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Pharmacy Residency Podcast

Dec 8, 2017

At ASHP 2017 I had a chance to two pharmacy leaders who provide and further education outside of the traditional classroom 

Eric Christianson CGP, BCPS of 

Eric says, "To whom much is given, much is expected. I’ve had a lot of really kind people help me along the way, and I wanted a way for myself and others to give back some of the things we’ve learned about medication management and healthcare. Good information from the front lines of healthcare is really hard to find, and that is what I try to provide day after day."

Shannon Staton with 

Hundreds of pharmacy-specific readiness courses taught by industry experts. 

Both show us there are some really excellent jobs outside of the pharmacy schools where we can use our creativity to impact many people. 

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, grant and a purposeful second income from students, residents and innovative professionals.

Tony: Okay. I'm here with Eric Christianson who was on Pharmacy Future Leaders before, and I just, you know, stopped in to talk to him, but I wanted to see if you could tell us a little bit about PPS. There's always the question, ‘Should I do PPS? Should I... shouldn't do PPS? Is it just for PGY2s? Who is it for?’, and then, ‘What happens behind there?’ So, I came back here to talk to him and I hope you can answer some of our questions. So, first of all, introduce yourself a little bit. Tell us who you are. Just remind us who you are and then we’ll kind of get into some of those.

Eric: Yeah. Eric Christianson. I’m a clinical pharmacist. I do awesome blogging at and I've actually been doing some updates each day. So, you can go, go check that out. Kind of every day just things that, you know, I thought were valuable or good ‘take home’ points. And, yeah, go ahead and check that out. I'm here with the Essentia Health, my company I work for. We've got some open positions here in PPS for pharmacists. One highlighted position that we have is... We are looking for Antimicrobial stewardship pharmacists. So, you've got some experience in that, yeah, certainly come on and stop by and check this out or certainly reach out in other ways too.

Tony: Okay. So, tell... I've seen a couple of posts. I think Brian Fung was one of the guys who kind of tried to say he is the Showcase for PGY1s and this is for PGY2s and jobs. Could you maybe explain PPS versus Showcase? Should someone do one, the other or both?

Eric: Yeah, as far as that goes, you know, if you're here, you might as well take in the experience. It doesn't, you know, take long to kind of walk around, talk to people, you know, depending upon where you're at with everything. There may be aspects of both that might be beneficial for you. So, I mean, if you've made the trip down here, you know, my advice is to stop by, walk through, you know, worst case scenario, there's not too much for you or you don't feel like you're getting much from talking to a few folks. And, but, but, yeah, give it a shot anyway and stop by and check it out.

Tony: Okay. So, talking to some of the residency directors, they mention they have back to back half-hour interviews. How does that work with the half-hour interview versus Residency Showcase, which is more of a ‘Let's see if I can talk to the residency director after I part the masses’?

Eric: Yeah. Exactly, and you know, I've talked to a lot of students, you know, I don't myself particularly run a residency. But, you know, certainly I have interacted with a lot of students, a lot of young pharmacists that, you know, are ____ looking for residency. You know, the interview process, that’s ___ more of a formalized thing, the more so like you mentioned talking to the residency director. That's maybe a place where you can stop by and say hi, kind of try to be personable and just a nice person and a good way to get an introduction ___ if they are available.

Tony: Yeah, yeah, if you get through layer 3.

Eric: They are busy people. They're busy people, and yeah, those residencies are, you know, absolutely competitive. I was talking to just some residency directors last night, and you know, the number of applications that they are getting...

Tony: It’s going up.

Eric: ... It’s significant. Yeah, it's a tough thing for sure.

Tony: So, tell me a little about your experience and how you became clinically trained. You are at the point where you feel very comfortable giving not just advice, but also putting out content there that your confidant is clinically sound, and you are very good about saying, “This is what I think and this is my opinion, but this is why this is my opinion.” How did you get to that point? Take us from when you graduated from University of Minnesota, Duluth and what you did in terms of residency, fellowship, things like that, and then, when did you really feel like, “Yeah, I can be... I can be a teacher for this stuff.”?  

Eric: Yeah, well. I was a little bit of an anomaly where, you know, I went to a rural area, and doing my rotations in a rural area, and obviously several years ago, you know. I've got to be forthright now, but ___ was better.

Tony: Okay. Sure.

Eric: With that so, got me into nursing home consulting, and then, we... the company I worked for previously, we dived into some MCM and some other clinical things as well. You know, I, honestly, I had the great fortune of working with people who have been clinical pharmacists for 10, 15, 20+ years.

Tony: On your rotations… These are APPEs?

Eric: On rotations. 

Tony: Holy Moly! Okay.

Eric: I had that opportunity. So, you know, it’s hard to teach that ___ experience and, you know, what they had seen and just the ability and the access to some of those folks because really, you know, long term care consulting kind of in my mind was, you know, originally kind of the standard barrier... bearer for the initiation of clinical services in a lot of ways.

Tony: So, if you go over to Showcase like Cleveland Clinic, Duke Medical, UNC actually has like banners as if you're coming to a castle, like there's just lines of banners. You know, University of Iowa, because we have a... In Iowa, we have a tremendous... The laws are tremendous for what pharmacists can do. So, these take up full city blocks, you know, and then, you know, the people that are there, you know, the masses have come to see the concert, but... and so I think, students have gotten good at, you know, targeting and then they go and then they see, you know, the celebrities or whatever it is, but how would you recommend somebody go and kind of explore a little bit, because what I did see was a lot of also residencies that didn't really have many people talking to them and I feel like they were so laser focused on their preconceived notions of what is a good place to be. But, coming from Iowa and you think, you know, “Well. The coast must have the best place to practice pharmacy because there is the East Coast and West Coast.” But, Iowa is one of the most progressive states. So, tell me a little bit about what it is to be in rural practice or rural areas that you've got actually better opportunities that maybe you would have had at those kinds of places.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, there's lots of hidden gems, you know, all across the US for sure, and yeah, I would strongly encourage you to talk to different people. If you're someone interested and in an adventure or going somewhere else or doing something different for a while...

Tony: It's just a year, right?

Eric: It’s just a year and you can do anything for a year. That's for sure. So, yeah. I would say, in the landscape of competitiveness of residency, I would say definitely. Be open and willing so to change routes and a plan of attack.

Tony: Okay. And how can people reach you? What's the best way? Is it the website? Is it to follow you on Twitter? What are your social accounts?

Eric: The best way would be to go through ‘meded101’ and I do have a ‘Contact Me’ button on there and that email should go directly to me. I will caution you, I get a few emails now once in a while. So, I do the best I can to stay on topic, ___ for sure, but that's the best way. Facebook, you can give that a shot, ‘meded101’ on Facebook. I am on Twitter as well. Probably not on there quite as much as I'd like to be, but probably the website ‘’ would be the best way.

Tony: Alright, Eric Christianson. Thanks so much for being on the Pharmacy Leaders Podcast.

Eric: Not a problem. Great to see you on person here today.

Tony: So, I just wanted to welcome another special guest. We have Shannon Staton, who is with RXinsider here at ASHP ‘17. And, I just wanted to hear a little bit more about something we had talked about earlier. She was going to have her big launch. And now, the launch has happened, and I wanted to hear a little bit more about this new product. So, Shannon, welcome to the Pharmacy Leaders Podcast. Could you first just remind us who you are, and what you do, and then tell us a little bit more about what you guys that are in RXinsider have been up to?

Shannon: Great. Well, thanks Tony and thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be on the podcast again. I am a pharmacist and I’m the director of education in professional development at RXinsider and for a higher education group. So, we actually just launched a new product. It’s called Core Readiness. It’s an online pharmacy specific learning platform that helps students, professionals and practitioners to prepare for the future of pharmacy. So, in pharmacy school, you learn a lot about the clinical aspects of pharmacy. And we focus more on the market topics and what you need to use in real life applications at pharmacy.

Tony: Okay. So, in the MBA programs that are tied to pharmacy schools, they teach really huge topics, big companies and things like that, but really don't talk about the entrepreneurial space, doesn’t talk about maybe some of the intricate market things. What does it talk to, maybe let’s divide that into the thirds. So, as a student, I would go in to the platform, and I signed up earlier today. You can sign up for free right to just get into it. What benefit does it have directly to a student?

Shannon: So, for a student, you can learn about all the different practice areas as a ___, as a new pharmacist that you can get into. So, we go over specialty pharmacy and managed care pharmacy and nuclear pharmacy that many pharmacy students don’t really know about when they are in school. So, and learn about the actual settings that you could be practising it. So, we have company overviews and different practice settings, but also the market topics, that when you go out on an IPPE or you go out on an APPE, you are better prepared for that setting. Say you're going to a 340B, let me give you an example, Tony. Get... go to a 340B pharmacy. If you don’t know what 340B is, how are you going to be able to contribute to that pharmacy, to that patient on a deeper level? So, we give you a short course on that to better prepare you...

Tony: So, the student might know free drugs or just kind of drugs, but who is eligible? And then, a patient comes to them and says, “Am I eligible?”

Shannon: Exactly. So, it gives you a knowledge of that. So, you can actually tell them if they are eligible for the program and to help that patient get the best care.

Tony: Okay. So now, let's take it on to the professionals. That seems to be the second ____ if you were. So, I'm a practicing professional. Is it for somebody who owns a pharmacy or somebody who's currently, you know, working at a pharmacy?

Shannon: So, this for professionals... We are actually talking more about business professionals. So, marketing people, sales people that are in the field of pharmacy, but they may not know too much about pharmacy. So, this helps them to be better prepared to have those conversations with directors of pharmacy and pharmacists. So, you can really get the most out of those interactions.  

Tony: Okay. So, kind of a, maybe a, when I say short course, but when I went into the platform, it looked like they were short courses, but there are a ton of them.  Can you tell me about the breadth of how many courses are in there? What's in there?

Shannon: So, there are hundreds of pharmacy specific courses in the platform. We are consistently adding new content as well to really give our end user most content. These courses are high level quick overviews and then if you want to dive in deeper, then you have the tools where you can go out and find that... knowledge.

Tony: Okay. And then, there is the third group. So, what was the third group that ___?

Shannon: So, the third group would be a practitioner, so with pharmacist. And, they want to change careers. They can start to learn a little bit about that particular area that they want to go into or say, you know, 503B, that’s a big issue that’s come up. So, if they're working in a 503B, if they want to pursue a career in a 503B facility, they can learn a little bit more about that. So, they better prepare it on those interviews.

Tony: Okay. And you mentioned that some pharmacy schools have adopted it. We don’t have to talk about the names of the pharmacy schools, but so, that’s pretty quick for a launch that happened last summer, right.

Shannon: Yeah. So, we're actually in a period right now... We have, you know, almost 10 pharmacy schools engaging with the platform. We did launch officially at AACP schools, and if you had great feedback so far, you know, pharmacy schools, they have to pack in so much into their curriculum and all it needs to do that ___. So, what’s going to come off the plate? ___ about those market topics, about the industry as a whole. They really don’t have the time or the space. So, that’s where we come in and sort of fill that niche.

Tony: Okay. So, it sounds like, if I were to... Let’s say I’m an APPE preceptor though. How would I get them involved? I want them to know more about... Let's say it's... We're in May. They are on their first rotation. They know which rotations they are going to have. How is that group of so many videos set up in such a way that somebody could understand where did they need to go next?

Shannon: So, as a preceptor, you can create a lining path because that’s the focus of the path. We have all these short courses. We consolidate them into themed playlists. So, think of a song and we group as the course, and then the learning path is the playlist. So, if you were a APPE site that’s in community, but you really wanted your patients to..., ah, your students to know more about MTM. It could be a playlist that was focussed on different courses on Community Pharmacy, MTM... Sorry, I am losing my train of thought. There is so much going on here.

Tony: It’s okay. Yeah, no, no. I mean, we are in the middle... We are literally in the middle of ASHP ’17. So, but no. So, this makes a lot of sense so that the preceptor has X amount of time to orient them. Then, it's back to work. It's always on a Monday. So, in terms of accessibility, I was able to access it on mobile, but can they listen to it on the way to their sites? Can they listen to it on the way back?

Shannon: They can. You can watch the videos from mobile, iPad, you know, laptop, everything. It’s all accessible from those different platforms.

Tony: Okay. So now, tell me a little bit about how you, as a pharmacist, are involved? When we talked on the interview before, you talked about... You have a bit of a creative position, which is something that a lot of pharmacists are really wishing that they had, the autonomy, that kind of... This is how working with a team, I guess, you could say. So, how do you work where this team you are... and what creative outlets do you have with RXinsider?

Shannon: So, yes. I do have... I am a pharmacist and you need that pharmacist to play that good content for those pharmacy students. So, you need to have that to be verified by a pharmacist. But, the great thing about my team is that I have talented specialists and instructional designers. So, they help us to help me and you know, the team as a whole. ___ create really engaging content that is really just great for the end user. So, they have specialty areas in content development, and you know, video content and how to create these pieces that will really engage students because we really just don't want to add another thing to their plate. We want it to be interesting and engaging and fun.

Tony: Okay. Is there any assessment? Is there any kind of like quizzes and things like that at the end? How do you guys assess what somebody learned from it if they did it, things like that?

Shannon: So, everything is competency based. That’s what... That’s the area that we are in. It’s competency based learning. So, we start off our courses with learning objectives that are mapped to Bloom’s taxonomy, and then, at the end, we make sure that those questions are directly related to the content.

Tony: Okay. And then, I guess, how would somebody... What's the best way for somebody to reach this content? I went on my mobile to ‘’, just kind of scrolled down. Is there a website directly for this or is that the best way to get there?

Shannon: The website is ‘’

Tony: Okay. And...

Shannon: You can create an account right there.

Tony: Okay. Alright. Great. Alright. Was there anything else that maybe I didn't ask you that you want to let everyone know about either RXinsider or COREreadiness?

Shannon: Yeah. I think, you know, one of the things we’re just talking about is the scalability of reaching, you know, a lot of...

Tony: A lot of patients.

Shannon: Students, yeah, a lot of...

Tony: Students, patients, practitioners.

Shannon: Students and a lot of, yes, reaching and yes, you can have those seminars, which are great. When you go to the meetings and you can reach 50 people. That’s fantastic. The great thing about this product is that it can reach a ton of people. It’s beyond one singular instance, which we really love… we really want everyone to be able to have access to this content.

Tony: Yeah. I just talked to Hillary Blackburn from Dispensary of Hope and she said that she did give up that kind of one on one patient care that she used to have, but now, she affects people nationwide, who just are under that poverty line, can’t afford their medications, and I think that while it's good that we're trained one on one with patient counseling and everything, I think it's nice to know that there are other opportunities for maybe more public health or public education where we can scale, and it sounds like you guys are doing a great job of that.

Shannon: Thank you so much.

Tony: Alright. Thanks for being on the podcast.

Shannon: Of course.

Support for this episode comes from the audiobook ‘Memorizing Pharmacology: A relaxed approach’. With over nine thousand sales in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, it's the go-to resource to ease the pharmacology challenge, available on Audible, iTunes and in print, eBook and audiobook.

Thank you for listening to the ‘Pharmacy Leaders’ podcast with your host Tony Guerra. Be sure to share the show with a hash tag ‘#pharmacyleaders’.