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Curriculum Overview

Residents spend their year gaining experience in a variety of pharmacy practice settings and specialty areas.

Orientation and Drug Information

The first 4 – 5 weeks of the PGY1 residency program are dedicated to the Orientation and Drug Information (DI) rotations. Orientation focuses on educating residents on policies, procedures, expectations, schedules, and project requirements; developing goals for residency; and familiarizing residents with Billings Clinic and the Pharmacy Department. Residents also learn how to use PharmAcademic™ (electronic evaluation system) during Orientation. The DI rotation refreshes residents on the skills necessary for answering clinical questions and analyzing literature. Residents continue to build upon these skills in their longitudinal DI experience.

Pharmacy Practice

The Pharmacy Practice rotation starts after Orientation and helps residents become confident in the use of pharmacy information systems, evaluation of prescriber orders, and the utilization of the integrated dispensing system. Billings Clinic residents are trained on all pertinent technology and information systems, (e.g. Cerner®, Omnicell™,DoseEdge™, and much more).

Clinical Training

Residents spend the remainder of their PGY1 residency program participating in various clinical rotations. Residents are exposed to all aspects of patient care using an integrated approach. Residents work in a dynamic, educationally-stimulating residency environment as they mentor student pharmacists from several colleges of pharmacy during both their introductory and advanced pharmacy practice experience rotations at Billings Clinic. Residents interact regularly with intern, resident, and attending physicians from the Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency Program and periodically with the providers from the Montana Family Medicine Residency Program.

Core Rotations (Required)

Core Rotations

Cardiology: 5 weeks

Critical Care: 5 weeks

Infectious Diseases: 5 weeks

Internal Medicine: 5 weeks

Orientation/Drug Information: 4 - 5 weeks

Pharmacy Practice: 8 weeks

Selective Rotations (Options)

Selective Rotations (residents must choose 2)

Ambulatory Care: 5 weeks

Emergency Medicine: 5 weeks

Medication Reconciliation/Transitions of Care: 5 weeks

Neonatology: 5 weeks

Oncology: 5 weeks

Pain Management: 5 weeks

Psychiatry: 5 weeks

Longitudinal Experiences (Required)

Drug Information, July - June (12 months)

Medical Emergencies, August - June (11 months)

Pharmacy Academia, July - June (12 months)

Pharmacy Administration, September/October - June (9-10 months)

Research Project, July - June, (12 months)

Pre- and Post-Intervention Project, October - June (varies, approx. 3-6 months)

Staffing, October - June (9 months)

Elective Rotations

Billings Clinic wants each resident’s experience to be unique and tailored to his/her own interests. Residents are encouraged to discuss ideas for elective rotations with the Residency Program Director as early as possible. Depending upon time of year and rotations available, residents may shorten one of their selective rotations to 4 weeks, allowing time to complete another 4-week elective rotation. Elective experience options include choosing another selective rotation area and others as desired by the residents.

Flexible Time

Residents are also allotted ~3 weeks of "flexible" time in their year, which can be used for vacations, project time, and/or mini-electives. These are split up as 1 weeks around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and ~2 weeks in late April/early May, around the times of the Montana Pharmacy Association Spring Seminar and Mountain States Conference.

Project Time

Once residents start clinical rotations, they are allotted approximately one-half day per week or one full day every other week for project time, which may be used for research, meetings, or other residency assignments. Additionally, residents have up to 5 dedicated weeks for research/project time in the second half of the year.

Yearly Schedule Overview

Option 1 - Standard Schedule

Pharmacy Residency Standard Schedule

Option 2 - Flexible Schedule

Pharmacy Residency Flexible Schedule

Staffing Requirements

Residents are required to staff on a rotating basis approximately every 2 – 4 weekends throughout the year (averages to every 3rd weekend). Staffing includes weekend shifts in the Main Inpatient Pharmacy and as a decentralized float pharmacist on different floors in the hospital. Additionally, residents are each required to staff 1 holiday (New Year’s Day, Easter, or Memorial Day).

CPR, Stroke, and Trauma Response

Throughout the year, residents will take turns carrying the pharmacy resident on-call pager and responding to medical emergencies, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) events, strokes, and traumas (level 1). The goal of the on-call pager is for residents to gain the necessary skills and confidence to serve in the primary pharmacist’s role at medical emergencies. On-call hours are from 0700 – 1700, and residents are required to be on-site when they are on-call. Residents will be on-call for approximately 10 weeks of the residency year, but this may be adjusted based upon frequency of events and each resident’s exposure to medical emergencies.

Graduation and Additional Certifications


Residents who successfully complete the requirements of our PGY1 pharmacy residency program will receive a certificate of graduation. Graduation typically takes place in the middle of the last week of residency but may be earlier or later as needed.


Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support

Residents are required to successfully complete the Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) providers’ certification. This helps ensure they are prepared to respond to medical emergencies throughout the year.

Pediatric Advanced Life Support

Residents may have the opportunity to gain their Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) providers’ certification. Residents interested in this certification should talk to the Residency Program Director as early as possible in the residency year.

ASHP Teaching Certificate Program

Residents will also complete the ASHP Teaching Certificate for Pharmacists. It is sponsored by ASHP and the University of Kentucky and has 3 tracks: core track, academic track, and experiential track. Residents must complete all 3 tracks in addition to other program requirements to earn their teaching certificate. They can earn 16 ACPE-approved CE credit hours by completing the program. To find out more, visit the ASHP website.

ASHP Teaching Certificate for Pharmacists

Contact Pharmacy Leadership

PGY1 Residency Program Director

Melanie Townsend, PharmD, BCPS
Phone: 406 -657-4842