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Curriculum Overview

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

Pharmacy Practice/Orientation/Drug Information

Rotation & Learning Experience


The first 8 – 9 weeks of the PGY1 residency program are dedicated to pharmacy practice training, residency orientation, and a drug information refresher. The focuses of orientation are to educate residents regarding policies, procedures, and programs affecting their positions; determine each resident’s individual experiences and develop goals for residency; discuss PharmAcademic™ (electronic evaluation system); and familiarize residents with Billings Clinic and the Pharmacy Department. 

The Pharmacy Practice rotation 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™, Sentri7®, Quantifi®, and much more).

Clinical Training

Residents spend the remainder of their PGY1 residency program participating in and expanding clinical pharmacy services.  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

Pharmacy Practice/Orientation/Drug Information: 8 - 9 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

Psychiatry: 5 weeks

Longitudinal Experiences (Required)

Drug Information, September - June (10 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)

Quality/Process Improvement Project, October - June (varies, approx. 3-6 months)

Staffing, September - June (10 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. Residents each have one 5-week block for elective rotations. Elective experience options include additional rotations in any of the core or selective rotation areas 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 2 dedicated weeks for research/project time in the spring.

Yearly Schedule Overview

Table of Yearly Schedule

Staffing Requirements

Residents are required to staff 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 (Labor Day, 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 will be 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 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.

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

Board Certification in Pharmacotherapy

Board of Pharmacy Specialties Pharmacotherapy Exam

The PGY1 pharmacy residency program at Billings Clinic is designed to prepare residents to successfully pass the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS) Pharmacotherapy examination.  Therefore, after completion of the PGY1 program, residents are encouraged to take the exam.  This gives residents a goal to aspire towards and adds depth to their learning.  The board certified pharmacotherapy specialist (BCPS) designation allows residents to set themselves apart from their colleagues and become recognized as model practitioners. Reimbursement may be available for the exam.

Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties

Contact Pharmacy Leadership

PGY1 Residency Program Director

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