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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Inspiring Pharmacy Leadership Interviews

May 16, 2018

Devlin Smith is a 2016 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy and finishing a PGY-1/PGY-2/MS Health System Pharmacy Administration as a resident at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Her background includes experience in event/tradeshow management (pre-pharmacy), leadership development (through PDC, LDS, and UTCOP), and pharmacy education (integrated curriculum design, professional development). And, as a fellow runner, she thinks its normal to say "I ran 12 miles, then 13 miles the next day." 

Full Transcript:

welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy
leaders podcast is a member of the
pharmacy podcast network with interviews
and advice on building your professional
network brand and a purposeful second
income from students residents and
innovative professionals well let's talk
about the residency just a little bit
more so the APA s HP just came out with
the number saying that the number of
residency went from 3,000 to 4,500 in
five years and that is a huge change but
before it was kind of like I'm just so
happy to have a residency any residency
I got one you know kind of like I've got
a date to the prom I didn't have to stay
home but I feel like the tables are
turning a little bit because of the
number of residences that are out there
now and and can you talk a little bit
about making sure that I don't want to
say like so the the the caveat is don't
put it down if you don't want to go
there but I feel like so many people are
feeling pressured like well if I don't
put it down then I'll have nothing but
why would you want to go to some place
that you don't want to be so can you
talk about maybe a little bit about just
saying hey you know what if this the
five residency's that come up and one
that didn't work out you know don't take
the one that didn't work out or or how
do you stick to your guns I guess - this
is what I want to do and this is the
road that I have I guess that a mic
coming off with the right question ok I
understand entirely and I think that's
where it comes down to you I'm a firm
believer that life puts you exactly
where you're supposed to be even if it's
not where you thought you were supposed
to be and I think that's a lot of how
this path works out with residency you
know I've had friends that maybe didn't
match in the first phase or you know had
to go to a scramble at some point
because they could stick to their guns
and funnily enough they ended up in
exactly the right program for them so
when you're looking at those residency
decisions you know maybe you've
interviewed at 10 places and you really
seen yourself at five only ranking those
five means that you know you're aligning
what you really want with that program
the other five you have to remember
right if you match there you're gonna
have to spend a year there like you're
committing a year to that experience if
really truly at the end of the day all
you want is that PGI one certificate or
PGI two surfy certificate that's that's
on you but I think the best approach
really is you know just ranking the ones
and just sticking the ones that feel
like they would be a good fit for it
like can you really see yourself there
can you really see yourself spending a
year or these individuals would you be
okay with that would it be a good
experience because a year is a really
long time to be miserable it's a really
really long time and you know if it
doesn't pan out the way that you
expected it to maybe you need to take a
year off and wait maybe there's another
program out there for you maybe they
should have their experience or job or
you know something that's coming down
the pipeline that really is a better
thing for you in the end so I think
keeping that in mind and just being
confident you know not letting it hit
you because there are always twists and
turns in life but that is exactly how it
goes and this you know situation and
this journey is no different so really
sticking to your guns and knowing what
you want is gonna help you make those
decisions even when it's a little
nerve-wracking to say oh my gosh I'm
only gonna ring five of these you know
no I understand well let's let's
transition that into the job search
because right now I think a lot of
people are going well I I'm not getting
the job I want so they'll go one of two
I'll just take what I can for now or I'm
just gonna hold off and I guess I just
want to get your general advice but
there's a 96% employment rate in this
country so there are plenty of jobs that
a pharmacist can do but I feel like they
keep narrowing their focus so can you
maybe give some advice to the job seeker
yeah so that's again so much of these
choices are you know based on
understanding who you are I I love and I
have this printed on my desk know
thyself oh yeah yeah I know the book
it's very important so with the job
search is a little different because
it's not that clear-cut oh I'm gonna be
there for one year or I'm gonna be there
for two years like there's no end date
on my contract right I could be here for
forever technically speaking if all
things go well so with the job search
you do have to be super flexible and I
personally you know was based in Houston
Texas my family's in Tennessee I was
willing to go pretty much forever I had
a couple of no-go zones because I didn't
want to pay super high rent you know
that you know I was flexible so if you
can be flexible geographically that's
that gives you a lot more option to say
what type of role do I want what do I
want to be doing every day what kind of
practice environment etc and if you're
geographically limited it's a little bit
tougher but I think you just really have
to approach them as opportunities to so
maybe you take a job that's got a
hundred percent which you were wanting
right off the bat but maybe there's
opportunity to make it fat and how much
cooler is it if you're able to step into
a role and create this super advanced
practice model when nothing was there
beforehand so approaching it that way
being open to those opportunities and
again looking for the best fit when it
comes to people and that was one thing
that I really relied upon and really
really wanted looking at you know coming
out of residency is I want to be in a
space where I'm supported in my role I
want to be working with people that are
open and willing to change the new ideas
you know that are supporting me and what
I'm doing and what our team is working
towards and I think finding that is just
really really valuable so focusing on
entering that job search and well will
serve you well in the end I think okay
well tell me a little bit about your job
search so you landed it to Kentucky
which I considered the Harvard and Yale
of you know a pharmacy or one of them
and but it sounds like you know as I'm
talking to you you really still had this
smaller Duke and I say smaller
geographic area when you count Texas it
just it kind of trumps a lot of things
but but really you know when you're
going from East Texas you can drive up
through Nashville to get to Kentucky or
you know up through there so tell me a
little bit about the job search because
you had mentioned that you really only
applied to three places or not that many
places how did you narrow the search you
know get the connections to to get such
a what would be a considered
a very prestigious position I think so
why I was very open I was opened
geographically on that so even applied
all the way up through you know northern
states this the southern girl apparently
likes herself it's even you saying that
is like well I would have taken
something you know north of Richmond
because I went to the University of
Florida and the first day I was there I
said oh yeah I'm from Maryland and he's
like shear Yankee I was like well what
no I'm in south of the mason-dixon he's
like no no South starts at Richmond I'm
with you on all of this so I know
exactly where you are but but it's just
funny that you said I would take
something up in the north no I actually
did search everywhere and at meteor I
did a number of interviews so again you
know this is where you cast your net
wide is what one of my mentors has
always told me so really cast my net
wide and was just like what's out there
what are people looking for what am I
good at and where am I going to be a
good fit
so really keeping those things in mind
you know I just started talking to
I mean reached out to friends of mine
you know may may my leadership and then
kind of my network aware of what I was
looking for and you know sometimes had
people ask you I mean if you've gotten
to know individuals through your state
meetings or other organizations you know
they know you're a second-year resident
they're gonna be asking oh hey where're
you going what are you thinking about
where do you wanna land and especially
in leadership when they're trying to you
know recruit new people it's always
hiring sometimes so I just searched all
of fall and then a little bit through
early this year and then three places
that I felt like could be a good fit and
applied and interviewed at those three
and then went from there so I talked
with you know probably 30 40 plus people
about roles and all those things but
just because you talk with someone you
know that's that's your initial it's
like your first date right this is where
you figure out is there gonna be a
second date or go back to dating
absolutely it's exactly one of those so
I think if you've thought about it going
in have those conversations start
reaching out try to figure out what
out there get a feel for the landscape
and then you can start narrowing down to
say what am I gonna be a really good fit
for because chances are if you're
applying somewhere and you know you're
not gonna be a good fit they know you're
not either it's you're not gonna be full
with anyone so if you can you know find
those things and find those couple of
roles that you think would be good I
think you have a much better chance of
success and both in marketing yourself
and in that role tell me oh oh actually
that was that was my approach on it is
you know catch my net really wide and
then was just really honest about what I
wanted in a first role out and you know
what was acceptable and what was not
acceptable for me I just wanted you to
maybe tell us a little bit so I'm what
I'm hearing is that you went to a sh p
but I'm guessing that you went to the O
it's not the match it's the matching
service or something like that it's the
one with the tents what's it called
personal placement service yeah can you
like take us into that place cuz you
know anybody that what didn't belong
there it got shut out what can you can
you it's like it's like you know like I
feel like if you were to put sand in
there it would be like the desert like
these just massive tents and then
there's this oh let's go back behind the
curtain to have the interview space so
can you just kind of describe the the
process and and just the the vibe there
cuz it was completely different than the
a SHP you know masses of thousands of
people it was so one-on-one it was so
quiet it was just actually really
pleasant to be in just talking to med ed
101 Erik Christensen over there and and
I just was like wow this is much better
it's kind of nice so it's great and that
instead of having to spend tens of
thousands of dollars flying across the
country you can talk to a hundred people
in one place at one time so PBS is all
online so for those that aren't familiar
you actually go into a different
software through a SHP the personal
placement service and then upload your
CV upload your information and then you
can start communicating with programs if
you're looking for residency or with
leadership that are hiring for roles
depending on and what you're looking for
so in this situation I was looking for
actual roles first out so you can go
through there
look and sort and just peruse any
offering and then
reach out to that you know program or
institution and say hey I'm interested
in joining your team we'd like to hear
more about this opportunity can we
schedule an interview so you just
schedule an interview at that point in
time and then you have about 30 minutes
to an hour that she can spend with them
and get to know them and see if they
decide so it is tighter it's much more
private but it's in that you can get a
vast amount of experience connections
conversations in at one place at one
time which is way easier than floating
across the country for six months trying
to do it so really really really time
effective if you're searching for that
first rollout no definitely you know and
tell me a little bit about the actual
area or what it was like when you went
in there so you check-in on the computer
and then what were your interviews like
or just you know just take someone in
there that didn't get to go in there or
is maybe considering going this mid-year
because some people are like do I do the
do I do that a SHP thing or do I do the
PPS or the personal placement service or
do I do both and so kind of give them an
idea of what they they get you know by
going in there you know what what's it
like to go in an interview yeah so it's
dependent upon their program if you're
looking for a residency program HSPA
programs and PG y2s are typically the
ones that do PPS and then your roles so
we don't do as much showcase that's more
of a PGI one thing for the most part and
sometimes he'd you write you but when
you walk in there you'll walk up to a
table so it's all numbered out everyone
has a certain number of booths some
institutions have one booth like MD
Anderson runs six I think is what we did
for interviews everything is big in
Texas we we did so we have a number some
places you check in on a computer some
places they just reach you they're like
hey you're in booth one welcome so
depending on the scope and the size of
the program you do that and then you
just go back sometimes you'll have one
or two interviewers and you'll talk with
them ahead of time so if they tell you
who you're interviewing with then you
can maybe do a quick google search and
you know get the the details ahead of
time so you're you're informed going in
but then just go in there and chat with
them for about 3045 minutes
they typically have some questions for
you there will be some time for
questions for them that way you can both
kind of get to know each other know
about the institution you know ask any
burning questions that you've got and
then they get to know you a little bit
so if you're looking for a role this is
then followed up by an actual
application and then if you're looking
for a residency that's also followed up
by an application through the residency
match program so depending on what
you're looking for there those are next
steps but it's really just like an
initial you know touch point that's not
within the craziness of showcase because
for those that have been there it's just
a madhouse so this is really like if you
were to meet someone at a coffee shop
and chat for thirty minutes
it's more so that a little bit
friendlier a little bit more private and
gives you a moment to really get to know
them better yeah it kind of felt like
the tents like you'll have it at the end
of like a marathon or a race or
something like that or you know you just
have it's just much more it was just
much more chill much more relaxed for
sure but let me let me hear a little bit
about your personal life and how you fit
in because if you're running marathons
you're running ragnar you are putting in
some miles or at least taking some time
to do it how have you made sure to keep
that a part of your life and not let
that go when obviously you're busy
resident you've got a lot going on so I
actually just figure out time for it so
it's one of those things where in my day
I might to-do list my run is always a
part of it on the weekends is when I do
my really long mileage so training for
Wagner I've been doing double long runs
so I actually did 14 and 12 last weekend
and just spit that in where I need to so
I try to schedule it in as part of my
time and then my residency program
director you know all my friends kind of
know that running is like a hugely
important thing for me so it's one of
those where I know what I have on this
schedule and just kind of make it happen
and then I have to be flexible too I
mean there have definitely been weeks
where you know I'm not getting in 40 or
50 miles it's not gonna happen and
really having the self-acceptance and
being okay with saying all right we're
gonna adapt this is how the training
plan goes right the plan right you're
not tied to it per se it's more of like
a guideline so I'll ship things where I
need to and be flexible and you know
just enjoy it
I mean I'm there to enjoy the process
not necessarily to have to stick to the
stringent training plan every day so try
to keep it enjoyable and then just fit
in that mileage wherever I can yeah no I
mean I ended up my weekend run ended up
being Tuesday 7 Wednesday 13 and
Thursday 5 so my long run ended up in
the middle of the week I'm like how did
that happen what you cuz we're in finals
now and you also just so your
flexibility makes a lot of sense that
you know it's a passion it's something
that you make sure to keep in your life
and and but also to be flexible and know
that sometimes other commitments make it
so that you can't maybe do it exactly
when you want to well I asked you a ton
of questions you've given a lot of great
information is there anything that you'd
like to say that I didn't maybe ask you
about or you want to leave as a parting
thought the biggest thing and I touched
on this a little bit and throughout the
interview is really as you're going
through this process whether you're a p1
or you're pgy to looking for your first
rollout is to be really honest with
yourself about what you enjoy and what
you want your life to look like you know
it's really easy to get caught up in the
whirlwind a residency and the job search
and figure out what you want to do but
really being truly honest with what
you're good at what you want your life
to look like and what makes you happy I
think is what's going to lead you in the
right direction it serves as that you
know beacon in the darkness and the
whirlwind of life that helps guide you
in the right place so I guess that
earlier knowing thyself is hugely
important and I would encourage anyone
listening to this and going through that
process to really sit back and just
reflect on that because I know it's been
a great help for me and that book grid I
think is a definite great recommendation
if you want to just better understand
how things work I think that's a that's
a great book and you said you just
started it I did I started on my site
last night it's great that's far ok ok
awesome all right well thanks so much
for being on the pharmacy leaders
thanks so much Tony support for this
episode comes from goodnight
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