variety of critical illnesses to ensure broad, foundational, evidence-based critical care pharmacotherapy knowledge and skills
  • Utilize strong medical literature writing and evaluation skills
  • Conduct critical care pharmacy research
  • Precept and teach health care professionals and those in training to become healthcare professionals

Serve as a leader in critical care pharmacy practice within a health system

Life as a Resident

Life as a resident in Critical Care will cover a number of different areas, with the following a likely range of core, compulsory rotations:

  • Cardiology Care Unit (CCU)
  • Cardiovascular Surgical Intensive Care (CVSICU)
  • Emergency Medicine (ED)
  • Medical Intensive Care (MICU) I
  • Medical Intensive Care (MICU) II
  • Neurosciences Intensive Care (NCCU)
  • Research
  • Surgical Intensive Care (SICU) I
  • Surgical Intensive Care (WICU) II

Additionally, you should expect to take on each of the following optional activities:

  • Pharmacotherapy Rounds, in which all residents provide a 30-minute presentation that is APCE-accredited.
  • Journal Clubs and/or Topic Discussions
    • Journal Clubs and/or Topic Discussions allow a resident to participate in critical care pharmacy-based topic discussions, take on case presentations, and journal clubs on a regular basis. Other participants will be present, and are likely to include critical care residency preceptors, clinical pharmacists, other pharmacy residents (including those on a critical care rotation), and pharmacy students.
  • Teaching & Education of other healthcare professionals
    • You should expect to be required to teach as part of your residency. A typical undertaking would be a 1-hour departmental continuing education presentation that is ACPE-accredited.

Other, optional areas in which you may take on training include the following:

  • Toxicology (Poison Control Center)
  • Paediatric ICU (PICU/NICU)
  • Cardiac Care Unit
  • Transplant Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Trauma Surgery (Neuro Trauma/Multi-Trauma)
  • Trauma Resuscitation Unit
  • Post ICU Recovery Clinic

Note that there is a significant range of activities and focuses in this residency, especially within the electives. The above were taken from two leading providers of the Critical Care PGY2 Pharmacy Residency – other programs may offer more or less in the way of electives, but are likely to have very similar requirements in terms of core learning and core rotations.

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