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Hello all,

Like many of the other new bloggers you've probably seen, I will be documenting my experience with ASHP's online intensive study modules as an ASHP Pharmacotherapy Ambassador. First, I'll give you a brief background on where I'm coming from. I graduated pharmacy school in 2011, completed a PGY1 residency and was fortunate enough to be hired on at the hospital where I did my residency. I completed the ASHP Patient Care Impact Program in 2013 which involved expanding our services in the emergency department. I serve as a residency preceptor in our ED. I also just took the BCPS exam last fall so this will obviously be my first experience with recertification. On a more personal note, I am training for my first (and last?) half iron man coming up in May, and my wife and I are expecting our first child in August.

If you're like me, one of the biggest barriers you find to completing CE and recertification courses is time. Juggling personal and professional responsibilities can be challenging and the thought of sitting down to complete a 5 hour CE course is daunting (FYI - Module 1A: Cardiology & Statistics Nested Case Control Study is listed as 5 hours CE). So no, I have not completed or even started the first module yet, but I am planning on starting in April. With each post here I will try to document the amount of time it takes me to complete the given module so you can be prepared for what you're getting into.
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General : BCPS

Good-bye Winter, Hello Spring! 

Spring’s arrival signals new life and opportunity.  As I reflect on my time here as an ASHP rotational student, I realize how much of an opportunity it was to be here.  If you are wondering what this rotation is all about, here are some of the main benefits and takeaways I got from this rotation:

  • Become more knowledgeable on important topics affecting the pharmacy profession.This was my main goal coming into the rotation.  Of course I learned a lot about the main ones (e.g. PPMI and Provider Status), but I also learned about others I was not aware: Track and Trace legislation, mHealth advances, informatics hot topics, and much more.


  • Be valued for you opinion and use your creativity.  Everyone at ASHP is very welcoming and will actively seek your input as a student.  It’s a great place to be if you want to challenge yourself to come up with creative solutions to problems.
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I have been working in the hospital setting for the past 17 years and like to think that I had some level of understanding of health care economics and the current state of our health care system. I knew that there was a shortage of primary care physicians and that we generally do a lousy job in preventive care relative to other developed countries. I knew that we have the most expensive health care in the world and that our outcomes are not proportionate to our dollars spent. I knew that reimbursement dollars were being slashed by government payors, that the 340b drug discount program was being threatened, and that the runaway freight train of specialty pharmacy expense (with prices pulled out of a hat) was likely unsustainable.
I recently had the privilege of attending a series of talks on health policy that made me realize that I’ve had my head in the sand and that I wasn’t as nearly knowledgeable as I hoped I was. Here are a few of the factoids and discussion points that made me take note:

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, 54.5% of health care cost in the U.S. provides no value; the dollar value associated with this waste represents approximately 9% of our gross domestic product and prevents optimal reinvestment in our infrastructure, national defense, education system, etc.
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Good Evening Everyone!

Welcome to my first blog post as an ASHP BCPS Ambassador!  I have never blogged before, so please bear with me as we travel on this journey together.  As a new practitioner and someone who recently achieved BCPS certification, I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself and explain how ASHP has helped me along the way.

I am originally from a small town in Indiana, and I graduated from Butler University in 2013.  Through my APPE rotations, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in clinical pharmacy, specifically in the area of infectious diseases.  I therefore, completed a PGY-1 residency at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, and I am currently a PGY-2 resident specializing in infectious diseases at the University of Chicago Medicine (both of these programs through ASHP).  My areas of interest include pharmacokinetics, resistant gram negative infections, HIV/AIDS, and infections in the immune-compromised host.

Outside of work activities, I also am an avid runner (scheduled to compete in the Shamrock Shuffle this weekend!), traveler, and reader (currently reading Fall of Giants
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Hi everyone!

Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog. I have been given the honor of becoming a BCPS Ambassador for ASHP, tasked with promoting the growth and distinction of our profession through Pharmacotherapy certification and recertification. Over the next year, I will be documenting my BCPS recertification journey, and I am so glad you will be joining me. I’m fairly green in the blogging world, so bear with me!

I thought since we have a whole year together, I would start with introducing myself. My name is Emily Bullington. I am a die-hard Auburn fan, avid traveler, and huge James Taylor fanatic. I dabble in tennis and cooking, and I am borderline obsessed with my 4 year-old Boston Terrier, Bob.  

I graduated from Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy in 2012 (War Eagle), completed my PGY1 Residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and am now working as a clinical pharmacist in the CICU and SICU at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital.

Although my pharmacy career is, in many ways, just getting started, I have had the chance to learn from and work with some amazing people. They have taken the time to teach, mold, and encourage me. They have given me the skills and tools I need to be a great practitioner and a lifelong learner. And as I sit and think of this long list of people who have so greatly influenced me and my career, I can’t help but notice that the majority of them possess a common title. A distinction of our trade, if you will. They have taken the time and the effort to become Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialists.

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Have you ever thought about attending one of ASHP’s meetings or conferences? If not, I would consider registering for this upcoming Summer Meeting in Denver, CO from June 6th – 10th. As part of my summer internship with ASHP, I had the opportunity to attend the Summer Meeting last year. It was my first time attending a national meeting and the experience I gained is invaluable. If you aren’t familiar with the event, it is often referred to as a much smaller version of the Midyear meeting. Consequently, it is a lot easier to navigate and offers a unique opportunity to discuss with influential leaders in our profession, meet other students from across the nation, and establish professional relationships.

In addition to being able to expand your network, students have the opportunity to attend several interactive sessions/workshops together. Last year, the meet and greet session with pharmacy leaders and the student leadership development workshop turned out to be some of my favorite events. They allowed me to speak with highly experienced pharmacists and obtain insights on residencies and future career options. I can’t stress enough how valuable this experience was for me.

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Hello everyone!  First off, I'm very excited to be appointed an ASHP BCPS Recertification Ambassador!  That means that I have been given access to ASHP's Pharmacotherapy Recertification materials so that I can review them and share my opinions with you all.  Before I start my first review, I wanted to give a couple disclaimers:
  1. I am in my 3rd year of my first certification cycle, and I have already done a few of ASHP's Recertification Literature Reviews, and I have really enjoyed them (more on why later).
  2. I have not done any other kind of recertification CE from ASHP or ACCP, so I cannot compare the quality of those products (ASHP intensive study review will be upcoming in a few months).
  3. I plan on always doing CE for maintaining my certification.  I worry too much about leaving recertification up to how an exam day goes (because you know, Murphy's Law...).

I plan to post a blog about each of the recertification CE activities I do (roughly 1 per month).  This month, I did the Literature Review Module 1A: Cardiology & Statistics (Nested Case-Control).  The Literature Review Modules will provide you with pdf's of primary literature on a given clinical topic as well as usually at least one article on relevant statistical topics.  For this module, there were 4 articles total plus a supplementary appendix for one of the clinical articles.  The Cardiology topics were Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction and Secondary Prophylaxis for MI, and the Stats topic was Nested Case-Control studies.  After reading the articles, the required assessment was 18 questions, and a passing score was 77% (so at least 14 questions right- yes, I was always that kind of student), and you're given unlimited time to take it (but only 1 attempt).

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The 2015 interview season was exciting this year due to weather. Cancelled flights, snow, ice, and rescheduling was a theme in February. I reminded of one key thing that easy to forget, be flexible! Healthcare and pharmacy is an ever changing profession that brings on new challenges and opportunities but how do we discover all of this, we be flexible.

Flexibility. Taking on a new role, rearranging your schedule, ability to that hard yoga pose you have practice for many weeks. Flexibility takes on many shapes depending on the topic. I find that pharmacy continually requires you to be flexible. Yet, with this flexibility I have found some of the greatest opportunities.

Being the first resident in my PGY2 program, this is my new definition of flexibility. We continually change, adjust, and revisit things. Try new things and scrap the things that don’t work. My calendar fills up but yet it is always flexible enough to fit in one more meeting or spend that extra thirty minutes on that project that needs finishing. My flexibility has become my life-line in time management and residency survival. 

Flexibility is key in a residency and in any position but it all leads to the ability to accept change. With the changes the profession of pharmacy is facing, how flexible are you?

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On behalf of ASHP I would like to congratulate everyone who matched in today’s Pharmacy Residency Match Program. Your many years of hard work have paid off, and you are now on your way to the next phase of honing your skills as a patient care provider and a leader in our profession. More than 3,600 pharmacy students and new practitioners matched with a residency position. This year, I am also happy to report that over 300 additional residency positions were added to the 2015 Match. Further, this year’s 8% rate of growth for PGY1 residency positions exceeded the 5% growth in demand from applicants. Things are clearly heading in the right direction, and ASHP looks forward to continuing to build further capacity in pharmacy residency training throughout the United States and around the world.

When ASHP leaders created the vision for pharmacy residency training over 50 years ago and started accrediting pharmacy residencies, there were only a handful of programs in existence. And, just in the past three years, the number of positions has increased by 1000 or 25%. This exponential growth and demand, along with the dramatic advancement of pharmacy practice, is amazing and you are part of that.
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It’s hard to believe that Match Day has already arrived!  For those seeking residency positions this day is full of anxiety and excitement.  After the emails go out today, don’t forget that ASHP has many resources to help you navigate Match Day and beyond.  Whether you Match or are facing the Scramble, you’ll find resources from ASHP to help you navigate the process. 

  • I Matched- Now What? - ASHP has resources that can help you navigate the post-match process.  The Career Transitions page offers a variety of resources that cover everything from licensure to student loans.  Check out the post-match tab on the Career Transitions page here:
  • I Matched- Wait that means I’ll be a PGY1 resident in 3 months?!? - With graduation, licensure, and moving, the 3 months between Match Day and starting a residency can be exciting and stressful.  In addition to finishing up student requirements and licensure, you will also want to begin preparing for residency.  There are many things you can do before your first day to ensure a great start to your residency year.  Check out ASHP’s
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February was filled with residency interviews. There is a lot I wish I had known ahead of time, such as how early to expect a response from programs, how frequently applicants are asked clinical questions, and the duration of most interviews. This blog post was created to provide insight for those who may be interviewing for PGY1 residencies in the coming application cycles.

 Residencies started contacting applicants for interviews in early January and continued until the end of February. Only three of the programs I applied to contacted me to assure me that they had received my application materials. Some applicants received interview offers right away, while others did not start hearing back until the end of January. It was a stressful time for people who received interview invites later, but I encourage future applicants to be patient because many programs send their invites in February. 

            Scheduling multiple interviews across the country was my biggest challenge. I had to fly to Boston multiple times, but was able to coordinate my Colorado interviews a few days apart. My earliest interview was January 30

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General : interviews, P4, PGY1, Residency  Audience : Pharmacy Students

I was recently selected as an ASHP BCPS Pharmacotherapy Ambassador. As a result I am able to complete the new recertification credit programs for BCPS put out by ASHP. So far, I have completed a few of the literature study modules in which you are given a variety of articles on a similar topic & are required to take a test after. So far, these have been both very informative & challenging. The 1st were Nested Case Control Studies in Cardiology & Meta-Analysis in Cardiology. Both very informative and relevant. I actually did not receive a passing score of the first part involving the Nested Case Control. This section was difficult, including the quiz questions. Even though I did not pass, it was not because I did not learn anything. I am very glad that these recertification credits are very challenging, so I am excited to work on more to continue to learn about new, relevant topics.. I look forward to completing further modules.
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You may ask yourself "Is being Board Certified for me?". Are you a person who likes to be knowledgeable and up to date within your field? If the answer to the latter question is yes ( and lets be honest, it should be), then you have your answer to the first question.  I would like to hear from anyone who disagrees with the above point of view. Lets discuss!
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I had a conference call with the Pharmacy Student Forum Leadership Development Advisory Group tonight. Talking to other P4 students before the call started made me realize...holy moly I graduate in exactly 2 months! It's crazy how this last year has flown by so fast, especially the last couple of months. Between rotations, traveling to Honduras for one week for my underserved rotation, and traveling all over the country for residency interviews, I have no idea where January and February went! I think what is even more exciting is knowing that my future (or at least the next year of my life) is being determined by a computer system. It's scary not having any idea where I'll end up. I know The Match is only 4 days away, but I've been wondering this for the past year now! Not to mention, the anticipation of The Match has been driving me crazy. The panic of wondering if I'm eligible for a license in the state I ranked first (even though I clearly looked into this before applying), the nightmares of programs not having my ID number...been there, done that. One thing is for certain, though; in exactly 2 months, I will no longer be a P4. In exactly 2 months, I'll be in the final phases of studying for the NAPLEX and law exam. 
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This is my latest addition to the Kansas Council of Health System Pharmacists. I share it here because it is relevant to every pharmacist throughout the country. I hope you enjoy and share my latest newsletter article to membership.

Advocacy or Irrelevancy: It’s Your Choice- You Decide

 “If you dislike change; you’re going to dislike irrelevance even more”.  (General Eric Shinseki, 34th Chief of Staff of the United States Army)

It might seem strange to start my final presidential article with a quote from a high-ranking military officer who ultimately resigned under pressure from the recent scandal at the V.A. regarding a cover-up of patient wait times. Regardless of the details and context, General Shinseki’s quote is timeless, and particularly germane to our profession of pharmacy. He was grappling with a decades-old institution that needed desperately to change to keep up with the pressures of two long wars and a tsunami of aging veterans. As pharmacists, we are dealing with our own institutional identity. For far too long, we have been content to stay behind the counter, “count pills,” and collect a healthy paycheck. This is understandable… complacency is comfortable; change is not. But the system around us is shifting rapidly, and others will decide the future of our profession unless

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Hello, world!  I will be serving as an ASHP Pharmacotherapy Ambassador for the next year.  What is that you ask?  It basically allows me to try out ASHP’s suite of online Pharmacotherapy recertification modules and share my thoughts with members.  The modules will vary in clinical content, but overall will focus on the knowledge domains developed by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.

You might be thinking, “I’m jazzed to study biostatistics. Said no one ever.”  But really, I am.  As a Drug Policy Pharmacist, I’m pretty sure this is the ultimate volunteer experience.  Biostatistics can be fairly dry to some, but having a firm understanding of basic principles adds worth to clinical recommendations.

I’m anticipating that the online format will be ridiculously handy.  When studying for the BCPS exam, I lugged around lots of paper review material to my ideal study location for the day.  As you can imagine, by the week of my exam date the pages were pretty gnarly.  

I was granted access to Literature Study Modules 1A-D and Intensive Studies Module A & B.   The Literature Modules include literature evaluation of cardiology and pulmonary clinical topics. Intensive Studies Module A provides translation of pharmacogenomics to practice, while Intensive Studies Module B focuses on evaluating clinical trials in hypertension and dyslipidemia.  See a recurring theme here?
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Greetings fellow new practitioners! The Membership Outreach Advisory Group has been busy throughout the winter months and it is my pleasure to provide you with an update regarding our efforts.

Social Media – Do you have something to say? Tweet at @ASHPofficial with #ASHPnewprac to spread the word regarding information relevant to new practitioners.

Turnkey programs – Have you ever wanted to invite a pharmacy leader to your state affiliate meeting? Did you ever wish for assistance in arranging outdoor events for your local SSHP or local organization? MOAG is currently developing a supplement to help your organization make these questions a reality.

ASHP Mentor Match – Are you looking for a Mentor in your early career? The Mentor Match program is open to enrolling Mentors and Mentees alike. Visit here to learn more!

Resident Rewards – Exploring BPS certification? For the first time, ASHP is offering FREE study materials and a FREE practice exam for those interested in becoming BPS certifified. To learn more about the materials offered and additional details, visit the website

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I sit here with mixed emotions, having just submitted my rankings for the ASHP PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency Match. You better believe the first of these was an elephant-sized sense of relief - yes, it's now officially out of my hands. Pride that I made the most of my four years of pharmacy school, enabling myself to be the most competitive candidate I could be. Nervousness, anticipation and excitement for the next chapter of my professional life; and above all, gratitude for the faculty, preceptors, mentors, friends and family who gave me a kick in the pants when I needed it most and helped shape the person I am today. All of these feelings and self-reflection have made me channel my inner Oprah and think about the three things I know for sure.

1.) Everything they told us during that first year of pharmacy school was true. Yep, all of it. Get involved. Develop your own leadership philosophy. But not at the expense of your schoolwork because at the end of the day, our patients’ lives are in our hands and our clinical knowledge is important. Learn to see the value in group work - it's not going to end with pharmacy school. Embed professionalism into your value system and know that someone is always watching. Pharmacy is a small world. Network – what you know is key, but who you know can help. Seek opportunities - they are there waiting but will not be handed to you. Most importantly, enjoy these four years, because while it may not seem like it at times, they go by faster than you ever thought possible.

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 Alas, another fall has come and gone and winter will soon (hopefully) yield to the refreshing sun and scent of Spring. Birds will chirp, flowers will bloom and the 2014-2015 blizzard season will only be an afterthought. This coming Spring seasons holds particular significance to me because, during this time of year, I often find myself reflecting upon where I was a year ago.

I’m not sure exactly why my brain chose the rear end of winter for its reflecting but the reason may hinge on the transformation between the most dormant and most vibrant days of the year. NCAA March Madness also may be to blame (Rock Chalk!). Regardless of the reason, a year ago today I was likely stressing over how the fate of my career would be decided in the Match. It always bothered me when friends and preceptors would say to me, “No matter how the Match goes, everything will work out.” I felt they had no right to dish out such casually positive advice.

After scrambling and obtaining a position on the East Coast, I have only one thing to say: everything worked out. I can’t imagine what would have happened otherwise. This year, as I await the final conclusion to my second go-round with the Matching algorithm, I keep calm. I know that, regardless of the result, I gave it my best shot and at the end of the day that’s the best any of us can hope for. 100% effort expended. This time I understand that the results will ultimately get me where I want to be – maybe just not in the way I expected. 

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General : Match 2015, Residency  Audience : New Practitioners, Pharmacy Students, Resident

Rory Vaden in Procrastinate on Purpose 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time challenges us to selectively procrastinate to improve our future. As with all posts this is not intended to be a complete review of the book but rather key points germane to pharmacy leaders.

  • Quit telling everyone how busy you are because
    • Your problem is not that you are too busy but that you don't own your situation
    • You get stressed and frustrated with distractions, fine-we all do. You and I all have the same amount of time each day as Gandi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Michael Jordan or anyone else who has achieved greatness
    • Once you own your problem, you empower yourself to create your own solution with how you allocate and manage your time. So the first step is to get over your self-indulgent complaining which is allowing yourself to be a victim when you don't have to
    • You are not a victim. You are in charge. You are capable. You are powerful enough to decide what you will and won’t do with your time.
    • But one thing you are not is too busy
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