Friday, February 20, 2015

Why Residency? My PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency Letter of Intent




Like I mentioned in previous blog posts, I applied to 7 residency programs and was invited to an on-site interview by 6 of those programs. Some of my friends/classmates applied to 12-20 programs, and only got 2-4 interviews out of all those applications. That means I did something right :-) 

A pharmacy residency application (submitted through a centralized application service called PhORCAS) consists of multiple components and often makes the candidate feel as if they are under a microscope, as the program looks at so many different factors and arenas of one's professional as well as personal life. 












This is how the homepage of PhORCAS looks, which highlights the major components of the residency application.




Your GPA, choice of didactic courses, choice of rotations, leadership experience, and pharmacy work experience (all logically, neatly, and professionally written in a good looking, well-organized Curriculum Vitae) are important components of the residency application, however, residency programs are also looking for good, strong letters of recommendation from your rotation preceptors / employers (most programs require 3 letters) as well as a strong and well-written RESIDENCY LETTER OF INTENT.

These are the minimum areas that PhORCAS suggests for the candidate to address in their letter of intent:



Since I got a lot of interviews (meaning I had a strong application), I wanted to share with you an example of my letter of intent. Of course, each letter of intent has to be different and individualized based on the program that you're applying to. So YES, I wrote 7 Letters of Intent. But the good news is, most of the LOI stays the same (your goals, your qualities, why you want to pursue residency), and you just have the personalize the part that addresses why YOU are a GOOD FIT for that particular program and why THAT PROGRAM is a good fit for you (how it will help you to meet your long-term goals).

So here is one of my letters (of course, using false names for privacy/security purposes). 

This also helps you, my regular readers, to get to know me a little bit more closely from the professional/pharmacy side and get a deeper understanding of why I WANT TO PURSUE A RESIDENCY.

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Agnes [LastName]
123 Xanax Cir.
PharmVille, IL 12345
email@midwestern.edu
(111) 222-3333

[Residency Director's Name], PharmD, BCPS
Pharmacy Residency Director
Advocate Christ Medical Center & Hope Children’s Hospital
9999 W. 99th Street
PharmCity, IL 54321

Dear Dr. [Residency Director's Name],

I am writing to inform you of my strong interest in pursuing the PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at Advocate Christ Medical Center & Hope Children’s Hospital. I have had the pleasure to interview with ACMC at Midwestern University’s Career Expo on October 15th as well as speak with your current faculty and residents both at the Career Expo as well as the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in California.

I have spent the past four years working toward my long-term goal of becoming an expert clinical pharmacist as well as a didactic and experiential educator. My ideal practice setting is an academic medical center that is affiliated with a school of pharmacy, since this would allow me to combine clinical practice with teaching experience. I have always had a passion both for healthcare and for education and have been fascinated by the impact that a compassionate healthcare provider can have on the lives of his/her patients as well as the positive influence that an extraordinary educator can have on his/her students and on the profession.

More specifically, my goals consist of completing a pharmacy practice PGY-1 and a specialty PGY-2 residency, acquiring a teaching certificate, becoming BCPS certified, and obtaining a position where I can serve as an integral part of a multidisciplinary team while precepting and lecturing students. In order to pursue such a career, I realize that it is necessary that I complete a residency program that will augment and expand my educational foundation, enhance my skills, and help me to achieve my clinical as well as academic aspirations. My deep passion for healthcare and education combined with the experiences I had on my critical care, internal medicine, NICU/Pediatrics, and academic teaching rotations are only some of the factors that helped me to decide that a pharmacy practice residency will be a crucial pursuit in my life.  I am fully aware that only through a pharmacy residency will I be able to undergo unique, challenging, and sometimes even intense experiences that will shape me into an excellent clinician and educator.

I am drawn to ACMC’s residency program because of its ability to provide me with a myriad of hands-on opportunities that will augment my pharmacy practice and critical thinking skills and at the same time allow me to serve as an educator to my patients, other healthcare professionals, and future pharmacists. ACMC has several aspects I am looking for in a program, including a strong focus on and a wide variety of rotations in critical care and pediatrics.  These are currently my areas of strongest interest and the fact that ACMC also offers advanced rotations in these two areas of practice further adds to how important it is for me to obtain the ACMC PGY-1 residency. Other elements that add to my interest in ACMC are the facts that it has an outstanding Children’s Hospital, a level I NICU and level III Perinatal Center, and as I found out during my interview at Midwestern University, ACMC will possibly be starting a PGY-2 in NICU/Pediatrics. Considering all of that and the fact that ACMC’s program consists of strong and caring preceptors, a challenging yet supportive environment, and opportunities to precept pharmacy students and educate healthcare professionals, I feel that your program will assist me in becoming a highly knowledgeable, highly skilled, and confident practitioner. Principally, your program will prepare me to be both an exemplary clinician and an exceptional educator.
   
I firmly believe that I possess the skills and qualities that will make me a successful resident at ACMC’s program. Your program consists of a good balance of pharmacy and clinical practice, teaching, service, leadership, and research; and as reflected by my CV, I have had experiences within each of these arenas. As a fourth year pharmacy student, I intentionally selected rotations that not only reflected my interests but also ones that were known to be rigorous, challenging, and pushed me to develop my critical thinking and problem solving skills. These rotations also further cultivated my professional values and strengthened my desires to become a clinical pharmacist, preceptor, and educator. They required the ability to conduct literature searches, provide evidence-based, patient-centered medication therapy management, demonstrate project management skills, participate in medical emergencies, and provide medication and practice-related education. During these rotations, I have consistently shown my dedication to patient care and the profession of pharmacy, enthusiastic work ethic, but also honesty and humility.  I have utilized these skills and qualities to not only meet the requirements of my APPE rotations but to exceed my preceptors’ expectations; and I hope to continue to strengthen these during residency rotations. Additionally, I believe that my high level of motivation, love of learning and teaching, and continuous striving for self-improvement makes me an excellent and well-rounded candidate and a valuable asset to ACMC’s residency program, the healthcare team, and the pharmacy department in general.

Thank you for considering me as an applicant for your pharmacy practice program. I look forward to discussing my candidacy. If you have any further questions, please contact me at email@midwestern.edu or (111) 222-3333

Best Wishes,

Agnes [LastName]
PharmD Candidate, 2015
Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy
Match Applicant Code Number: #####



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And now...with 4 interviews behind me, and 2 more to go (in fact, I'll be leaving to drive to Indiana for an interview in a couple of hours), all I can do is:



I will soon post about the interview process, how my interviews went, and how I will rank my programs of interest in the Residency National Matching System.

Love, 
Agnes


18 comments:

  1. Your letters of intent are very similar to the "purpose statement" I had to write for grad school. I very much enjoyed reading yours. Good luck at the last two interviews. Many prayers to lead you the way He intends.

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  2. Awesome letter. You are clear, concise and well written. Good luck on the last interviews!

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  3. Much luck to you on your journey!
    Agnes

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    1. Thank you Agnes!!! I'm sure Saint Agnes is praying for both of us on our journeys!!!

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  4. Agnes!! You are in my prayers this Lenten season!

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    1. Aw Grace, I am so blessed to have all these people praying for me. It is truly the biggest blessing.

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    1. Sure Jaina. Contact me at Restless Until I Rest In Thee [at] gmail.com (of course no spaces there).

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  6. Good luck in the residency hunt! I found you through This Ain't the Lyceum and you remind me of myself at a younger age.

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    1. Nice to meet you and thanks for visiting :-) In what ways are we similar?

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  7. Hi, Agnes!! I'm new to your blog, (just started reading it about two weeks ago), and I love it. Its perfect. I've read from the beginning of your journey to your most recent post. You've been through so much, it's so inspiring! I've been wanting to comment for a while, but I wanted to catch up, first! I've been thinking, constantly, about what I wanted to say in my comment. There's really a lot. I just have so many questions that seem would take years to answer! I'm just starting out in college (freshman at a community college) and I have so many strong thoughts on my future. If you ever had a break in your incredibly hectic schedule (no sarcasm here at all!!), I'd love to chat with you about pharmacy school and all that fun stuff. I really have a strong feeling that that's what I want to pursue. I just know it. Your writing and your life sound truly incredible. You're most definitely a role model for anyone wanting to pursue a career in pharmacy, have a strong and true relationship with God, or just be a really down-to-earth person. :-)

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  8. Hi Geneva!! It is so pleasing to receive such a great comment with so many compliments! YOU MADE MY DAY...NO, PROBABLY MY ENTIRE WEEK!!! I am so glad that someone is actually taking the time to read my blog, from beginning to end, finding it useful, and joining me to follow along on my journey. I am also glad that you see me as a role model - although I must admit - I have not achieved any of this myself (it was ALL GOD). And yes, I would love to talk to you and answer any questions you might have :-) Not sure what the best way would be to chat but perhaps to start out you can shoot me an e-mail at:

    Restless Until I Rest In Thee [at] gmail.com (of course no spaces there).

    If you have questions that are related to some other posts you have read, you can also comment on those and I'll do my best to respond :-)

    God Bless,
    Agnes

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  9. In the body of your letter, make certain to incorporate Associate in Nursing introduction of yourself, relevant data like your skills, education and pertinent job expertise. letter of intent to hire

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  10. What we've learnt once writing many resumes and landing thousands of interviews and high-quality job offers is that: The resume conversion rate isn't supported however fancy you'll be able to create someone's background sound or what number numbers, percentages, and action verbs you'll be able to cram into a resume. residency letter of interest

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  11. This is gold. Thank you so much. I'm a current P4 trying to write letters of intent for PGY1s and I have been struggling to find a way to make them stand out.

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  12. Thank you for this! One quick question, did you write thank you notes to programs you talked to after midyear? I'm trying to think of what to say without being generic or cheesy!

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