Applicants, Residency Programs Find Each Other in 'Second Match'
After what one participant described as a several-day "whirlwind," 333 pharmacy students and pharmacists matched with residency program positions during the second phase of the 2016 ASHP Resident Match.
This was the first time that ASHP organized a second opportunity for anyone eligible for pharmacy residency training to seek a position through the Match.
Hyunah Kim matched with one of the postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) positions at 309-bed Frederick Memorial Hospital in Maryland.
Kim, a University of Maryland pharmacy student, said she had set geographic restrictions in the first Match and thus did not apply to many programs.
The second Match, she said, gave her "a second chance to apply."
With one interview during the first Match, Spencer Banks, a Notre Dame of Maryland University pharmacy student, said he anticipated the need to participate in the second Match or the post-Match scramble.
Particularly appealing about the second Match was the knowledge that he again would be on equal footing with all the other applicants for PGY1 positions, he said.
Banks succeeded. He matched with the other PGY1 position at Frederick Memorial.
In all, according to the National Matching Service, which administers ASHP's Match, 1302 people applied for 370 positions in the second Match. The vast majority of the applicants sought a PGY1 position.
"It was a whirlwind," said Katie Weigartz, a pharmacy student at Auburn University in Alabama.
She matched with a PGY1 position at 461-bed University Health Shreveport in Louisiana.
Applicants and program directors alike received their first Match results on March 18. With the release of the results, the second Match got underway and applicants could use PhORCAS to prepare applications and have them ready to submit to programs on March 23.
Weigartz said she updated her curricula vitae, secured new letters of recommendation, decided on the programs to which programs she would apply, and wrote letters of intent—all in the course of five days.
Residency program directors could start viewing applications on March 23 and within nine days had to submit a list of applicants ranked in order of preference.
Patricia Grunwald, PGY1 residency program director at Frederick Memorial, said she initially had 51 applicants. Two days later, at the start of Easter weekend, she had 61 applicants. Sunday night the number was 81. Monday morning, she faced 100 applications and a deadline of Friday for submitting her rank order list for her program's two positions.
"Maybe No. 100 is a star, and I don't know that until I go in [to PhORCAS] and I open their packet," Grunwald said. And so she examined the material from all 100 applicants and interviewed 21.
Despite the stress of the week, Grunwald said, "If there was a phase II offered next year, I would do it again."
Grunwald is not alone in stating she had so much to do in so brief a time. That was the sentiment held by most of the residency program directors who responded thus far to ASHP's survey on the second Match.
But compared with the post-Match scramble, which in previous years ensued in mid-March, most of the directors participating in the survey considered the structure of the second Match to be an improvement.
"It was a compressed schedule," said Kirk Schubert, director of the postgraduate year 2 (PGY2) residency program in emergency medicine pharmacy at 333-bed SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford, Illinois.
The hospital, a division of Madison, Wisconsin-based UW Health, has a PGY1 pharmacy program with two positions.
Schubert said the PGY2 program in emergency medicine pharmacy has precandidate status with ASHP but did not participate in the Residency Showcase or the first Match due to the timing of their application.
"We wanted to make sure that we had everything set up for our rotations so that . . . when a resident finished this location, they could go practice anywhere in the country in any emergency department," he said in explaining the PGY2 program's debut with the second Match.
Unlike Grunwald, Schubert did not have dozens of applicants to his program when he first checked PhORCAS on March 23.
"But then by the time Thursday morning came around and I . . . looked at everything, we had quite a few," he said, admitting to being "a little nervous" on Wednesday.
Coordinating interview times with the candidates proved challenging, Schubert said. He suspected that many of the candidates, being PGY1 residents, had already been assigned to cover staffing openings the week before and after Easter, especially on the weekend.
In the end, Schubert said, he was "very happy with the results" and also thankful to have another residency program director, Kara Clothier, nearby to help him whenever he had a question.
Some 99% of the 3991 residency positions offered during the 2016 ASHP Match matched with an applicant. The rate in recent years, before the second Match, was 90–92%.