5 Things I Wish I Knew Before My Pharmacy Residency

by | Jun 19, 2024 | Blog, Pharmacy Student

Pharmacy residency was a pivotal experience for me, filled with lessons that shaped my career path. Looking back, there are five key things I wish I had done differently.

Networking stands out as the first. It’s not just about making connections but about understanding its power in career progression. In residency, I spent too much time in my cubicle and not enough building relationships with preceptors and fellow pharmacists. Now, as a career coach, I emphasize the importance of networking early and often—it opens doors to opportunities you wouldn’t find otherwise.

Publishing is another area I regret not exploring more. Whether sharing insights on pharmacy practice or personal experiences, publishing can enhance your professional profile significantly. I wish I had started writing earlier, even simple articles about my daily experiences, to build a portfolio and network within the field.

Feedback is crucial for growth, yet I didn’t actively seek it enough during my residency. Constructive criticism, when acted upon promptly, accelerates learning. I learned this lesson later when managing my own team—it’s about receiving specific feedback and immediately implementing it to improve.

Residency requirements are stringent, but I wish I had advocated for more flexibility. Aligning experiences closer with my career aspirations in ambulatory care would have been more fulfilling. It took me halfway through to realize I could negotiate these aspects, which led me to seek external preceptors to fill gaps in my learning.

Finally, I discovered the joy of teaching during a class on over-the-counter acne medications. Despite initially underestimating its impact, the experience of engaging students through role-playing was immensely rewarding. Identifying these moments of fulfillment early on can guide your career trajectory towards what truly excites you.

Reflecting on these experiences drives my passion for helping pharmacists navigate their careers. Whether you’re in residency or considering it, I encourage you to think about these lessons. What would you do differently? 

Share your thoughts below — I’d love to hear your experiences and answer any questions you may have. Remember, your career is a journey shaped by the choices you make along the way.

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Creating Happy Pharmacists

If you really want to build the career and life that you’ve dreamed of, one where you are helping people and working in a field that you love, you need to do something different than what you’ve been doing.

Through coaching you can re-discover why you became a pharmacist and find your passion again.