5 Things to Know When Preparing for the Apexus PGY2 Residency

Michael Peters, PharmD, BCPS, 340B ACEBy Michael Peters, PharmD, BCPS, 340B ACE
PGY2 Health System Pharmacy Administration Resident
Methodist University Hospital
Memphis, Tennessee
November 2018

Currently Director, 340B Policy and Compliance, Apexus

Health-system pharmacy administration residencies provide pharmacists with a unique opportunity to refine both their clinical knowledge and their management and leadership skills through an accelerated two-year program with rotating monthly learning experiences. For many programs, the beginning of the second year in the progression marks a shift in focus from establishing a clinical knowledge foundation to managing both people and processes in the health-system. Elective rotations are available for the resident with the goals of developing further in a specialized field and finding a niche within pharmacy administration.

The PGY2 residency program at Apexus is a learning experience that has several key objectives. First, the resident will work with 340B policy, operations, and industry frequently asked questions (FAQs) available to the entire 340B stakeholder community on the 340B Prime Vendor Program website. Whether the resident has no 340B experience or has a firm understanding of the basics, the overall depth of understanding will increase substantially. Additionally, the resident will be exposed to pharmaceutical contracting with numerous drug manufacturers. Finally, the resident will work with an experienced leadership team focusing on leadership development and networking.

I had the opportunity to complete the elective rotation at Apexus in November 2018, and I firmly believe that the rotation satisfied both of the intended goals of the rotation. My two largest areas of interest for post-residency work include 340B/supply chain management and hospital operations management. I am certain my time investment during the month will certainly yield great dividends in my future roles, regardless of what they are.

For any resident that is considering applying for the rotation or who has already been accepted, I suggest five tips to maximize your valuable time with Apexus, as the month goes by very quickly.

1. Increase your baseline understanding of 340B before the rotation begins

The rotation at Apexus will provide you with the basics if you have limited experience with 340B prior to the experience. However, your time at Apexus will be much better spent if you come in with a working knowledge of the program and can contribute to deeper discussions. I would encourage — at a minimum — completing the 340B On-Demand modules and attending a live 340B University session, but would also encourage completing a rotation (concentrated or longitudinal) with your 340B program or supply chain manager prior to going to Apexus. Familiarity with wholesaler accounts, split-billing software, and pharmaceutical contracts will serve you well.

2. Identify a mentor at Apexus

Apexus is full of incredibly talented and successful team members that display a passion for educating pharmacy residents. Unlike many other rotations, not all of your preceptors at Apexus will be pharmacists by training, but rather could include contract managers, marketing experts, and other backgrounds. You will interact with nearly everybody at Apexus in some capacity, so finding somebody that you connect with personally and professionally enables you to have a trusted contact to go to with additional questions.

I identified Kenny Cole as my mentor at Apexus through our initial interactions and meeting. Kenny has a background and training that is most similar to mine, and he continued to wear his clinical pharmacist hat while working in a non-traditional role for a pharmacist. I appreciated how he understood my thought process for projects and questions. He demonstrated the value of a clinically focused pharmacist at a company like Apexus.

3. Don’t forget about your health-system back home and longitudinal responsibilities

While you are onsite at Apexus, the health system back home and longitudinal responsibilities don’t go away. The preceptors at Apexus realize this and allow flexibility in the daily schedule for phone calls or virtual meetings with your home health-system. If you have an extended period of time that you will be busy during the rotation day, simply let your preceptors at Apexus know about this, and they will work with you. Dedicating small amounts of time to your health system will ease your anxiety and FOMO (fear of missing out) while still maximizing your learning with the limited time at Apexus.

A month is a long time to be away from your health system, and your leadership back home will be missing you. Try to stay up to date with changes in policies, protocols, and drug shortages so that you can make a smooth transition back to your health system after you finish up at Apexus.

Michael Peters, PharmD, BCPS, 340B ACE and Chad Johnson, PharmD, MBA4. Seek out unique opportunities

Stepping out of the hospital can seem incredibly foreign to a pharmacy resident, especially if you have only recently transitioned away from an acute inpatient care rotation. The opportunities and ways to contribute to Apexus are vast, as long as you are not afraid to ask about them. Whether it is unique councils that are meeting or an upcoming 340B University that is being planned, there are so many ways to leverage your time at Apexus to maximize your learning and growth experience.

I had the good fortune of completing the Apexus rotation immediately preceding a 340B University occurring at ASHP Midyear. I reached out to my preceptors at Apexus about how I could get involved in the planning for the event and was able to participate as a co-presenter during a session with one of my preceptors. This was a unique opportunity that likely won’t be available to all residents, but I was able to gain speaking experience on a stage in front of 350 attendees that I never had before simply because I wasn’t afraid to ask.

5. Explore the Dallas/Fort Worth area

Dallas and Fort Worth are exciting cities that offer unique cuisine and activities that are different from many parts of the country. You will feel recharged and refreshed if you are able to have some fun on the weekends. I would suggest exploring concert venues, sporting events, the many outdoor parks and trails, and other festivals/fairs that are going on while you might be in the area. Great food and entertainment are never far away.

I was able to find time to golf and trained for a half marathon at White Rock Lake, which was very close to Southern Methodist University. The Cowboys, Mavericks, and Stars were all in town while I was in Dallas, and I was able to find inexpensive tickets to all of these first-rate sporting events. The off-beat Deep Ellum neighborhood in Dallas offered excellent restaurants and breweries, making the time fly by on the weekends. I felt recharged each Monday when I went back to the office.

I highly recommend the rotation at Apexus for anybody with an interest in 340B or supply chain. However, even if these are not direct career interests of yours, the understanding of the program and additional non-traditional learning opportunities available through Apexus will be valuable in whatever your future role will be. Elective rotations during the PGY2 year are scarce and must be chosen in a strategic manner, and I am so thankful I was selected to complete this rotation at Apexus.

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