PharmD class of 2020 graduates leverage confidence gained through experience for residencies
Each spring, doctor of pharmacy students from across the country vie for a limited number of fellowships and residencies. Pacific ranks in the top 10 percent nationally in postgraduate residencies for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Resident Matching Program. Fifty-five students from the Class of 2020 were accepted to a post-graduate academic program, matched with a residency or awarded a fellowship. These immersive experiences can springboard their careers.
Angela Pascuzzi ’20, PharmD found her purpose through personal experiences. “My mother was sick all of my life,” she said. “The medications she was put on made a remarkable difference in her condition. As a teenager, seeing how medications could help made me extremely interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy.”
Pascuzzi was matched with a two-year residency at Ascension, one of the largest private health systems in the United States. The first year will be focused on acute care and she will rotate through Ascension hospitals in and around Austin, Texas. The second year will be focused on pharmacy administration and will take place at the Ascension headquarters in St. Louis.
Her goals are to expand her professional network and hone her acute care skills. She acknowledges acute care is outside her comfort zone, but her diverse experiences give her confidence. “While my first year will be challenging, Pacific has made sure I am well equipped to succeed by requiring that all students gain a good understanding of both the acute care and outpatient settings of pharmacy,” she said.
During her Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience, she completed an administration rotation at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC). The encouragement and support of her mentors, Carol Lee ’08, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP, her pharmacy supervisor at SCVMC, and Elaine Law, PharmD, BCPS, FCSHP, assistant clinical professor and regional coordinator for San Jose, prompted her to pursue a residency specifically focused on health system pharmacy administration. “I would not have been able to identify my strengths and passion for pharmacy administration without the support Pacific has given me,” she said.
Observing a pharmacist directly impact the community put Petrus Nguyen-Tu ’20, PharmD on the path to a career in pharmacy. “My first experience in pharmacy was actually at a health fair where I was able to shadow a pharmacist dispensing medications to the homeless community,” he said.
Nguyen-Tu was matched with an academic track residency, with an ambulatory care emphasis, at the County of Santa Clara Health System. “This residency match means the world to me because it combines my two major interests — teaching and ambulatory care,” he said.
He was inspired to pursue a residency by Elbert Lawrence Mock, III ’13, PharmD who was a guest speaker at an event hosted by Pacific’s Operation Diabetes. “He described his day-to-day role as a diabetes specialist, helping patients meet their goals and following up with patients over a long time period,” Nguyen-Tu said. “I have seen the impact that great ambulatory care pharmacists can have on their patients and I hope to continue that tradition.”
He anticipates one of the most challenging aspects of the residency will be managing his many responsibilities. His leadership experiences have taught him the importance of finding balance in life and have tested his time management skills. At Pacific, he served as vice president of the Alpha Psi chapter of Phi Delta Chi and class president for the PharmD Class of 2020. He also served as a project manager for Operation Diabetes and business relations chair for the Vietnamese Cancer Awareness Research and Education Society. Additionally, he was involved in the Medicare Part D Outreach Clinics. At one point, he attended 11 health fairs in one month. “Although the time commitment is significant, if we were able to prevent an adverse drug event, help a patient save money on their Medicare Part D plan or even just brighten someone’s day, it was worth it,” he said.
“This residency match means the world to me because it combines my two major interests — teaching and ambulatory care.” - Petrus Nguyen-Tu ’20, PharmD