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  • 1.  PGY2 or Not to - Considerations for Completing a PGY2

    Posted 02-09-2024 06:32 PM

    When I first started out on my pharmacy journey, I had not considered doing a residency. I felt that it wasn't going to be something I would need or that I would be successful at pursuing at the time. However, throughout the completion of my P3 year, I found my passion in ambulatory care. I began considering what a PGY1 residency would mean and how it would help me achieve my goal of becoming a primary care pharmacist, which inevitably led to the consideration of pursuing a PGY2 specialized in Ambulatory Care.

    I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to pursue a PGY2 after early committing to my program's Ambulatory Care PGY2. I would highly recommend incoming PGY1 residents to consider this opportunity if your institution provides it! There are several things to consider when determining if pursing a PGY2 is right for you. A PGY2 can offer significant clinical experiences that focus on the practice specialty of your interest. There are several specialty areas to choose from. Most PGY2 specialties fall into one of the 12 main clinical areas: (1) Critical Care, (2) Emergency Medicine, (3) Infectious Disease, (4) Oncology, (5) Pain Management/Palliative Care, (6) Solid Organ Transplant, (7) Ambulatory Care, (8) Psychiatry, (9) Cardiology, (10) Neurology, (11) Pediatrics, (12) Geriatrics. A PGY2 experience builds on the knowledge cultivated throughout the completion of a PGY1 residency and offers a more in-depth training experience to become a specialist in your practice area of interest.

    Outside of gaining experience, continued post-graduate training impacts the timing to achieve board certification. For an example, according to the Board of Pharmacy Specialities, for someone who did not complete a residency and is hoping to become board certified in psychiatry, he or she will need to meet additional requirements such as having practice experience of 4 years after licensure including 50% or more time spent in the domains described in the psychiatric pharmacy content outline. For someone having completed a PGY1 with an active license, this timeframe is cut in half to 2 years. For a someone having completed a PYG2 in psychiatry holding an active license, no additional practice experience is required post PGY2 to apply for board certification. Additionally, having a PGY2 on your CV helps differentiate you from other candidates in the job application process as many pharmacist positions require a PGY2 or equivalent experience with a preference for board certification.

    At the end of the day, the only one who can determine if you should pursue a PGY2 is…well, you! If it suits your career interests, provides you with the opportunities and learning experiences you desire, and is within a program that challenges yet supports your progress, a PGY2 residency is worth considering. I know that a PGY2 is the right choice for me, and I am excited to begin my PGY2 after the completion of my PGY1!

    Elizabeth Gallagher
    Antioch TN

  • 2.  RE: PGY2 or Not to - Considerations for Completing a PGY2

    Posted 02-13-2024 11:03 AM
    Edited by Devin Horinek 02-13-2024 11:03 AM


    Thank you so much for the information provided in this post! As a PGY1 Resident who is not pursuing a PGY2, this was very enlightening to see who PGY2 can help with Board Certifications. On another note, I was able to get the patient contacts and hours needed to apply for my Pharmacist Clinician license in New Mexico with my PGY1 because it is Community-Based and I spend a great deal of time in clinic seeing patients. I love how there are many paths to becoming an ambulatory care pharmacist! 

    Devin Horinek, PharmD
    PGY1 Pharmacy Resident
    Southwest Care Center
    Albuquerque, New Mexico

  • 3.  RE: PGY2 or Not to - Considerations for Completing a PGY2

    Posted 02-15-2024 09:13 AM

    Hey, Elizabeth!

    I am a current PGY1 resident and am pursuing a PGY2 in ambulatory care at a site other than where I am currently practicing. I have known since I started pharmacy school that I wanted to do two years of residency, but as I am approaching the end of my PGY1 it's easy to look at my coresidents who are applying for jobs and think that I could do that now too instead of interviewing for PGY2 positions. However, I know that I will not look back and regret having this additional training under my belt. I am confident that a PGY2 will give me the skills needed to work in any ambulatory setting and will provide me with opportunities in the future. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Lauren Holbrook, PharmD, MPH
    PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
    Birmingham VA Health Care System
    Birmingham, AL
    (256) 223-1629

  • 4.  RE: PGY2 or Not to - Considerations for Completing a PGY2

    Posted 02-15-2024 04:35 PM


    Thank you for sharing your insights into this topic. I believe this information will be beneficial to many PGY1 residents and student pharmacists as they navigate the decision-making process to determine the best path for their careers. Currently, I am serving as the Executive Resident with the Board of Pharmacy Specialties, engaged in a residency focused on association management which is very different than the hospital/clinic-based residency training. However, I appreciate your acknowledgment of how varying levels of residency training and years of practice experience can impact eligibility for board certification. I am confident that this insight will shed light on different paths, aiding individuals in making informed decisions about whether to pursue more specialized training in a PGY2 residency.

    Parth Patel
    Executive Resident
    American Pharmacists Association
    Alexandria VA

  • 5.  RE: PGY2 or Not to - Considerations for Completing a PGY2

    Posted 02-15-2024 04:45 PM


    Great analysis of some of the considerations that go into deciding whether or not to pursue a PGY2 program. I'm in an HSPAL program which has a PGY2 component built right in, which I'm very grateful for, but it's been really interesting seeing my peers considering these programs versus going directly into practice instead. I think you're so right that career interests and trajectories truly should be the primary factors in pharmacists' minds as they consider whether to pursue another year of training. Thanks for starting the conversation and best of luck as you continue out your year and move into your PGY2!

    Zachary Krauss FPI,MBA
    PGY1 HSPAL Resident
    Winston-Salem NC

  • 6.  RE: PGY2 or Not to - Considerations for Completing a PGY2

    Posted 02-23-2024 10:14 PM
    Edited by Christine Hong 02-23-2024 10:14 PM

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights. It's value added and helpful for any pharmacist or student pharmacist seeking guidance as they navigate their career path.

    Christine Nguyen, PharmD
    Pharmacy Director, NWFD
    H-E-B Pharmacy
    Dallas, Texas