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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Inspiring Leadership Interviews

Feb 5, 2018

After the success of Brandon Dyson and's interview back and forth, I was able to connect with a graduate of a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency and a PGY-2 Critical Care Residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Sean P. Kane, PharmD, BCPS, who is now an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago. He is also the host of the HelixTalk podcast. 

He received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Butler University in 2010 and during his time at UIC, Dr. Kane acted as Chief Resident, precepted IPPE and APPE students on clinical rotations, lectured in a variety of educational and professional settings, and participated in an on-call overnight program.  He's launched an evidence-based clinical decision support website, which provides a practical toolkit and an educational resource for clinical pharmacists, residents, and students.

Currently, Dr. Kane is a critical care pharmacist in the intensive care unit at Advocate Condell Medical Center and serves on the Admissions and Strategic Planning Committees at the university.  His areas of interest include septic shock, pharmacokinetics in critically ill patients, and IT-based clinical decision support.

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
welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
today I have Sean cane foreign dbcp s an
assistant professor and critical care
pharmacist at rosalind Franklin
University he's a graduate of Butler
University College of Pharmacy and he
has completed a PG y1p gy2 and gone on
to secure a role in academia as a
critical care farm assistant professor
so I wanted to bring him in to talk more
about how what his road was as he got
into PG y-one and p-two why to and get
his good advice so dr. cane welcome to
the pharmacy leaders podcast hey Tony
thanks for having me
all right great well I want to open it
up normally I would ask about your
leadership road but what I want to ask
for you now is what is the road that
students should take they're getting
their interview offers right now they're
trying to figure out how they're going
to afford maybe four or five trips
around the country and they're going to
have interviewed days can you just first
from a very you know 10,000 foot
perspective what's the first thing you
do besides maybe celebrate a little bit
if when you get that interview email you
know I think that you you really have to
be a grab those dates early on so if
they're offering you specific dates try
to reply as quick as you can because
those dates are gonna go quick depending
on how the program kind of organizes the
logistics of the interviews you don't
want to be trying to either not do an
interview because you can't make a date
or something like that then of course if
you're on a nap your rotation which most
piece would be at that time a mess
around break coordinating your interview
schedule with your appiy preceptor as
soon as possible just be super open
about it
say you know these are my dates is this
okay for me to go if you have an a
preceptor who understands you know the
logistics of the residency interviewing
hopefully they'll be willing to work
with you and that's super important to
just be upfront and as punctual as you
can as an epi preceptor myself I don't
want to hear the day before oh by the
way I have an interview and I can't come
tomorrow it really needs to be more
proactive than that
so logistics is the number one thing to
think about when you're figuring out
what to do when you get that awesome
email of you have that interview
opportunity okay let's say you have and
let's use this just will kind of make a
fictitious experience let's say you
applied to eight I think the average is
somewhere around there and you got
interviews for four you're given a
number of dates let's say you have
enough flexibility to pick the order
where would you put the interview that
you want the most would you put it in
the middle or at the end you know I
think for me I would probably put it in
the middle but I think it's gonna depend
on the person I think for the most part
you probably don't want to have your
first interview be the kind of Holy
Grail no definitely not so first it's
like doing critical care as your first
happying know just know I think that
there's no harm in doing it at the end
you might start getting kind of burned
out a little bit at that point
especially if they have a lot of
interviews so maybe somewhere in the
middle might be a sweet spot between
enough experience but you're not getting
burned out with the process at the same
time okay so maybe we can just pretend
you're the you're the residency
applicant and I'm going to be the
residency program director and I'm just
gonna ask you a couple of questions and
what I want is not only an answer but
kind of your rationale behind it
so the first thing that Brandon Dyson
from TL DR kind of recommended is to
remember that as soon as you meet a
person the interview has started so when
somebody just says hey how's it going
what would you say so you know I agree
that the interview starts as soon as you
park your car and as soon as you meet
the first person in terms of the how's
it going
I think positivity and smiling goes a
so even if you got stuck in traffic even
if you spilled coffee all over your
pants be positive about it they want
people who are gonna have a positive
attitude who are interested in being
there who are personable and sociable so
no matter how bad your morning was this
is not the time to go over every
negative detail it's the time to talk
about how excited you are and how how
much you're looking forward to the
interview process not how nervous you
are and things like that yeah no that's
definitely good advice so the first kind
of questions they have tend to be very
general you know tell us a little bit
about yourself well where do you start
that I I've seen Seavey's from fifteen
pages to six pages what part of the CV
do you start with or do you start with
something a little bit maybe about your
personal life you know I think that the
the big pitfall for that question is
that you talk for ten minutes and again
kind of a general principle for any
question is danger - just talking
talking talking and not having a
conversation with that interviewer so
for something as simple as tell me about
yourself I think that should be like a
thirty second a little bit about maybe
your your path to what got you into
pharmacy school and why you're
interested in residency or something
unique about yourself anything like that
but for sure like anything more than 30
seconds for a very open-ended question
like that is gonna kind of drag on the
interview and it isn't going to be
helpful for that
interviewer because they probably have
ten targeted questions that they want to
ask you and if you spend all the time on
this very open-ended thing you're not
gonna get the value out of that
interview that the interviewer wants to
have okay so let me ask you the question
and then answer it as if you're back
here your pgy one so hey how would I
refer you I guess as a student because
you're dr. Cain was a as a professor so
I kind of Sean hey Sean um you know how
was your trip you know tell me a little
bit about yourself and know just I want
to get to know you a little bit yeah so
my trip was excellent I was a little
concerned about the chicago traffic
coming from a small town where I grew up
but everything worked out great Parkman
was wonderful be here you know
I'm completing my a pure rotation and
critical care right now and it's going
really well and that's kind of prompted
me to pursue it such as this residency
that really helps me delve deeper into
that specialty and that's really why I'm
here today okay
and so you you've kind of held true to
the 30 seconds or 40 seconds and you've
made clear that you know there's an end
point to what you want okay so let's
let's do some of the the questions that
are real traps for students what was
your least favorite a pee give us the
good stuff tell us what you know really
want you know what you really hated
about it so and clearly you're getting
to another key point is at no point from
the time that you park your car to the
time that you leave should you out
really be super negative about an
individual and experience or any aspect
of a rotation that you've had there is
always a silver lining and even if you
didn't have a great experiment if you
had a bad experience really you really
need to paint it in a way that shows
that you aren't a pessimist about
experiences and things like that so to
your question a bad experience I might
say something like you know probably the
rotation that I had the least enjoyment
out of was XYZ rotation and it really
wasn't because it was bad it was just
that I didn't feel challenged on the
rotation and I didn't get a lot of value
out of it so for that reason I feel like
that could have been a better reputation
for me and I wish I would have gotten
ABC rotation and I had heard that that
may be offered a lot more value but I
did get some some enjoyment out of it it
just could have been a little bit better
okay so if you could just tell us maybe
about a leadership time that you had a
struggle and then you overcame that
struggle so was there any
that you led or a group that you led and
you really ran into a wall but you
managed to get through that wall somehow
yeah so before I answer that Tony I
think one of the best interview tips I
can give your audience is when you
respond to an open-ended question like
that it's always helpful again trying to
keep your answers concise to have kind
of an introduction kind of a body
statement and then a conclusion and that
conclusion is probably the most
important part because what sometimes
happens is when students answer a
question they don't know when to stop
and because they don't have that
concluding final statement and there's
like this silence they get nervous and
then they just keep talking and talking
and talking and then they end up with a
five minute answer and they aren't
really taking control of you know that
session so for example for a challenging
leadership opportunity I might say you
know in terms of the intro I did
coordinate a health screening event at
my university it was the first one ever
and the biggest challenge we had was
actually funding it and that was really
difficult in terms of the funding the
university wouldn't provide us you know
any funding for it so we really had to
seek external sources then I might go
through maybe 30 to 60 seconds of who we
talked to how we ended up securing that
funding and then at the end I in terms
of my interview answer I might say so
you know clearly that was a big
challenge to get the funding I'm glad
that we finally were able to secure it
and that was absolutely one of the the
challenges that I had in a leadership
scenario okay well I'm gonna lean into
you on your just because of your role as
a critical care pharmacist would you be
able to put together a case study that
maybe would be a challenge for the
students because I think what students
are getting are the ones that I'm
talking to right now they're saying I
feel like I've learned what I need to
learn but I've never been challenged
under pressure with a case study could
you put together a case study that you
know maybe a student could learn from
and then how to answer it and I'm not
asking you as
a student I'm asking you as professor
you know dr. King give me a little bit
of a critical-care case study that would
be appropriate for someone that was just
graduating PG why one residency
applicant sure yeah absolutely
you want Tony you want one now yeah yeah
yeah just go for it so let's say that we
have you know in our ICU we see a lot of
sepsis patients in septic shock and drug
shortages are a huge issue right now so
a scenario might be that we have a
patient who is in septic shock who needs
to have norepinephrine and unfortunately
that drug is now on backorder and we
can't get any of it what is your process
in terms of either an alternative agent
or where would you go to seek out that
information to figure out what the best
alternative for an arm and Ephram would
be in that patient okay and so before
you answer the question what rationale
are you hoping that this person is going
to answer with so you know many students
don't get a ton of critical care and
many of the niche topic so I don't
expect every student to answer with a
perfect answer but what I'm looking for
is some amount of critical thought oh
when I do what they want to do and the
other thing I'm looking for is do they
have a good basis for looking up drug
information questions because really you
know it's the fishing pole or the fish
problem I want to potentially interview
and hire someone who has the fishing
pole to figure out how to go out and get
all of these di answers I don't know
that they need to have all of the fish
all of the answers at one time but they
need to be able able to figure out how
to go get them so to me resourcefulness
and drug information background is super
important to be able to be an effective
pharmacist and so I'm kind of looking
for or worth or what process would they
go through so for example if they say
well I probably start with Google that
interview is not going to go very well
yeah I understand
so tell me a little let me let me ask
you to do two answers one answer where
you've had a critical-care a P and they
know that on the CV so they've seen that
you've had a critical-care a P and then
another one where the critical-care a P
actually came after and because of the
lottery system they didn't get their
critical-care a P until after this
interview so the first one is they
should be knowledgeable because they
have a nappy sure so a reasonable answer
would be you know I would probably
decide based on their heart rate
something like a dopamine is a typical
alternative but based on the soap to
trial it looks like the risk of rhythm
easel is a lot higher with dopamine
versus norepinephrine if they're a very
tachycardic or prone to arrhythmias I
might consider phenylephrine even though
it's not a preferred therapy that would
be a reasonable alternative depending on
the patient and then clearly based on
the response would dictate you know
further therapy at that point okay and
so some people are saying oh gosh I
wouldn't have had that answer I'm gonna
fail this is gonna go so badly I didn't
have my critical care Appy so maybe if
what answer could you expect from
someone that has had about five
residents or five Appy experiences or
six Appy experiences but just hasn't had
a critical care when maybe they've had
internal med but they their critical
care because of the lottery is coming in
March so another reasonable answer could
be you know I'm earlier with the
surviving sepsis guidelines specifically
but I can tell you that norepinephrine
and works primarily on the little bit on
the beta one receptor so a drug like
dopamine probably would be similar but
I'd have to look that up okay
so again really just not I think
students are like oh my gosh I'm going
to forget what the answer is but that's
really not it at all and in our last
interview we talked about being practice
ready so let's maybe have a question
about being practiced ready because that
seems like what we're trying to evaluate
so tell us Sean
so we'll have the two entities dr. Cain
and Sean so Sean um how would how have
you worked under stress either in your a
P rotation or at a job that you've had
during pharmacy school um in terms of
stress I would say that time management
can be stressful and then in terms of
you know my app your rotations that I've
had with time management it's working up
your patience and an efficient manner
that you're ready to go and rounds were
started so for me time management is
always something that has been
challenging so for example when I was on
my icy rotation I was very cognizant not
just about the patient that I was
working up but how I was working up the
patient and always thinking about I
asked my preceptors how they're able to
work up 20 patients before rounds and
you know get all these great
interventions and and you know so for me
one of the the challenges that I've
experienced is definitely that time
management especially with patient
workup and I think that I've done a good
job of addressing it and getting better
over time so it sounds like you're
you're doing the okay tell us something
that you really struggle with but you
turn the negative into a positive
and you have to be super careful about
the negative into a positive thing all
too often like the typical example of
this Tony is you know what is your
biggest weakness and then a student who
cops out will say something like oh I
work too hard or I'm too dedicated to my
job because it's not and everyone knows
that you're just making it up so instead
take something that you truly did
struggle with and even if you're not
great at whatever that thing is that
you've been struggling with show
improvement or show that you know you've
taken the steps to get better at that
that's what I'm looking for not the fact
that you work too hard that that's
irrelevant yeah we when I was at a shb
this year I saw a group of residents and
then when I was in kind of my cohort the
group of residents tend to kind of act
as a pack not a mean one
they have a bad one but more like I
think you know if we if we had had
somebody do that in front of the five or
six of us we'd be like boo you know you
know answer the question answer the
question so we wouldn't I don't think we
would let something like that go but
tell me a little bit about the one thing
that I think another concern that
students have is their presentation so
what recommendations do you have dr.
Caine for making sure that your
presentation is it's going to be maybe
five ten minutes I talked to Brandon and
I had pictures of you know people with
their tubes from like a sh because
that's kind of ubiquitous you know on
the plane and you know tubes on the
plane and you know they're bringing it
bringing it to this this interview but
how do you how do you choose a topic if
they don't give one to you what was what
was your experience with that getting in
front of people and just presenting a
case how much can you get away with in
terms of you know content you know you
you can't do a whole trial what part of
a trial do you take things like that so
Tony and your experience there students
typically doing PowerPoint presentations
are more like a verbal five to ten
minute thing that they're reading off of
a paper I'm hearing that they're being
asked to send their PowerPoint to the
residency director and that they'll make
a presentation of five to ten minutes
that you know people are gonna be coming
in and out and you know X number of
people are supposed to be there and then
other people are gonna try to be there
so let's say we have a room of of five
people there's gonna be a couple
interruptions but you're going to be
giving an eight-minute presentation on a
on a clinical case cool so the number
one thing that students need to realize
is that when you review off your slides
or you read off your notes you lose the
audience and it's horrible for engaging
that audience so the best way to not do
that is to what I call D text defy your
slides so just have less text and
there's a bunch of different like rules
of thumb like seven by seven or a four
by four rule in terms of four lines of
text with no more than four
per text it doesn't matter what the rule
is but the last text you have on your
slides the more you're going to have a
conversational tone a better delivery
you're gonna engage the audience they'll
be watching you and listening you
instead of reading your slides because
you've included like a paragraph of text
on your slides that's the number one
mistake that many students make and if
they fix it it's also the number one
easiest thing to do to make okay so I
guess when in terms of nervousness how
did you control your nervousness at the
most important app interview that you
had so some of them they're gonna be not
as nervous because they have one in
their heart that if this would happen
and they got this residency then their
life would be complete how do you
control that nervousness or how do you
work with that anxiety so I think that
one you have to think about why are you
so nervous or anxious with the student
presentation for me as a student my
anxiety probably came mostly from what
if they asked me something I don't know
or they call me out as something that I
present something incorrectly something
along those lines
and for something like that the best way
that a student can respond to that kind
of a challenge is to say you know that's
a really good point I'd have to look
more into that and they know that that's
kind of a cop-out answer but it's by far
the most professional answer you don't
want to be arguing in terms of well
that's what the article said so that's
why I put it there or something like
that you need to be incredibly
professional and if they do ask you
something that you don't know or they
disagree with something you said you
have to have some way to basically say
you know that's a great point I need to
look more into that to be able to fully
answer that question or to address your
concern that you're bringing up in terms
of everything else in terms of anxiety I
don't I don't have a magic bullet here
you know if it's the program of your
dreams and you're finally there you know
I guess just a you know words are one
thing but being confident is really what
it comes down to so be confident in your
skill set be confident that you're a
good match for the program and vice
versa that confidence is what's gonna
hopefully help with some of that anxiety
for you okay well is there any
thing that I didn't address that you
think that a potential pgy one student
should know in preparation for their big
interview days so I think the other
thing is be thinking about what
questions you want to ask your
respective interviewers so you let's say
you have five different interviewers
throughout the day they're going to
expect that you ask some number of
questions again it depends on how long
the interview is and how how in-depth
you get with that interviewer but it it
kind of shows that you're not interested
in someone or in that program if you
don't ask a question here and there it's
engaging people want to talk about the
program and about themselves the trick
here though is that you should not ask
questions that are readily available on
their website like how many you required
rotations you have you know something
like that not a good question
the best questions are questions where
you're asking that person about how they
interact with the residency what their
impressions of XYZ are maybe you know
how they've been involved in residency
research projects that's always kind of
a hot topic because there's a lot of
heterogeneity in terms of the quality of
the research process and the projects
and things like that but again don't be
asking questions that are kind of
obvious questions or super open-ended
questions like what is the biggest
weakness of your program not a great
question but something like you know
what has your involvement in the
residency research projects been
probably a better question okay well dr.
Shawn Cain thanks so much for being on
the pharmacy leaders podcast thank you
Tony support for this episode comes from
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