“Are you going to Midyear this year?” It’s a question asked hundreds of times every fall semester, typically by P3 and P4 students in the ASHP-SSHP chapter at UCSOP. For those unfamiliar with the Midyear ASHP meeting, it is a massive gathering of health-system pharmacists and pharmacy students. This past December, the national meeting was held in Anaheim, CA, with over 20,000 pharmacy professionals attending. The meeting itself spans multiple days and includes seminars and presentations appropriate for both students and practitioners. While the event is a great place to socialize with fellow professionals, it is also an incredibly nerve-wrecking experience, especially those applying for residencies.
Students interested in residency programs after graduating from pharmacy school often attend the residency showcase, which allows students to interact with residency directors from programs across the nation. This is a great time to network and get to know the programs that you may be applying to in the future. P3 Jennifer Byerly attended the Midyear meeting and had this to say about the experience:
“As a P3 student, I was given the chance to explore what Midyear had to offer. I plan on attending the residency showcase next year, so seeing the chaos beforehand was beneficial. I was able to go into the residency showcase and walk around on the last day to see what it would be like for next year. I see how applicants interacted with residents and what types of questions people ask to the programs and their residency directors. Since I had some free time, I was able to sit in on different seminars regarding CV’s, letters of intent, and the scramble. They were helpful because I won’t need to feel like I’m missing out on anything next year. The highlight of my experience was presenting a poster about the Haiti medical mission trip along with Temeka Lewis. By doing so, I was able to spread what we do here at UC to other schools and residents.”
Another incredibly popular event within Midyear itself is the Clinical Skills Competition. The competition includes 2 students from each school of pharmacy from across the nation. The teams are all given the same patient case and asked to develop a treatment plan. UCSOP’s team for 2014 consisted of Melanie Hackney and Joshua Hapney, both P4 students. They have both generously agreed to comment on what they thought of the competition and how future participants should prepare.
“A trip to midyear is always filled with a mixture of excitement and nervousness, especially for those going as a part of the Clinical Skills Competition. There seems to be no way to really prepare yourself for what they will give you. Topics can range from pediatrics to oncology to infectious diseases. The competition is set up nicely, you have plenty of space to work and references to use — though it can be difficult having to share the iPad to use Lexicomp. My advice for students going to the Clinical Skills Competition is to read over past cases to see what little nuances they will be looking for such as nonpharmacological therapies. Also, I would recommend on reading over common guidelines — hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, heart failure– because your patient will most likely have at least one of these disease states. The most important part of it all though is to have fun, this is not something to stress over particularly if you are also there looking at residency programs. My favorite part of the whole experience was the excitement leading up to the competition, all of us were very anxious to see what the topic could possibly be!” –Melanie Hackney (P4)
“The National ASHP Clinical Skills Competition at Midyear in Anaheim, California was a great experience. This was my first time attending Midyear and the number of activities, pharmacists, and pharmacy students present was overwhelming. The competition itself was highly organized. Winners from various pharmacy schools competed at different times throughout the day. We were contacted well in advanced from ASHP with information pertaining to the competition. My partner, Melanie Hackney, and myself arrived to be welcomed by ASHP staff, which assisted us with registration for the competition. We then were placed in a room with other competitors where I was able to interact with pharmacy students from across the country. The competition started with an overview of the rules and scoring process. A video case was presented followed by us moving to a larger room to complete the written portion.
I prepared for the competition by reviewing the rules and regulations posted on ASHP’s website. In addition, I reviewed clinical practice guidelines on various disease states. However, it is difficult to prepare for something such as this because there is no way of knowing what the case will be on. My best advice would be to read as much as you can prior to competition day and then do the best you can in the time given. In addition to the clinical skills competition, I was able to participate in the residency showcase where I met with residents and residency directors from various programs. Midyear was a fantastic experience and I recommend that everyone participate in the clinical skills competition, even if you are a P1 or P2, as it is a valuable learning experience. “ –Joshua Hapney (P4)
A special thank you goes out to Jennifer Byerly, Melanie Hackney, and Joshua Hapney for taking time out of their busy schedules to help with this topic!
Contributed by Peter Relvas UC SOP Pharmacy Student & Graduate Intern, Office of Professional and Student Affairs.