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Some Residency Positions Still Available After 'Match' Ends

Kate Traynor

Although ASHP's Resident Matching Program places hundreds of pharmacists into pharmacy practice residency programs each year, not everyone matches to a position—a situation that can be distressing to applicants but should not put an end to the search for a rewarding residency experience.

“I cannot stress enough to not get upset or discouraged,” advised Jill Nickols, senior associate of ASHP’s Member and Affiliate Relations division. The lack of a match, she said, “is not at all reflective of the qualifications of the resident; it just didn’t happen to work out.”

Stats for 2003–04 Positions

A record number of applicants and pharmacy practice residency positions were matched this year, said Janet H. Teeters, M.S., director of ASHP's Accreditation Services Division.

The ASHP Resident Matching Program, administered by National Matching Services Inc., paired 732 residency applicants with positions for 2003–04, she said. A total of 974 people had submitted their list of preferences for residency positions by the March 7 deadline. Program directors for 953 residency positions had similarly submitted their "rank order list" of applicants by the deadline.

Results of the 2002–03 Resident Matching Program were released March 24 to applicants and residency sites.

—Cheryl A. Thompson

“Typically, there are a pretty good number of people who don’t match,” said Bruce Nelson, operations manager for ASHP’s Accreditation Services Division. He said about 150 applicants last year were not offered a position, and about 140 residency positions were not filled. 

After the applicant–position matches are announced, those residency slots that have not been filled represent an opportunity for motivated but unmatched applicants to secure an ASHP-accredited residency position.

National Matching Services Inc., which administers the matching program, provides unmatched pharmacists with a list of available residencies. Sites whose positions have not been filled likewise receive a list of residency applicants who were not matched to a position. Internet access to these lists is password protected and limited to programs and applicants that participated in the matching program.

“The first thing that I would recommend doing is to check out those programs that are posted that did not match and that are still looking for residents,” Nickols said.

“It’s a free agency,” said Nelson. “The sites can call the residents, and potential residents can call sites that still have positions open.”

Negotiations between unmatched residency applicants and residency sites with open positions occur outside of ASHP’s matching program and are not subject to its rules and restrictions.

Nelson said that ASHP has had good feedback from residency sites on efforts to place unmatched candidates in open positions after the matching period ends. He encouraged potential residents to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for open positions.

“There’s a very good chance that, if they’re somewhat flexible in their geographic requirements, [applicants] will eventually find a position,” he said.

Nickols also emphasized the importance of networking with peers, faculty members, and preceptors who can help residency seekers connect with programs that have open residency positions. After the matching program ends, she said, “there are still a lot of great opportunities out there.”

Added Nickols: “I’ve had firsthand experience at seeing friends and peers go through this, where they did not match and ended up in ... programs that were great matches for their professional goals and experiences.”