Selecting candidates for pharmacy residencies: A national survey of residency program directors

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2018 Dec;43(6):844-848. doi: 10.1111/jcpt.12723. Epub 2018 Jun 14.


What is known and objective: Due to advances in healthcare and treatment options, there is a need for pharmacists with additional post-graduate residency training. With the growing need for residency-trained pharmacists, obtaining a post-graduate pharmacy residency has become more competitive. The objective of this study was to capture the perspectives of post-graduate year 1 residency programme directors (RPDs) in the United States (US) regarding aspects of a candidate's application and interview they found most important when selecting future residents.

Methods: A cross-sectional, electronic survey was distributed via e-mail to PGY-1 pharmacy RPDs in the USA. RPDs were identified via the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists' pharmacy residency directory. Data related to programme demographics, candidate applications and interview evaluations were collected. RPDs' perceptions were captured via a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree).

Results and discussion: A total of 327 (26.6%) RPDs completed the survey. RPDs highly considered overall compatibility (mean Likert score: 4.9), letters of recommendation (4.6) and letter of interest (4.5) when inviting candidates for on-site interviews. Residency programmes focusing in acute care valued hospital pharmacy work experience more compared to non-acute care-focused residency programmes (4.2 vs 2.9). During the interview, critical thinking ability (4.8), verbal communication (4.8) and overall compatibility (4.9) were viewed as highly important when considering ranking of candidates.

What is new and conclusion: Due to the competitive nature of obtaining a residency programme, insight from RPDs on factors they consider significant when assessing prospective residents is valuable. The results from this study show that a strong letter of intent, letters of recommendations and overall compatibility are considered important by RPDs and should be used by candidates to better prepare themselves for residency applications. Additionally, the candidate should remain knowledgeable about the residency programme and be able to respond to questions asked during the residency interview process.

Keywords: clinical pharmacy; pharmacy education; post-graduate training; residency.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Personnel Selection*
  • Pharmaceutical Services / organization & administration
  • Pharmaceutical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacy Residencies / organization & administration
  • Pharmacy Residencies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States