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Community Pharmacy Practice Residency Offers Unique Learning Experience

ICommunity Pharmacyf asked to sum up her experience as a community pharmacy resident, Susan DeVuyst-Miller said she’s not sure words can express the wealth of opportunity she has encountered through the program.

“Participating in this program has been a wonderfully amazing opportunity for continuing my education,” she said. The cornerstone of the program for DeVuyst-Miller is the abundance of learning opportunities available during her one-year residency, including nine different rotations from providing direct patient care to research.

DeVuyst-Miller is the seventh resident to participate in the Meijer, Pfizer and Ferris State University Community Pharmacy Practice Residency program, a post-graduate opportunity Interim Pharmacy Dean Stephen Durst said is a much-needed complement to the more common hospital-based Pharmacy Practice Residency.

The Pharmacy Practice Residency program is more commonly seen in health systems, he explained. “The Community Pharmacy Practice Residency provides Pharmacy graduates with an in-depth, concentrated experience that further develops their abilities to manage patients from a community-based practice, and builds the skills needed to develop innovative practices and advanced patient management programs. In addition, successful residents will go on to serve as thought leaders in the profession.”

Jackie Morse, a resident in the program from September 2006 to September 2007, said the community pharmacy residency allows for a stronger patient-pharmacist relationship. “A large focus of the program is medication therapy management. In a hospital setting, once the patients leave you may not see them again until they are in crisis mode. In community pharmacy practice, you’re able to spend more time with the patient.”

DeVuyst-Miller adds that the community pharmacist, as part of the medication therapy management process, is not limited to working with patients during a specific time frame. For example, the community pharmacist may follow up with a patient by calling them at home several days to weeks after seeing them in the pharmacy.

DeVuyst-Miller and Morse both say their passion in pharmacy practice is to develop ongoing patient relationships, and the Community Pharmacy Practice Residency program has provided them the opportunity to advance their skills and abilities in working with a diverse and wide-ranging patient population. Ferris State’s partnership with Meijer and Pfizer is unique, with this collaboration being one of two accredited Community Pharmacy Residency programs in Michigan, Durst said. Each partner provides a critical element for the program.

“Initially, Jan Hill (BS-Pharm ’82) and I discussed development of advanced clerkships at Meijer and the residency program was a natural next step. The College was working with Pfizer in offering a Managed Care Residency program and Rick Dettloff (BS-Pharm ’89), director and Medical Outcomes specialist with Pfizer, was very interested in developing the same relationship in the community-based program. Meijer supported further development and Mike Major (BS-Pharm ’75) played a key role. More recently, Karen Mankowski, Meijer vice president for Retail Operations, has made an ongoing commitment to the program,” Durst explained.

Meijer provides a contemporary practice setting with an excellent practice model and commitment to patient care. Pfizer provides a wealth of information management resources and directs each resident’s required project. With the College’s involvement, a unique combination of practical experiences is guaranteed for each resident.

“The College of Pharmacy provides the resident with an academic foundation that supports development of the resident as an educator, recognizing that a pharmacist’s ability to educate patients, and thereby empower them, is critical to achieving the desired therapeutic outcomes,” Durst adds.

DeVuyst-Miller concludes, “The residency program has been so much more than I ever imagined it would be. I can’t wait to use the knowledge and skills I’ve obtained to improve patient outcomes and advance the profession.”