USF Pharmacy students celebrate a successful Match for seniors heading to residency programs

Senior USF pharmacy students were surrounded by classmates as they celebrated their Match Day April 8. The special gathering was a culmination of the several weeks needed to finalize this year’s match results, at both USF and for graduating pharmacy students across the country.

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USF College of Pharmacy students did well in their matches: 77 percent of those seeking to match succeeded in filling positions for their first year of residency (PGY1), the next step in their pharmacy education. Nationally, roughly 66 percent of pharmacy students who participated in the Match for PGY1 were successful. This is the second year for the USF College of Pharmacy to participate in the match – its charter class just graduated last year.

“I’m very pleased with how our students placed,” said Kevin Sneed, PharmD, dean of the USF College of Pharmacy and senior vice president for USF Health. “The strong programs our students filled reflect the strength of our program.”

At USF, 13 pharmacy students of the 53 in the graduating class opted to pursue residencies through the national Match, which is coordinated by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

While Match Day for medical students covers a tighter timeframe with a peak moment that reveals how almost all of the graduating group matched, pharmacy students experience a more drawn out process as programs and students try to connect. Phase I fills most positions but it’s during Phase II, which lasts several weeks, when the remaining positions get filled.

Even so, many pharmacy students will not match at all during PGY1 simply because there are not enough pharmacy residency positions, Dr. Sneed said.

“Because there are so few openings, some of students won’t match in this first phase,” he said. “But things need to change and more residencies need to open. Highly qualified students are being denied opportunities to excel and offer their talents to residency programs and the patients they serve.”

For the national ASHP 2016 Match, there were 4,609 senior pharmacy students vying for 3,312 PGY1 positions (and 829 students vying for 678 second-year PGY2 positions). And the demand for residencies is only going to increase as the number of graduates choosing residencies also increases, said John Clark, PharmD, assistant professor and director of Experiential Education, and of Pharmacy Residency Programs for the USF College of Pharmacy.

“The message for students who seek to go into a pharmacy residency is to prepare, prepare, and prepare,” Dr. Clark said. “More employers seek pharmacists who have one to two years of advanced and more specialized training beyond graduation – which might give them a competitive edge in the job market.”

That is the case for Ivonne DeValle, one of USF’s fourth-year pharmacy students. DeValle said she knew residency training was a must.

“My pharmacy rotations really opened my eyes for the impact pharmacists have on patient care through team-approached care,” DeValle said. “I knew that, in order to reach that level of success, I would need to pursue a residency.”

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Ivonne DeValle

DeValle matched at Bay Pines Veterans’ Hospital in Pinellas County, a position that perfectly matches her career goals of caring for the elderly, working on a health care team, and helping veterans.

“This residency offers a perfect balance for what I was looking for,” DeValle said. “Veteran health care facilities across the country have been ahead of the curve by incorporating pharmacists into ambulatory care teams.”

This year’s Match also helped fulfill goals for Benny Yau.

Originally from California, Yau is headed back west for a residency at Stanford University, which helps meet his hope for a residency filled with variety.

Prior to attending USF, Yau spent a year with a family-run pharmacy group in the San Francisco area, which exposed him to many pharmacy-centered settings – retail, out-patient at hospitals, health clinics, and even mail order and nursing home settings.

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Benny Yau

“Across all these areas, the pharmacists really got to know their patients and were able to help the people they served,” Yau said. “Stanford was able to provide a residency that offered similar experiences, including the acute care and critical care found in hospital settings, but also ambulatory, out-patient care, too.”

The College of Pharmacy offers several opportunities for students to learn more about pharmacy residencies: Dr. Clark directs an elective course called Introduction to Post Graduate Residency Training that aims to help the interested students to prepare for residency training, residency topics are incorporated throughout the Pharmaceutical Skills course, and a Residency Showcase invites residency programs from around the Tampa Bay area, as well as out of the region, to exhibit their programs to USF pharmacy students.

USF College of Pharmacy Class of 2016 Match results

Steven Cindric, Bay Pines VAMC, St. Petersburg, FL
Ivonne DeValle, Bay Pines VAMC, St. Petersburg, FL
Rania Elmaddawi, Coram Healthcare, Jacksonville, FL
Alexandria Hatzileris, St. Anthony, Tampa, FL
Suzanne Huber, Haley VAMC, Tampa, FL
Stephanie Hughes, Florida Hospital, Celebration, FL
Lukose Joseph, Wolfson Children’s Baptist Hospital, Jacksonville, FL
Jose Leon-Burgos, Florida Hospital, Celebration, FL
Sullivan Lynch, Haley VAMC, Tampa, FL
Sandra Martin, Florida Hospital, Winter Haven, FL
Lauren Nardelli-Briggs, St. Joseph Hospital, Tampa, FL
Jerica Singleton, Mercy Family Health, University of Iowa, Dubuque, IA
Benny Yau, Stanford Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA

Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Office of Communications