WSU PharmD students led in accredited residency matches in Washington state this year. More than 67% of fourth-year pharmacy students seeking a residency matched, according to the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) data, which coordinates the official match process for pharmacy schools nationwide. This year, 47 WSU PharmD students matched, up from 41 students last year.

Residencies are post-graduate training programs which allow new pharmacists to perform as a licensed practitioner to train under the supervision of an experienced preceptor. Residencies are highly sought-after positions to help pharmacists gain experience, leadership skills, advance their growth of clinical judgement, and hone their skills as a practicing pharmacist.

“I was on cloud nine and felt a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders,” said fourth-year pharmacy student Minwoo Park about the residency match experience. Park will start his residency at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington with a focus on hospital administration and leadership this summer. “The residency application/interview process really forces you to take a cold, hard look at yourself. It was brutal, but I’m glad it’s over!”

The college has seen consistent growth in residency matches each year. Pediatrics, ambulatory care, acute care, pharmacy informatics, hospital administration and leadership, geriatrics, and inpatient care are just some of the areas of specialization that WSU PharmD graduates will focus on in their residencies this year.

Closeup of Minwoo Park
Following graduation this May, Minwoo Park will be entering residency at Providence St. Peter Hospital specializing in hospital administration and leadership.

“Our students have shown incredible resiliency this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Our leading residency matches are just another testament of how our faculty have worked creatively to help students match with prestigious institutions across the Pacific Northwest and West Coast,” said Dean of WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Mark Leid.

WSU pharmacy students not only found success in residency matches this year, but many have also gone on to start new positions as pharmacists immediately following graduation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased demand for pharmacists in recent months. Community pharmacies in the region have advertised signing bonuses ranging from $1,000 for pharmacy interns to $20,000 for pharmacists.

“We are seeing postings for pharmacy positions on our job board every week. These aren’t just single positions, but mass hiring for community pharmacists as organizations ramp up COVID-19 vaccine administration,” said Vice Dean Linda Garrelts Maclean. “Pharmacists are on the frontlines in guarding the health of their communities—and that’s how we are preparing our students through our curriculum.”