For some fields of specialty, pharmacy schools do not provide adequate coverage of certain topics. Therefore, some students will choose to complete a pharmacy residency. These programs are optional, and all comprise specialized training within the pharmacy field.
Postgraduate residency programs are typically two years in length and are undertaken after completion of the PharmD degree. The first year is typically a general yearof postgraduate study, and in the second year one can choose amongst many different specialties. These residencies typically take place in a hospital or other inpatient care setting.
There are three different kinds of first-year postgraduate residencies that are recognized by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. These include Pharmacy Practice, Community Pharmacy, and Managed Care Pharmacy. These residencies are based in a hospital setting, community pharmacy, or managed care organization (e.g., health plan or benefit company), respectively.
The purpose of the Pharmacy Practice residency is to cover a variety of subjects and to prepare one for Board Certification in Pharmacotherapy Specialty.
The Community Pharmacy residency serves to cover the issues encountered with patients at a community pharmacy. The topics covered include patient adherence to medication, therapy management, and coordination of therapy with the prescribing physician.
Those studying in the Managed Care Pharmacy residency program will be trained to deliver care in three different real-life models: patient care in which the pharmacist makes recommendations to other providers, who then provide care to the patient; patient care in a group where the pharmacist is responsible for designing, conducting, monitoring, and evaluating outcomes of programs; and patient care in which the pharmacist develops and implements a drug therapy program.
At the completion of the first year of postgraduate study, one can choose a pharmacy specialty. The subspecialties recognized by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists are:
- Managed Care Pharmacy Systems
- Health Administration Pharmacy
- Critical Care
- Drug Information
- Emergency Medicine
- Infectious Disease
- Internal Medicine
- Medication Use Safety
- Nutrition Support
- Palliative Care/Pain Management
When the residency is complete, one is eligible to take the Pharmacy Board Certification Exam for one of the five specialties currently recognized by the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties. These specialties are psychiatry, nutritional support, oncology, pharmacotherapy, and nuclear pharmacy.