Frequently Asked Questions: Application Process
How many Pharmacy Residents are there each year?
Swedish has six general resident positions in our PGY1 Program and one critical care specialty position in our PGY2 program.
How do I apply for a Resident position at Swedish?
Interested candidates must submit an application consisting of curriculum vitae, a letter of intent, pharmacy school transcript, and three references. All applications must be received by December 28. Please see “Application and Interview” for further details.
Who determines which applicants are selected for an interview? Is it determined only by the Residency Program Director (RPD)?
All applications are reviewed by members of the Resident Selection Committee (RSC). The RSC is made up of 15-20 preceptors from our different campuses who are directly involved in training and precepting our residents. These members have a wide background, receiving their schooling and training both in and out of state with a few being previous residents. In addition, as part of their administration requirements, the current residents are also part of the RSC. Although the RPD and Residency Program Coordinator (RPC) are also members of the RSC, they do not ultimately decide which applicants receive interviews. The RSC members independently rank all applicants and vote on whom to offer an interview.
Do you have a preference for in-state or out-of state applicants? Where do the majority of your applicants come from?
No. We have no preference for or actively seek in-state versus out-of-state applicants. Each applicant is reviewed and ranked based on their own merit, regardless of which school they came from. Currently, over 85 percent of our applicants are from out-of-state.
What do you look for in a letter of intent? Who should I address it to? Do I need a cover letter?
The one-page letter of intent states a candidate’s interests and objectives for a Residency Program and career, strengths and how they will help the Program, current and future goals, and how Swedish’s Pharmacy Residency Program can specifically help the candidate achieve these goals. The letter should be addressed to the “Resident Selection Committee.” No cover letter is required. Please keep in mind that a letter of intent is NOT a personal statement; we will NOT accept personal statements.
Who should provide references? Why?
We require two references from an inpatient and/or acute care rotation preceptor and one reference from a pharmacy employer and/or internship staff pharmacist. We request these references to demonstrate how the candidate applies their knowledge to the clinical AND professional setting. If you will not have had two inpatient and/or acute care rotations by application time, one may be from an ambulatory care or retail rotation. At the minimum, one reference must be from an inpatient and/or acute care preceptor. If you have never been employed as a pharmacy intern or technician, the candidate should choose someone who can speak personally and in detail about the candidate’s strengths and abilities in a variety of pharmacy areas (please do not choose personal, family, non-pharmacy employers, or PGY1/PGY2 residents as references). Examples include a project/advisor professor, or another APPE rotation preceptor, or physician. We also cannot accept references from an IPPE preceptor in place of an APPE preceptor.
If you don't bias against candidates who do not have an inpatient internship or an inpatient background, then why the requirement of inpatient rotation references?
While we do not hold it against the candidate about limited or no experience in the inpatient and/or acute care setting, we are primarily an inpatient program and thus want to ensure the candidate has enough exposure to and an actual working inpatient experience in order to apply to our program. We have built a solid, well rounded 12-month curriculum that relies on the candidate on having a good working knowledge of the inpatient clinical setting.
May I use a reference from a rotation completed at any of the Swedish campuses for Swedish's PGY1 program? If my rotations have been mostly at Swedish and I cannot use them as a reference, how do I meet the application requirements?
Unfortunately, we do not allow our own preceptors to write letters for applicants for our own program (but they can write for other programs you are applying to). Since the majority of our applications come from out of state, we wish to give all applicants an equitable evaluation of their merits as a candidate, whether they have spent time with us or not. If the majority of your rotations have been at Swedish, your other remaining completed rotations will be accepted as a substitute. These can include retail, industry, academic, drug information, and/or research. You can also submit another internship preceptor as a substitute. Please notify us that you cannot use a Swedish preceptor as a recommender and are substituting another preceptor and we will waive the requirement for you. Any other exceptions are made on a case by case basis and must be arranged with the Residency Program Coordinator Kristine Eng directly.
If I can’t decide on which three references to choose from, can I provide four references?
Yes, although we prefer only three, four references may be accepted to give more insight on the candidate. Typically, candidates choose to include a reference from a research/project preceptor or an additional acute care preceptor to round out their application. This is not required and is only an option for the candidate.
What do you look for in curriculum vitae?
Curriculum vitae (CV) helps the Resident Selection Committee evaluate all experiences and accomplishments, pharmacy and non-pharmacy related, the candidate has received. The candidate should describe in detail their rotation, project, presentation, teaching, leadership, and work experiences in order to evaluate the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.
How long should a CV be?
There is no set length to a CV but NO more than 10 pages will be accepted. Because we receive a high number of applications, to help the committee review only pertinent information, if at all possible please do not include the following:
- Professional memberships (unless you held an office position or volunteered then specify)
- Professional meetings attended (unless it was because of a position held, presented a topic/poster, represented school of pharmacy in clinical skills competition, or received an award then specify)
- Background/personal/objective statement
- Skills sets (i.e. typing speed, computer programs, foreign languages, etc.)
Do you require the candidate to have inpatient experience?
We understand that hospital internships may be limited so we do not require a hospital internship/work experience. We do require that the candidate does have one inpatient APPE prior to applying to our Program. Because we are primarily an acute care program, we cannot accept inpatient IPPEs in place of an inpatient APPE experience.
Do you have a GPA requirement?
At this time, we do not have a GPA requirement.
May I submit examples of projects I have completed?
We do not require submission of work you have completed but if it is something you are proud of, please have one of your preceptors submit it on your behalf as part of the letter of recommendation. This will have more of an impact on your application.
Do you require fall quarter rotation grades? If yes, can my application be still considered if the transcript doesn't arrive in time because the school is closed during winter break?
While we highly prefer to see your rotation grades, because there is a holiday delay in the processing of transcripts, transcripts should be sent in at least three weeks before the deadline to ensure application consideration. In its place, your rotation references should provide us an accurate picture of your ability to apply your clinical skills and your baseline drug knowledge. And while we don't hold it against the candidate for snowstorms or other delays in the processing of transcript that is not in control of the candidate, an incomplete application makes it difficult for our Resident Selection Committee to fully review the application.
My school only has pass or no pass for rotational grades, will you still require a fall quarter transcript? Will it be held against me since my school doesn't offer rotational grades?
If your school only allows pass or no pass grades, holding submission of your application for fall quarter "grades" will not be required. While we do not hold it against the candidate for pass or no pass rotational grades, we do strongly suggest to fully compete with other applicants with rotational grades that you have strong preceptors that can write great letters of reference to support your clinical skills and baseline drug knowledge. We also suggest including your undergraduate transcript to add weight to your application.
Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to be a Resident at Swedish?
Would you be able to sponsor a Visa or Green Card?
No, at this time, we are unable to sponsor any Visas or Green Cards.
If I don’t need a Visa sponsorship, will you consider an international candidate?
So long as the candidate meets eligibility for Washington State licensure, you may be considered for our program.
Would you consider a candidate that is not a recent graduate?
Of course, yes! We highly recommend that in your letter of intent please state the skills/experiences you have acquired and why you feel a residency is valued and pursued at this time. We still require the same references but if it’s been a few years since you’ve graduated, you may add colleagues as references instead to attest to your clinical and professional capabilities.
May I request a visit to your campus to help me decide if I want to apply? Are there open houses available to participate in?
Unfortunately, due to the number of requests we receive and the time it takes for us to make ourselves available for these visits, we no longer offer visits to our campuses. We have found it takes quality educational training time away from our residents and, for us preceptors time away from our patients on our clinical services. We have had requests to offer open house sessions but because applicants come from all over the country, finding mutual dates and times that meets multiple students' needs isn't feasible. Instead, we feel we make ourselves available through many recruiting fairs and also by email or phone to ask us specific questions regarding our program and your interests. In addition, we want to make sure we keep with the standards of what other institutions are doing in providing equal opportunity to all candidates. Lastly, if you are chosen for an interview, you will automatically get a tour of two of our main campuses to meet with our preceptors and see our training environment.