Pharmacy Residency: Geriatric Medicine

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Geriatric Medicine is a broad residency offered by a number of programs across the US. It is a little less popular than some others, like cardiology, but there are still a range of institutions that provide the program. Here, we will consider what the residency is like and why it’s attractive, outcomes that might be expected, and what life is like for a resident, in terms of core rotations and electives.


The PGY2 pharmacy residency in geriatrics has been created to allow PGY1 residency graduates from generalist practice to move towards a more specialised practice focused on the care of geriatric patients. This care will be in any number of different settings – all in which a geriatric patient will receive health care. As such, a residency graduate from this program will be used to working as part of an interdisciplinary care, will be used to taking responsibility for the pharmaceutical care needs of geriatric patients, will be used to counselling patients from this age group on their likely medicines, and will be used to providing education to them as necessary. As this is a broad residency, those who successfully complete it will gain clinical expertise across a range of different conditions – all those that affect the geriatric patient. A pharmacist who has completed the geriatric medicine residency will therefore be a vital part of a broader healthcare team, able to provide expert insight and act as a reference when needed. As part of this, a geriatric pharmacist will be used to leadership – during the residency, you will become used to taking the lead over decisions on medications used for geriatric patients and their care, and in time you will become used to leading the development of treatment protocols. Expect this trend towards leadership to continue, with leadership either being more clinical (taking the lead in an interdisciplinary setting, or leading other practising pharmacists), or more geared towards public health and wider Medicine and healthcare – treatment protocols again serving as a good illustration of this part of the specialty.

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There are a number of programs that offer this residency. In particular, the University of Pittsburgh (UPMC Presby-Shadyside), the University of Cincinnati (which provides a PGY1 course focused on geriatric medicine) and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre are all leading programs. Note that these are just a few of the programs available across the US – 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, all eligible candidates must have completed an ASHP accredited PGY1 pharmacy residency program before the start date of the PGY2 resident. They must then submit the standard application requirements through PhORCAS by December 31st of the relevant year. Application components include the CV, a letter of intent, which must describe your interest in the residency program and your professional goals and objectives, three letters of recommendation, and your official transcripts from all of your pharmacy education. Following this, you will be required to interview at programs that are interested in taking you.

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The following outcomes are taken from a specific university, and serve as an accurate summary of the wider, and more detailed, ASHP outcomes:

  • Develop solid geriatric patient care skills in both acute and chronic care settings
  • Develop a mastery of knowledge base in Geriatric pharmacy
  • Develop a sound understanding of pharmacy practice management
  • Establish oneself as an integral member of a healthcare team
  • Demonstrate proficiency in teaching in both didactic and small group learning environments
  • Develop effective precepting skills
  • Generate new knowledge in Geriatric Pharmacy
  • Interpret and disseminate knowledge in Geriatric Pharmacy
  • Develop a system of self assessment and development
  • Demonstrate exemplary verbal and written communication skills
  • Utilise a system for balancing multiple work-related and personal responsibilities
  • Understand the importance of professionalism through participation in pharmacy

Life as a Resident

The following areas are likely rotations:

  • Geriatric Psychiatry (6 weeks)
  • Inpatient Rehab Service (6 weeks)
  • Pain Management/Palliative Care/Hospice (6 weeks)
  • Home-based Primary Care (6 weeks)
  • Long-term Care Consulting (12 weeks)

The following are typical longitudinal areas of study:

  • Long-term Care Patient Management
  • Community Outreach
  • Research Project Development
  • Teaching Experiences

The following are typical electives:

  • Alzheimer’s Clinic (6 weeks)
  • Geriatrics Assessment Clinic (6 weeks)
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