Frequently Asked Questions

Pharmacy Residency Homepage Program Purpose and Structure Preceptors Current Residents

How many PGY1 positions does St. Cloud Hospital offer per year?
We currently offer three PGY1 positions.

How long are your learning experiences for each rotation?
Learning experiences are five weeks in length with the exception of orientation which is 4 weeks and Mega MedSurg which is nine weeks in length.

What is Mega MedSurg?

The Mega MedSurg rotation consists of three, three-week-long experiences for the residents within three different medicine environments (9 weeks in total).

The first experience, called the Family Medicine component, involves the resident rounding on a family medicine inpatient service with traditional bedside interdisciplinary teaching rounds. The residency program director (RPD) is the pharmacist for the family medicine service and preceptor for this rotation.

The second and third experiences are called the Decentralized component and involves the resident spending one-on-one time with their pharmacy preceptor in a decentralized office on either the medicine or surgical floors. This experience focuses on completing pharmacy consults efficiently, answering questions from nurses and doctors over the phone and in person, and providing order verification for approximately 100 general medicine patients on two medicine or surgical floors and a progressive care floor. This rotation follows orientation, and all residents are scheduled for this rotation together. One resident starts with the family medicine component, one on the medicine decentralized floor and one resident starts with the surgical decentralized component. The residents switch services at the 3-week mark. By having all residents on this rotation at the same time, it allows for combined topic discussions of core disease states. This provides the opportunity for the residents to learn from and with each other. It also allows the resident to obtain insight from multiple preceptors and for the inclusion of pharmacy students in the topic discussions, facilitating the layered learning practice model.

These elements of the rotation help the residents build confidence in their foundational medicine knowledge, decentralized abilities, as well as their interdisciplinary rounding skills early in their residency year. We believe completing this expanded rotation after orientation places the resident in a position to succeed as they move on to their more specialized rotational experiences in quarters two through four of the program.

What are the required rotations (learning experiences)?
Orientation, mega medsurg, management and leadership, critical care, infectious disease and transitions of care or pediatrics/neonatal medicine are required rotations.

What are the available elective rotations and how many does the resident complete?
Each resident will complete three elective rotations during their residency year. The residents choose from learning experiences in oncology, cardiology, ambulatory care, emergency medicine, pediatrics and neonatal medicine, medication safety and informatics and a pilot research experience.

How flexible is the program with electives? Or how customizable is your program?
The wide range of electives allows the resident to customize their residency experience to align with their interests and goals. Additionally, we encourage the resident to participate in designing their rotation schedule along with us. We realize that a resident’s interests may change over the course of the residency year. We will make every reasonable effort to accommodate scheduling requests to meet their needs and optimize their growth.

How are research projects selected?
Prior to the residents starting their residency year, the St. Cloud Hospital Preceptors create a list of traditional research projects, pilot research experiences and medication use evaluations for the incoming class to choose from. Projects discussed are typically rough ideas that we believe would setup well for a project within our facility. It is up to the resident to define the patient population, refine the logistics, finalize endpoints and create a data collection plan. In addition, residents also have the option to propose and complete their own research idea or project if they so choose. Residents complete one research project (traditional or pilot) and one medication use evaluation during their residency year.

Tell me more about the pilot research listed as an elective rotation.
Pilot research projects provide the resident with the opportunity to provide new or additional pharmacy services to a patient population within the hospital. This 5-week pilot functions as the resident's January elective block rotational experience and is also the major research/quality improvement project for the resident. The resident still chooses this project as their research project early in the residency year, helps to design the rotation, formulates the targeted interventions or new services to provide, creates a data collection plan and presents the project to IRB prior to completing this 5-week pilot experience in January. This experience, like others in the program, is overseen by a preceptor. In a sense, the resident and preceptor are able to create a new rotation or service for which we record the impact on patient care and/or cost outcomes. We believe this is a unique aspect to our program and allows for residents to help shape their education and chose how they want to impact patient care! An example of a pilot experience that we have completed in the past is the development of an Acute Kidney Injury Stewardship Program.

Does your program offer a teaching program (sometimes called a teaching certificate)?
Yes, residents have the opportunity to complete a program on teaching through North Dakota State University (NDSU). This entails attending an elective eight-hour seminar through NSDU. The residents complete the requirement of this program by turning in their educational materials associated with revising or designing two 90-minute pharmacology lectures and examination questions for nursing students through a partnership with the St. Cloud State University Nursing Students. We believe this is a unique opportunity to complete a program on teaching while engaging in multi-disciplinary education.

What precepting and teaching opportunities are available for residents?
Each resident will engage in didactic teaching by providing two pharmacology lectures to St. Cloud State University nursing students. Residents provide a preceptor development session at the residency retreat. Residents present two 60-minute continuing education seminars to pharmacy staff as well as at least one in-service to pharmacy, nursing and medical staff throughout the residency year. Residents will also serve as co-preceptors for IPPE and, at least one, APPE students who are scheduled on rotation with them. As mentioned previously, there is the opportunity to complete an elective program on teaching through NDSU. Please see the Program Purpose and Structure for complete details on teaching requirements.

What are the staffing requirements?
Residents provide staffing coverage every third weekend and one weekday shift every third week. Residents will rotate through central pharmacy early in the residency year and transition to decentralized staffing shifts in the second half of the residency year. The staffing component is designed to enhance the resident’s understanding of pharmacy operations, medication management and distribution.

Is there an on-call component?
Residents do not participate in an on-call service.

How is work-life balance and resident resiliency supported in this program?
Our staffing requirement allows for two consecutive weekends off throughout the year. We believe this builds additional downtime for the resident to recharge during this intense year of training. We conduct an annual day-long residency retreat in October of each year. This retreat allows for the preceptors and residents to get to know each other (often offsite) while engaging in team building and educational activities. Additionally, as part of the leadership component to the program, the RPD, preceptors and residents create pharmacy social gatherings as part of what we call the Residency Emotional Support Team (REST). Residents are also assigned mentors at the beginning of the year who they can reach out to for support or guidance throughout the residency year. Lastly, the RPD conducts informal bi-weekly check-ins with the residency class to gauge how each resident is doing at work and at home. We believe in challenging our residents for maximal growth while at the same time supporting them as they navigate this busy and exciting year.

What sort of guidance or mentorship is provided to new residents?
As part of the ResiPals program, each incoming resident is matched with an outgoing resident who will be available to answer questions before the residency begins. Furthermore, each resident will be paired with a residency program preceptor who will serve as a mentor and additional go-to person for questions and support throughout the residency year.

Do residents have access to onsite parking?
Residents have free onsite parking in a parking ramp next to the hospital.

When is the start date?
The residency year typically begins on the Monday of the last week of Junet. The date is subject to change.

Do residents receive vacation time?
Residents accrue 23 days of paid time off (PTO) and are able to use up to 12 days per year. They may use an additional 5 days of sick time over the course of the year without having to extend the residency year. The resident will be paid for any remaining unused PTO at the end of the residency year.

What are the strengths of your program?

  • A long history of pharmacist integration into the services the hospital provides
  • A very high preceptor-to-resident ratio with over 20 preceptors in the program
  • The Resident Emotional Support Team (REST) committee
  • Pilot research option
  • Well-rounded rotation opportunities
  • A wide variety of teaching opportunities

Do residents participate in medical emergencies such as code blues?
Yes, residents will be incorporated into responding to medical emergencies as the year progresses.

What professional conferences do the residents attend throughout the residency year?
Residents will attend the MSHP or NDSU Research Forum in August, the MSHP midyear meeting in September, the ASHP midyear meeting in December, the MSHP annual meeting in April, and The North Star Pharmacy Residents Conference in May.

Does the residency program support travel to conferences?
Financial support is provided for attendance, travel and lodging for required professional conferences. The expenses will be reimbursed by the pharmacy department to a maximum yearly allowance of $4,000 per resident.

Do residents have a dedicated workspace?
Residents are provided a large resident office space, work laptop with dual screens and an additional monitor for home use.

Are any supplemental materials required or encouraged when applying to this program?
None. Please see the Program Purpose and Structure for complete details on requirements and application deadlines

What local attractions does St. Cloud offer?
Situated along the banks of the Mississippi and Sauk Rivers, St. Cloud has an abundance of recreational opportunities. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Munsinger Gardens, a hike through Quarry Park and Nature Preserve, or a stroll along the Beaver Island trails. The Beaver Island trail stretches for 5 miles along the Mississippi River and is a popular place for walkers, bikers, rollerblades and cross-country skiers. There are also many locations along the river where you can rent a boat or kayak if you are looking for an opportunity to enjoy the water during the warm summer months. Located within St. Cloud is Lake George Park which offers numerous events and activities from outdoor concert series to a week-long gathering of local food trucks and vendors. Sports fans can catch a ballgame at Joe Farber Field or take in a college hockey game at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Finally, downtown St. Cloud offers exceptional entertainment and cultural experiences. The Paramount Theater and Visual Arts Center and Pioneer Place host a variety of art exhibits, theater and comedy shows, musicals and live music performances.