Frequently Asked Questions


How competitive is your program?**
We received about 250 applications in 2015 for our 10 PGY1 positions. We have funding for 10 PGY1 residents at UWMC/HMC and 1 PGY1 resident at Northwest Hospital, but sometimes have more if any of our PGY2 programs do not match all of their positions.

How are residents selected for your program?
All applications are reviewed by a group including at least the director, coordinator, 2 preceptors, and 2 of the current residents. We review Letter of Intent, CV, Letters of Recommendation, and Grades. The group identifies the candidates we would like to bring in for an interview. Given the number of applications we receive, we are unable to interview all applicants. During the interview we try to get to know the applicant and to assess his/her communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, goals, and whether he/she is a good fit for our program.

What does the on-site interview include?
The on site interview is a full day. Applicants will have several interviews at each site and will receive a tour of UWMC and HMC. Typically interviews are with the director, clinical pharmacists and current residents. Applicants meet with multiple people so they can determine if the residency and the medical center is a good fit for them as well. We do not specifically address clinical skills and will not give you a case to write-up. The goal of the interview is for the applicant and the program to assess fit and determine if it is a good match. PGY2 applicants are required to give a formal presentation.

Note that those applicants for the PGY1 residency at Northwest Hospital will have a different process

I am not a U.S. citizen. Are you able to sponsor my visa?
We welcome applications from non-U.S. citizens who have a "green card" (permanent resident) or a current visa valid through the entire duration of the residency program. The University of Washington is NOT able to sponsor visas for pharmacy residents (PGY1 or PGY2).


How many required/elective rotations does a resident do in a year?**
Residents complete 12 rotations over the course of the year. The 1st rotation in July is orientation and training for the integrated service component (staffing). The other rotations include: 1 administration, 1 project, 3 acute care, 1 ambulatory care, and 5 electives. Of the acute care rotations, one must be General Medicine and one must be Cardiology.

Can I do rotations at any of the 4 sites (UWMC, SCCA, HMC, Northwest)?
Yes. The resident matched at Northwest Hospital will complete core rotations at Northwest. These include Orientation/Training, Internal Medicine (2 months), Cardiology, and Administration.

Can I change my rotations over the course of the year?**
Yes. In fact, we anticipate that most if not all residents will change at least a few rotations as interests change or become more focused over the course of the year. One of the benefits of being at an institution with multiple medical centers is the large variety and availability of rotations. As long as the site is available, you are welcome to switch rotations.

What are the staffing responsibilities?**
All residents have an integrated service commitment of 32 hours per month. Each resident will be assigned a location for that service (UWMC/HMC/SCCA). Resident matched at Northwest Hospital will fulfill integrated service commitment at Northwest.

  • For the PGY1 residents the integrated service commitment will be a mixture of evening/ weekend clinical shifts and distribution shifts within the central inpatient pharmacy.
  • UWMC based PGY1 residents provide clinical pharmacy services from 5pm to 9 pm (15 min break allowed) Monday through Friday. Each resident will be assigned a day of the week for evening clinical coverage. The remainder of the integrated service commitment will be weekend distribution shifts in the inpatient pharmacy.
  • HMC based PGY1 residents provide clinical & distributive pharmacy services from 5-9 pm (15 min break allowed) Monday through Friday. Each resident will be assigned a day of the week for evening distribution coverage. The remainder of the integrated service commitment will be combination of weekend clinical shifts (days) and weekend distribution shifts (evenings).


What sorts of patient populations do you treat? How are they different between the 3 sites?

  • HMC – tertiary referral center for trauma/burns (level I trauma center) and provides both acute and primary care for a large indigent population.
  • UWMC – tertiary referral center specializing in oncology, solid organ transplant, and cardiothoracic surgery.
  • SCCA – ambulatory oncology referral center for the region. An alliance between Fred Hutchinson cancer research center, UWMC and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Adult patients requiring hospitalization are admitted to UWMC.

What is pharmacy’s role within the medical center?
Pharmacy is very well respected within the medical centers. Atmosphere is very collegial and pharmacists are a valued member of the healthcare team. We are often leaders of major committees within the medical center. In Washington state pharmacists can prescribe medications under a collaborative practice agreement. Most of our clinic pharmacists have prescriptive authority.


What sort of teaching opportunities do your residents have?
We are affiliated with the UW School of Pharmacy, and all residents receive an affiliate faculty appointment with the School of Pharmacy. Residents are expected to precept/co-precept 4th year pharmacy students on rotation. In addition, there are opportunities for residents to be co-instructors for the 3rd year Therapeutics lab course, facilitate small group discussions or give a formal lecture in various pharmacy courses. More information can be found on the School of Pharmacy site (Benefits, Expectations, Course overviews in Right column). UW also has other health professional schools such as nursing, medicine, dentistry, and residents may chose to teach in these programs as well.

Do you offer a teaching certificate?
The UW School of Pharmacy offers a Workshop-based Teaching Certificate in Pharmacy Education, usually in the spring quarter. It consists of ten 2-hour sessions held weekly after rotation hours. Residents with an interest in teaching may choose to participate in this program.


What sorts of projects do residents do during their residency? Is additional time provided to complete these projects?**
The goal of the resident project is to expose residents to study design, IRB applications, data analysis and interpretation. The majority of the residents chose a project addressing a clinical question, but some chose projects evaluating a pharmacy service (critical care satellite) or teaching tools. To help residents select a project, a list of possible project ideas and preceptors is provided to the residents during orientation. This is not an all inclusive list and residents can select other topics as well. To keep residents on target with the project there are several intermediate deadlines when they check in.

Other projects:

  • MUE (small in scope, provides useful experience for the main residency project), Presented at clinical conference and P&T
  • P& T monographs/class reviews (typically 2-3 over the course of the year)
  • 1 hour formal continuing education oral presentation on a clinical topic presented to pharmacists

Residents are allotted project month in December and a monthly project day following their weekend of evening staffing shifts.

Do residents publish their projects?
We strongly encourage our residents to publish their residency projects, but we understand that it is difficult to take a project from beginning to publication in a single year. Prior to the completion of the residency each resident submits a final manuscript in publication format to their project preceptor and Residency Director, and is given feedback and suggestions for submitting it for publication. Since requiring residents to submit a final manuscript we have had several residents go on to publish their projects.


What sorts of positions do your residents take after completion of your program?
Some residents continue their training with a PGY2 or fellowship. Many of our residents go on to pursue clinical specialist positions. The actual titles vary by geographic location but responsibilities are similar with direct patient care the primary focus, and teaching/research secondary responsibilities. We have had some residents take tenure track faculty positions in pharmacy schools as well.

Do you hire many of your residents after completion of your program?
We love to hire our own residents! If you look at our current staff, you will see that we have been fortunate to retain a large number of former residents. Bottom line is if you’re a great resident, we know you’ll be a great pharmacist here!

**These answers primarily pertain to the PGY1 program. For PGY2 candidates, please contact the PGY2 program director for specifics that may differ.