Amelia Brown: Three Responses for New Resident Projects
By: Amelia Brown, PharmD, PGY1 Managed Care Resident
I am deep into analyzing a data set for a residency project when I see a new email arrive from my preceptor. They sent me a new project idea that is exciting and interesting. But in the back of my mind, I race through the other ten tasks that need to be done today with a sinking feeling.
How am I going to complete everything on time?
Residency is a year of growth and exploration. I chose residency to get exposure to a wide variety of roles and to prepare for a managed care career. However, residency is also stressful and demanding. Residents put in additional hours investing in career development, networking, and going above and beyond. When another opportunity arises, stress also goes up because of full workloads and full schedules. Should residents blindly agree to any project that comes their way? These three responses have helped me be proactive with my preceptor and reduce stress in the long run.
“How should this be prioritized?”
When starting a new project, I scan the rest of my workload to see how it will fit into the schedule. If there are conflicting priorities, I let the preceptor know the situation and how I have planned to approach it. Letting the preceptor know when there are multiple projects due on the same date is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that the resident is aware there is limited time and wants to make the most of it.
“Can I schedule a meeting tomorrow to talk through the deliverables?”
Some people take more time than others to process a new assignment. Spending time to draft out the time commitment, responsibilities, and deadlines may be all that is required to make it achievable. I then schedule a quick follow-up with the preceptor soon after to discuss what I have drafted.
“I’m feeling overwhelmed right now. Can we review my workload and timelines and discuss options?”
People do not know what I am going through until I tell them. I have learned that preceptors will listen and adjust if I speak openly about my competing projects and commitments. Often there is more flexibility than I initially thought.
When I use these approaches, I am more strategic with my time, I practice project management skills, and I give my preceptors insight into my other obligations. But most of all, I am satisfied with my learning and progress without the intense stress. I have grown as a pharmacist and a professional by identifying when it is too much to handle, telling someone about it, and changing my actions.
AMCP Foundation collaborates with Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield to host a four-week rotation each spring, providing a unique experience and perspective on pharmacist careers in association management. Amelia served as a 2022-23 resident in the Postgraduate Year One (PGY1) Managed Care Pharmacy Residency at Premera Blue Cross in Seattle, Wash.