Many of my family and friends become envious when the end of the spring semester is near and graduation is on the horizon. They imagine that I am about to embark on three magical months of fun in the sun and are shocked to learn that is not necessarily the case. “What? You work during the summer?” is a question I frequently encounter this time of year and thought this would be a great opportunity to explain what I do during my summer “vacation.”
I have a 12-month faculty appointment, which means that I am paid year-round to perform my job duties. As a faculty member at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, my day-to-day activities are grouped into the categories of teaching, patient care, research, service, and professional development. I’ll use these as a guide to briefly describe how I spend my time when the spring semester comes to a close.
I spend a good portion of time at the end of each semester reflecting on how courses or lectures performed during the previous semester and making necessary updates for the upcoming semester. It is an iterative process to qualitatively and quantitatively assess how a course or lecture performed, decide on necessary updates and improvements, outline a plan for said updates and improvements, and update the necessary components to set the plan in motion. In the event of a new course offering, many, many hours are spent developing the course and all of the components that will be covered within it. I assure you, this is no small task!
In addition to my classroom commitments during the fall and spring semesters, I teach year-round in the clinical setting in the form of precepting pharmacy students and PGY1 & PGY2 residents. I am currently finalizing evaluations for our outgoing resident and preparing to take the next group starting in July. I have several P1, P2, and P3 students who have and will be shadowing me at my clinic this summer and I am in the midst of preparing for my next round of P4 APPE students who will start on rotation with me in mid-August.
I am fortunate to have a subcontract with my clinical service site that pays for 50 percent of my faculty salary and benefits. As such, I spend half of my time engaged in patient care activities and clinical service responsibilities. I share my clinic with another faculty member and we alternate on a weekly basis which one of us is in clinic. Patient care is a year-round activity for me, regardless of whether I have students or residents on rotation. I enjoy that as a faculty member I still have so much contact with patient care; I think my faculty experience makes me a better clinical pharmacist and my real-world patient care experience makes me a better faculty member.
One of the most important pieces of my dossier as I go up for promotion are my scholarly activities and the summer months provide slightly more time to pursue these. Right now, I am in the process of finalizing a review article co-authored with another faculty member and a research manuscript spear-headed by one of our out-going PGY2 residents. And by right now, I really mean right now – the review article deadline is June 30th and today is our resident’s last day!
I have several projects ongoing at my clinic site, a mentored honors research project with a newly-minted P3 that is in the works, and a couple of residency project ideas to pitch to the new PGY2s when they start in the next couple of weeks. Oh, and did I mention my next review article is due September 30th and I should probably get started on that?
The service component of my job includes service to the school and university, service to my clinical service institution, and service to the pharmacy profession. My current service commitments include:
- Incoming chair, Continuing Pharmacy Education (CPE) Committee (School)
- Co-advisor, Phi Delta Chi [Sigma Chapter] (School)
- Member, Alumni Board (School)
- Member, Faculty Council Women’s Committee (University)
- Chair, Eastside Diabetes Team (Clinic)
- Member, Diabetes Quality Workgroup (Clinic)
- Member, Anticoagulation Working Group (Clinic)
- Member, Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Team (Clinic)
- Board Member (At-Large), Colorado Pharmacists Society (CPS)
- Chair-elect, Adult Medicine PRN (ACCP)
- Chair, Adult Medicine PRN Programming Committee (ACCP)
- Alternate Delegate, 2015 House of Delegates (AACP)
Not all of these committees occupy my time on a frequent basis, but most have regular meetings that I attend either during the work day or after work in the evenings. Some require participation in specific activities and travel to national meetings.
Faculty professional development can take on many forms depending on the rank, interest, and responsibilities of the individual faculty member. For me, much of my professional development comes in the form of continuing education and participation in local and national professional meetings.
As a licensed pharmacist in the State of Colorado, a requirement for license renewal is 24 hours of CE during the 2-year licensure period. As a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist, I must complete 120 hours of CE over a 6-year period. I’m currently sitting at 114 hours with just over a year to get the final 6 hours completed. Luckily for me, the next PSAP release is right around the corner!
Other opportunities to obtain CE and further my professional development occur in the form of attendance at and participation in local and national meetings. I attended the CPS Annual Meeting in May, the ASHP Summer Meeting in June, and will be traveling to the AACP Annual Meeting in July. As the chair of the ACCP Adult Medicine Programming Committee, I have been working diligently with my committee to cement our programming and confirm speakers for the upcoming 2015 ACCP Global Conference in October. I have been invited to speak at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in December and have several summer deadlines to meet related to that commitment.
A HUGE item related to professional development for me this summer is preparing my promotion dossier as I go up for review this fall. If successful, this time next year I’ll be an associate professor!
Lastly, and importantly, I do get opportunities to use my vacation time during the summer too! Faculty work hard, but we sometimes get to play hard too!