By Joshua Neumiller, Pharm.D. and Luke Rice, M.Ed.
Matching with a desired PGY1 residency program following graduation is undoubtedly a competitive process. To provide WSU student pharmacists with a potential “leg up” when applying for residency programs, the experiential services office has implemented an APPE block scheduling program option for our students. The program allows fourth-year students to engage in a longitudinal experience within a single hospital or health system. The program has been in place for several years now and involves sequentially scheduling a series of rotations within a single hospital or health system.
Integration leads to deeper engagement
Block scheduling provides students with an opportunity to fully integrate into the workflow of a facility or health system. This allows students to engage in longitudinal projects and initiatives within the facility to build their skills and resume to a level that would be more difficult to achieve in a single six-week APPE experience. We find our preceptors and rotation sites appreciate this model because students require less orientation and training over time, and can potentially provide added value services to the rotation site as they progress through their scheduled block rotations.
A more authentic professional experience
Second, the opportunities to network and establish relationships with pharmacy leadership, residency directors and current residents is invaluable to helping students progress through the application and interview process as well as providing additional insight on what to expect if they successfully match with a facility or health system.
The APPE block scheduling program requires a third-year student pharmacist to apply for APPE block scheduling with a participating hospital or health system. Each student is expected to submit an application and participate in an interview process with preceptors from the site(s) where they wish to complete an APPE block schedule. Ultimately, the site selects the student(s) that participate in APPE block scheduling at their facility. This process not only helps ensure a good “fit” between students and preceptors, but also provides the student pharmacist with valuable experience applying and interviewing for a position.
To date, the program has been well received by student pharmacists and preceptors alike. Experiential services looks forward to continuing to pursue APPE block scheduling opportunities to meet the needs of our student pharmacists and practice sites.