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Pharmacy Residency: Most Common Questions with Example Answers

Pharmacy Residency Preparation Specialists

At BlackStone Tutors, we have a dedicated question bank featuring not just the most high-yield questions and answers for Pharmacy Residency interviews, but hundreds of other possible interview questions as well, from technical questions through to personal questions. Here, we’ve provided one from four different sections, for free, with an example answer written by one of our team of doctors.

ETHICAL

Discuss the changes that pharmacists would have to make if euthanasia were legalised.

There would have to be major logistical and ethical changes made. Logistical changes would presumably need to cover the training of pharmacists around the composition of lethal injections and associated medications and protocols; training and support to cover the trauma of dealing with this area of ‘Medicine’; training for the doctors or nurses who had to administer the medication in dealing with the trauma or mental health effects for them and other carers of providing such a service; and legal frameworks in which all healthcare professional would need to operate, which they would need to have a good working knowledge of. Ethically, they would need to re-align their views to some extent. Pharmacists, and all healthcare professionals, would need to be aware of the potential for euthanasia to become increasingly popular – in the Netherlands, physician-assisted suicide now makes up 1 of every 26 deaths – this would simply take up a huge amount of medics’ time and resources, which would previously been spent on treating patients.

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ROLE PLAY

You are a PGY-2 Pharmacist on a general medical ward, and you have been asked to discuss Mrs Smith’s medication with her. Upon speaking to her, you realise that she isn’t correctly informed of her recent diagnosis, which showed evidence cancer spread from the ovaries to the lungs, liver and stomach suggesting advanced end-stage malignancy, with palliative input to be considered. How would you proceed?

S – Setting up the interview (preparing yourself and the consultation setting)

P – Perception (Understanding the patient’s perception of their condition and it’s seriousness)

I – Invitation (Wait for the patient to invite you to deliver the bad news)

K – Knowledge (Knowledge and information transfer to the patient)

E – Empathy and emotional support

S – Summary and strategy for the future

I would empathetically and openly speak to Mrs Smith, and allow her to reveal the extent of her understanding. As a pharmacist, it is less suitable to discuss her results – I am unaware of the exact nature of her diagnosis, and it is better left in the hands of an oncologist. As such, I would answer direct questions as appropriate, but leave anything concerning her diagnosis or management plan to the oncologist. I would reassure her that I will get them to speak to her as quickly as possible.

GENERAL CHARACTER

What makes a good pharmacist?

I will choose to focus on three core attributes here, in order to provide a rounded picture of a good pharmacist.

The first attribute that a good pharmacist needs is empathy. Empathy allows any healthcare worker to understand the patient, and of course for the patient to thus feel that they are understood – this creates trust, and improves the relationship between the pharmacist and patient. Additionally, it allows for better team-working, strengthening interdisciplinary working.

The second attribute that a good pharmacist needs is resilience. Working as a pharmacist poses numerous challenges – be they logistical, like long hours or combining work and studying, or emotional – like dealing with the death of a patient that we have grown to care about. In order to face these challenges and come through them, a pharmacist must be resilient. Lastly, I would focus on clinical knowledge. Whilst it may seem obvious, a pharmacist’s ability to correctly advise a patient, or other healthcare professionals, is based on their knowledge. This knowledge clearly helps patients to trust them and to feel confident and comfortable in their care.

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SITUATIONAL

What will you do if the senior pharmacist is not at the hospital and you have to provide information on a complex drug interaction for a deteriorating patient in critical care?

Firstly, assess the situation and the immediacy of the requirements: How urgent is it? One would need to balance the risks of providing advice oneself vs waiting for senior assistance. Next, we need to consider the knowledge and expertise required. Is it within our competence? Have we covered something similar before, or and performed it with help before, but this would be the first time that we are to perform it alone? If so, providing assistance without senior help would be sensible. Otherwise, we should call a senior.

The next consideration is who else is on duty. Even if the principal pharmacist is not there, there ought to be other seniors on call, and others who you could ask for help. There might be other resident pharmacists who have carried out the process before. We should use our colleagues – and the rest of the MDT – to guide our decision as far as possible.

In the unlikely situation that the information is required immediately, that you are the only one in the hospital who can help to any degree, and that no senior can reach the hospital in time, then you would still need to speak to a senior in some capacity to understand what to do. Taking an action of this nature alone would be irresponsible.

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