Providing experience and valuable learning opportunities
It has been 50 years since the former Richland Memorial Hospital, later Palmetto Health Richland, launched its pharmacy residency training program. In that time, more than 200 residents have completed postgraduate year 1 general residencies and postgraduate year 2 specialty residencies or fellowships. College of Pharmacy faculty have been involved with the program as preceptors for many years; so much so, the program formally became the Prisma Health Richland Hospital – University of South Carolina Pharmacy Residency Program in 2018.
“The first year there was one resident,” says Jenna Cox, postgraduate year 2 Critical Care Residency program director, herself a 2012 graduate and product of the program. “Now we have 15 residents each year, including acute care and outpatient postgraduate year 1 programs, along with a variety of specialty programs like cardiology, critical care, health system pharmacy administration and leadership, infectious diseases, internal medicine and pediatrics.”
Cox and Brandon Bookstaver, ’04, director of the College of Pharmacy’s Residency and Fellowship Training program, have joined together to chair the program’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebration.
Bookstaver says having the program not only benefits the residents and the hospital but that students get to experience a successful, sustained model at a high training level.
“Students have an opportunity to interact with the residents during their rotations, and they have a program they can apply to in their own back yard,” he says. “That demonstrates the quality of the program, that they want to remain here after graduation.”
George ‘Dick’ Schwerin was the program’s first director. The South Carolina Society of Health-System Pharmacists awards the George D. Schwerin Mentor award, named in his honor, to an individual in recognition of their extraordinary mentorship of student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy residents, pharmacists and/or other members of the health care team.
Debbie Tapley, '84, the program’s 10th resident, followed Schwerin as pharmacy director for Palmetto Health in 1988.
“Looking back at the enhancements and expansions in patient care, I do not know that I can name any of those for which a resident was not involved in developing,” she says. “There are any number of programs instituted at this hospital that have a direct link through major project research done by the pharmacy residents.”
Jennifer Bair, ’99, current executive director of pharmacy with Prisma Health Richland, notes the program provides the opportunity to expand the footprint of pharmacists into clinical areas.
“Our residents are extensions of our clinical pharmacists,” she says. “It is another layer to support our patients, and it is my goal to provide a broad experience that prepares every resident to step into any role they want, and that is demonstrated by the success of our graduates.
“We are grateful for our partnership with the College of Pharmacy – it has been an integral part to the success of this program.”