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    Residency Programs: Not Enough to Go Around

    Why are residency programs becoming harder to find?

    Every year about one-third of the approximately 14,000 pharmacy school graduates seek residency programs to continue their education, particularly if they are interested in pursuing a pharmacy specialty. But, despite an increase in recent years, there are still not enough residency programs in the United States to accommodate them.

    “We had some very well-qualified people who didn’t match and that becomes much more of a numbers game than anything else,” said Kevin B. Sneed, PharmD, Dean of the University of South Florida School of Pharmacy in Tampa, FL.

    Figure 1Sneed said about 25 to 30 of the school’s 113 spring graduates were looking for residency programs; slightly less than 77%, the same percentage that matched in 2016, found matches this year.

    That’s not surprising because the demand for residencies outstrips the supply with anywhere from 1,300 to 1,800 applicants each year who do not match to a program, noted Janet A. Silvester, PharmD, MBA, FASHP, Vice President, Accreditation Services Office, with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. ASHP now conducts two matches a year to meet the rapidly growing needs of those seeking residencies and the residency programs seeking applicants. She said the two-phase match “provides for a more stable and structured recruitment process.”

    Related article: How to Cope with Residency Stress

    This year, 1,693 applicants to PGY1 programs did not find matches by the end of Phase II and 202 applicants to PGY2 programs were unmatched after the second phase, for a total of 1,895, according to ASHP. Students not matched can later participate in a scramble to try and find any open positions.

    There was an overall fill rate for PGY1 and PGY2 of 98.1% at the end of the two-phase match this year. For PGY1 applicants, there were 4,913 applicants in Phase I for 3,484 positions and 3,235 matched after Phase I, for a fill rate of 93%. In Phase II, there were 1,045 applicants for 256 positions and 235 matches, for a fill rate of 92% and a combined fill rate for PGY1 of 99.2%.

    The numbers were a bit lower for the 2017 PGY2 match with 1,208 applicants (including early commits) for 1,108 positions in Phase I. Of that number, 965 matched and 369 had early commit plus match for a fill rate of 87%. In Phase II, there were 138 positions and 130 applicants with 69 matched for a fill rate of 53%. The combined fill rate for PGY2 resident matching programs this year was 89.4%.

    Up next: Why the difficulty?

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    • [email protected]
      Sounds like a situation of demand exceeding the supply. The vast expansion of new pharmacy schools producing new pharmacists leaves a large number of practitioners without the opportunity to enrich their backgrounds with the PGY1 & 2 residency programs. Pharmacy has been on the move to expand the clinical roles of the pharmacist, however, it appears that the schools and the health care industry may not have been working together to ensure the availability of residency sites. his will develop into a critical problem if the needs is not met. Seems like there are great opportunities here to make a difference.
    • [email protected]
      Sounds like a situation of demand exceeding the supply. The vast expansion of new pharmacy schools producing new pharmacists leaves a large number of practitioners without the opportunity to enrich their backgrounds with the PGY1 & 2 residency programs. Pharmacy has been on the move to expand the clinical roles of the pharmacist, however, it appears that the schools and the health care industry may not have been working together to ensure the availability of residency sites. his will develop into a critical problem if the needs is not met. Seems like there are great opportunities here to make a difference.