St. Peter's Health Pharmacy Residency Program to Welcome 7th Class

June 16, 2022

Pharmacy Residency Program Helps Grow Next Generation of Clinical Pharmacists

St. Peter's Health Post Graduate Year 1 (PGY-1) Pharmacy Practice Residency Program will welcome its seventh class of residents, slated to start at the local health care organization this month. Thirteen recent pharmacy graduates have participated in the program since it began in 2016. The PGY-1 practice residency program is a 12-month post-graduation, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) accredited training program that builds on Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) education to contribute to the development of clinical pharmacists. Each year two to three pharmacists from Montana and across the country are "matched" with St. Peter's program. 

Clinical pharmacists play an instrumental role in delivering patient care at health care organizations, working directly with physicians and other healthcare professionals to ensure medications prescribed to patients contribute to the best possible health outcomes.

"We are proud to serve as mentors for the next generation of clinical pharmacists," said Residency Program Director Channa Richardson, PharmD, BCPS. "The residents also contribute to the organization and community. Residents have launched several new, innovative and effective pharmacy programs that continue today at St. Peter's, benefitting patients. Plus, a number of the residents have chosen to continue their careers at St. Peter's, filling critically needed positions and continuing their service to our community."

St. Peter's Perioperative Pharmacy program, launched in 2021, directly resulted from work completed by resident Ceder Dorrington-Thacker, PharmD. As part of the program, pharmacists work with nurses and surgeons in the pre-operative setting to ensure patients have an accurate medication list on record. They also guide the care team on what medications may need to be stopped or adjusted before surgery. After surgery, pharmacists provide comprehensive medication counseling and deliver new prescriptions directly to patients before discharge. According to Richardson, this type of service helps prevent unnecessary surgery delays and improves patients' understanding of medications needed for a healthy, successful recovery. "The program allows pharmacy team members to work with the surgical team, ensuring patients have a thorough understanding of when and how to take their medications before and after surgery. Our goal is to prevent unnecessary complications and confusion when patients have medication changes because of a procedure," said Richardson.

St. Peter's PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency Program also provides a launching pad for clinical pharmacists to explore more specialized career options. Jacob Link, PharmD, is a graduating St. Peter's PGY-1 resident. This year he has focused on becoming a well-rounded community hospital pharmacist and is leading a research project around assistance to patients starting oral oncology medications.

"The people at St. Peter's are what makes working here so enjoyable. It is rewarding to work with the health care team to improve outcomes for our patients," said Link. Link was recently accepted to the prestigious Cleveland Clinic pediatric residency program. He will move to Ohio to complete a second-year residency focused on specialized neonatal and pediatric intensive care medicine training following his time at St. Peter's. He hopes to return to Montana after his training is complete and assist in providing safe medication therapies to pediatric patients and their families.

Learn more about St. Peter's Post Graduate Year 1 (PGY-1) Pharmacy Practice Residency Program here.