Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Start of my Pharmacy Residency and Post-Match Reflections

Can you tell I started residency last month??? You probably can because I totally abandoned you guys meanwhile. The first month wasn't all that bad and it flew by like crazy...but the real ride is about to begin.....
So let me update you on some stuff.....


First of all: 
I PASSED ALL 3 OF MY BOARD EXAMS AND AM NOW OFFICIALLY A LICENSED PHARMACIST..... IN 2 STATES! :-) :-) :-)

"So how does it feel to be a licensed pharmacist?" - my friend asks me today.

My exact response: "It feels a little intimidating to tell you the truth. Now I have all of these responsibilities on my shoulders - it is kind of scary to think that people's well-being is in my hands...that my decisions will be affecting the health outcomes of ill patients in the hospital."

Just showing off my new resident white coat
It definitely is scary to sign your name at the bottom of a "progress note" in which you explain how you will dose a patient's antibiotic or why you will be switching a particular medication to a different one. That note is a permanent record in the patient's chart. That decision has a permanent impact on your patient's health. And your name stays with it forever. Your decisions cannot be reversed. So God forbid you make a decision that is less than optimal to the patient's health and well-being. This is one of the reasons why choosing to do residency and have a truly clinical role was such a huge discernment process for me - and this is why I always have and always will study hard and pray hard.  Because I want to make sure I deliver the best care possible and make the best possible decisions based on the most recent medical research / evidence and based on sound clinical judgement coming from my experience...and wisdom coming from the Holy Spirit. Most importantly, I pray at the beginning of every workday and I place everything in the hands of the Lord, because at the end of the day, it is He who is working through me to heal and to save lives. 

Despite being humbled by being given such a critically important and impactful role within healthcare, I am certainly ready to accept this God-given role and do my absolute best to provide optimal healthcare to the people God puts on my path. I promise I will do my best...because this is not just my career, this is not just my money-maker - this is my VOCATION, this is my MISSION. God created me to do this for a reason and thus I will do my best to be the best clinical pharmacist I possibly can. 



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But.....enough of my shpeal...let's get back to the original point of this blog post: 
My residency program.


Back in the day....after I announced that I matched to a residency program, I promised a bit more info. Since I told you guys all about the application and interview process as well as familiarized you with all of the hospitals at which I interviewed, I figured you might be interested to hear where I ended up matching...or rather...where God, the true matchmaker, placed me. I have been promising to deliver this blog post since the spring, but as you know...I was just a tad bit busy finishing up rotations, graduating pharmacy school, studying for board exams, getting licensed, and preparing for residency.


March 2015

To start off, here is a picture of my post- residency match Mexican food outing with my husband.
I am now jealous of the above pictured girl and her mango margarita. This was probably the last margarita I have had and will have in 2015. Pregnant woman problems blessings. :-)

Anyways.... On the infamous "Match Day," I raised my head from my pillow in the morning and grabbed my phone to check my e-mail for match results. I saw 2 emails: one from the National Match Service (NMS) and one from the Residency Program Director (RPD) of Franciscan Alliance with the subject: "Congratulations." So I did not even have to open the official National Match e-mail to know where I matched, because the RPD sent all 4 of us an e-mail just a few minutes after the results came out. 

And so at first I was like:








And I let myself be happy for a few moments....maybe even a few days. I spread the news among family, e-mailed the professors and preceptors that wrote me letters of recommendation to thank them, and I went out with my husband to celebrate the newly determined course of my future.

But it wasn't too long until negative thoughts, doubts, and fear started creeping in and stealing my joy. As always. The devil won't let you be happy for too long, because your happiness really irritates him.


So after thinking too much like a human and for too long...I was like:

O MY GAAAWD...
 WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO?!?!?!

Despite my long discernment process, I once again started having doubts about residency. And not only residency in general, but at this time, I had doubts specifically about the program I matched to. Instead of being happy that I even matched to a program (less than 1/2 of the people that apply actually get a residency) and instead of trusting God with where He placed me, the never-ending train of "Why's" and "How's" began haunting me. 

The one thought that I specifically remember haunting me was 
"Why did I not get into my #1 ranked choice but rather my #2?" 

Right before the Residency Match Day, I had a pretty good feeling about both programs. In fact, I ranked all 6 programs where I interviewed but was really only hoping to get into #1 or #2....the other 4 were just backups. But after I matched to #2...of course the devil (and my human nature) made me want MORE. My mind was convinced that my top program was the best match for me...and had the best options...but let me just tell you (now that I am 4 weeks into residency), that I was wrong (haha, did you see that coming??? God once again showed me that HE IS RIGHT and I AM WRONG. Just always works out that way. He's too smart!). But since between March and May I did not know that, I kept being hesitant about residency and really not knowing whether it was a good decision to commit to. But after the initial flood of "why's," I really just took the backseat and let God be the driver. I kept working and finishing my rotations and I knew that what was coming at the end of June was good...because everything that God gives us is GOOD for us in one way or another. It might not be EASY, but it is always GOOD. 

So I placed my trust in God and stopped worrying about what is coming and where I am going. And then of course from mid-May through the start of residency, my heart and mind were elsewhere...I was distracted with something way bigger, way more important.... NO, not just graduating with my PharmD. I was busy thinking about the baby God had placed in my womb. Of course, when you read my initial baby announcement post, you will see (or have already seen) that I also had lots of questions and doubts regarding how I will survive residency and give birth to our first child in the middle of it, and then have to finish 6 more months of it and be away from my newborn for such long days/hours. I still think about that a lot but I try not to worry about the future because by now I figure God knows what He's doing with my life. Even though some things seem impossible and very difficult and scary right now as I look into the near future, as always, I choose to place it all in His Hands and trust, trust, trust and pray, pray, pray. I asked for one or the other (baby or residency), but God chose to give me both (because He always gives abundantly to those who place their trust in Him) - which just means that obviously God knows that I can handle both. 



Buy anyways, going back to discussing the program where I matched for a year of residency. I have only been there for a month and the "real fun" hasn't really started yet because we're still kind of shadowing and working under direct supervision of our preceptors for this first rotation....but to be completely honest...I love everything about Franciscan St. Margaret Hospital. In fact, the whole entire Franciscan Alliance Health System (comprising of several hospitals throughout Indiana) is just a wonderful company to work for. I mean, the whole culture of the Fransciscan system is just so different from all of the previous hospitals I have experienced through rotations. It is as Catholic as they come! Not just Catholic in name. Catholic in EVERYTHING they do and everything they stand for. 


For example, this is a portion of their employment application. Came across when I was filling out my paperwork and I thought it was awesome that all of the employees and potential employees have to read and live by these Franciscan standards.

The first time I went to the South campus (St. Margaret has two campuses that we residents alternate between), I was very impressed. 

 

Do you know what literally went through my head when I first arrived at this campus and walked from the parking lot into the hospital? ....I looked around and I thought: "A crucifix (not just a cross, a real and life-sized crucifix with Christ's body hanging on it) is standing by the road right by the main entrance into the hospital, a life-sized Statue of Saint Francis of Assissi prominently displayed right in the center of the parking lot entrance, and a Vatican flag waving in the background. I feel like I am home." I felt at peace, assured that this WAS the EXACT place that GOD brought me to for residency, and I felt so proud to be Catholic at that moment. ...And proud to be a resident for the Franciscan Health System. I JUST KNEW I WAS IN THE EXACT PLACE GOD PREPARED FOR ME FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. (Of course, all of the anxiety that came with residency discerning, applying, interviewing, matching was just useless worrying. This was God's Will for me this whole time and He brought me to it, as He always does. But at least I learned a whole lot through this experience and it brought me closer to God.)


Then we had our residency program orientation, followed by 2 days of hospital orientation. I felt very peaceful, assured, and happy at both. There was no doubt in my mind I belonged at this hospital, at this residency program, at this specific time. All my thoughts, doubts, and fears were cleared...especially after we watched a video about how this Franciscan hospital system was first founded, what its mission and values are, and just how very different it is from your general (especially secular) hospital. The mission of the hospital, which is prominently displayed all over the hospital and all over paperwork is:

"Continuing Christ's Ministry in Our Franciscan Tradition."


So now that God called me here, this is MY MISSION as well. 

And into the 3rd week, when I started getting overwhelmed with some of the projects being assigned to us...and then also thinking about how I will handle everything with this pregnancy and having a baby in a few months and then coming back to finish another 6 months...I saw this phrase on a piece of paper pinned to the Nurses' Station on the 6th floor [which is the IMCU - or Intermediate Care Unit]:



And I immediately thanked God because I literally saw this message right when I began getting discouraged. Perfect words and perfect timing. And again, I was assured that if God brought me to it, He will bring me through it. God obviously wants me here, and He also wants me to have a baby while here...He will not forsake me. My journey over the next 12-14 months (until I finish residency) may be HARD AS HELL, but I will get through it with God and I will come out on the other side VICTORIOUS!

For now, I know that I am in the right place and I cannot imagine being elsewhere. I cannot wait to meet my munchkin in January and I cannot wait to finish my residency program in July/ August 2016 so I can spend more time with my munchkin after the craziness of residency is done. 

I came across this on pinterest a few months back, and I decided that this will be my little motto for this residency / pregnancy / baby year....I think I will print this quote, frame it, and put it on my resident's desk...just specifically for those difficult times of discouragement and exhaustion. 


You can't go wrong with God.

Amen.

(P.S. I missed you all and I will be back shortly to post my 1st trimester updates with weekly pictures. I am almost done with that post! So come back ya'll!)

Agnes  :-)