Securing my dream residency with the help of RxPharmacist

When I began pharmacy school, I didn’t have a clear idea of where I wanted to end up, but I quickly learned that I wanted to practice at the top of my license. I began to entertain the idea of completing post graduate residency training and spent a lot of time early in my didactic career dedicated to studying and excelling in my academics. While this clinical knowledge was valuable, I learned from RxPharmacist that there is more to the transition from student to graduate than just what we study.

RxPharmacist helped teach me about the transferrable skills I should hone to make the transition to residency easier. Not only was the internship itself a unique extracurricular that set me apart from other residency applicants but the timing of the internship itself was so important to my journey. As an intern during the fall semester of my final year of pharmacy school I was employed by RxPharmacist throughout the residency application process, and they made me feel so supported! I was able to obtain a positive letter of recommendation from my preceptor as well. Overall, I think that the RxPharmacist internship helped me match with a great residency program.

Megan P., Fall 2022 RxPharmacist Intern

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Intern Testimonial- Lifelong lessons, friendships, and wisdom!

My time as a medical writer with RxPharmacist was easily one of the most valuable experiences I’ve had throughout pharmacy school. This internship was instrumental in guiding me through the world of medical communications and provided me with the knowledge to help strengthen my clinical writing and editing skills. The unconditional support I received from my preceptor and mentors facilitated a deeper understanding of the unlimited possibilities and career paths available to aspiring pharmacists. The connections I made during this time will undoubtedly remain lifelong, and the wisdom I received along the way was priceless… I encourage all pharmacy students to apply to this internship and explore a more non-traditional pharmacy path!

Apart from the hands-on writing experience I obtained during this internship, I also participated in RxPharmacist’s employment workshop. As I am currently navigating the transition from pharmacy school to the workforce, I can confidently say this workshop has equipped me with the knowledge and strategies necessary to present myself as a competitive and qualified candidate right out of school. With the advice I received about CV/resumes, networking, and interviewing, I have been able to confidently take on the job search and make solid traction with multiple opportunities. Thanks to RxPharmacist, I am close to securing my dream job as a pharmacist and medical writer!

Danielle G., Fall 2022 RxPhamacist Intern

Nova Southeastern University

End of our Pharmacy School Journey… What is next?

We come to the end of our pharmacy school journey, and we wonder what’s next? Individuals that have a pharmacy degree have a variety of career options, so being adaptable and well-rounded is very important in life. I have embarked on many different opportunities during my journey through pharmacy school. When I saw the email from my school about the RxPharmacist internship, I immediately wanted to apply. This internship stood out because of its unique opportunities. After completing the internship, I can honestly say that it was incredible and unique.

The RxPharmacist team is filled with individuals that are wonderful and very knowledgeable. They genuinely care about you and want you to succeed. I really enjoyed my time with the RxPharmacist team because, every day, I felt very motivated and excited about the next project or task I was about to complete. Every day I felt like I was truly part of the RxPharmacist team and a real contributing member. I utilized my skill sets, and I am grateful that this internship allowed me to give back to my pharmacy profession. It is amazing the way this internship is set up because it allows you to connect with so many individuals across America. I have learned so much from every single person I encountered and met so many people through this internship that I will never forget. During my internship, I focused on enhancing medical writing and, more specifically, technical writing skills. This internship exposed me to various areas, from pharmacy-related topics to post-graduate transition preparation to new career options. All the projects that I have completed have allowed me to grow as an individual, personally and professionally. I am excited about the future and very thankful to the RxPharmacist team for allowing me to be part of their first-ever fall internship program.

– Dagmara Z. 2022 RxPharmacist Medical Writer Intern

Overview of Drug Development Process: From the Idea to the Finished Product


Drug development is an extensive process that takes time to be completed. Depending on which therapeutic area the drug is being developed for, more specifically, which disease it is targeting, the process might be slightly faster or slightly slower. To give you an idea, on average, it can take over 10 to 15 years for a drug to be developed. Especially now, with new technology and innovative thinking, many of us don’t understand why it takes so long for a drug to be developed. To better understand this process, let’s take a look at some of these steps. There are 5 core stages of drug development: discovery and development, preclinical research, clinical research, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug review, and FDA post-market drug safety monitoring.

Discovery and Development

  • This is when the research and development begin. There is an idea that has been discovered and researchers go through research, experiments, and tests to gather information and identify the right compound.

Preclinical Research

  • Research must be done in vitro and in vivo to identify the toxicity of that compound before it can go on to be tested on people. In vitro means studies conducted in a glass or test tube, and in vivo means studies are performed on living things.

Clinical Research

  • This is where the clinical trial design is created, and the Investigational New Drug Process (IND) begins. The IND application is submitted to FDA before the clinical research begins. There are phases within the clinical research stage.
    • Phase 1
      • The purpose is safety, toxicity, and dosage.
      • The process takes about a few months and includes about 20 to 100 individuals that are healthy or people with the disease that the drug is targeting.
    • Phase 2
      • The purpose is efficacy, additional safety data, and identifying side effects.
      • The process takes about months to about two years and can include a couple of hundred people with the disease that the drug is targeting.
    • Phase 3
      • The purpose is efficacy, monitoring, and gathering a detailed side effect profile.
      • The process is about one to four years and includes anywhere from 300 to 3,000 volunteers with the disease the drug is targeting.
    • Phase 4
      • This phase is conducted after the drug has been approved. The purposes of this phase are continued monitoring of drug safety and efficacy.

FDA Drug Review

  • Once all the other stages are successfully completed and the drug demonstrates safety and efficacy, a New Drug Application (NDA) can be submitted to the FDA. This is where the drug is considered for FDA approval. This FDA review process can take about 6 to 10 months.

FDA Post-Market Drug Safety Monitoring

  • This process involves the FDA continually monitoring the drug’s safety and efficacy.

These stages show just how long the process and steps are for drug development. If you want to learn more in detail about each process, the FDA has a great section on the drug development process. Also, the FDA has a section on novel drug approvals. In that section, it includes the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) approval of many new drugs and biological products. That list doesn’t include approvals of all products, but it does include new molecular entities and new therapeutic biological products. It is an incredible list to see exactly how many drugs get approved yearly.

It is fascinating to witness how many drugs undergo development, especially in recent times. Hopefully, in the future, we will continue to see innovative processes that move medicine forward. Overall, drug development is an extensive process that includes many stages and phases which shows just how much time it takes for everything to be completed to have an end product that is safe and effective.

Dagmara Zajac

RxPharmacist Team


  1. Mohs RC, Greig NH. Drug discovery and development: Role of basic biological research. Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2017;3(4):651-657. Published 2017 Nov 11. doi:10.1016/j.trci.2017.10.005
  2. In Vivo vs In Vitro: Definition, Pros and Cons. Drug Discovery from Technology Networks.,test%20tube%20or%20petri%20dish. Accessed December 29, 2022.
  3. Commissioner Oof the. Step 1: Discovery and Development. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed December 29, 2022.
  4. Commissioner Oof the. Step 2: Preclinical research. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed December 29, 2022.
  5. Commissioner Oof the. Step 3: Clinical research. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed December 29, 2022.
  6. Commissioner Oof the. Step 4: FDA Drug Review. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed December 29, 2022.
  7. Commissioner Oof the. Step 5: FDA Post-Market Drug Safety Monitoring. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed December 29, 2022.
  8. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Novel drug approvals for 2022. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed December 29, 2022.

How to handle the transition from being a student to being a full-time employee


When you start school, most of us only think about how far the end is to attain that degree, but as cliche as this might sound, the future is closer than we feel it is. For some of us, we might know what we want to do with the degree that we are trying to achieve. Then there are others who hope that education will steer them toward a career path during school. Either way, it is good to start thinking about how to make the transition from school to a full-time job. At the end of the day, even though some of us might be ahead of others by knowing what our end goal is, we are all going to heavily rely on our transferable skills to make that transition smoother.

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills help you adjust to a new position or setting in your career. These are the general core skills that you have gained throughout all of your life experiences that you can apply to that new step in your life.

These are some examples of transferable skills, but depending on the environment of your previous experiences, jobs, education, etc., you’ll attain different transferable skills.

One of the first questions that might come up when thinking about transitions in life is, “How do I know what skills I will need so I can prepare myself to be successful,” or “How do I know what I want to do with my degree?”

  • If you are starting your undergraduate or graduate coursework, look for the skills you need to attain to be ready after you graduate. This, of course, will require doing some research. Some helpful places to start are job descriptions and individual testimonials on websites.
  • If you know what education you want to attain but are still deciding the area you want to be in after you graduate, then look for reasons that excite you about your field of education and places you could be in with that degree. After that, see what opportunities, internships, or volunteer work you can possibly do to build connections with other individuals within the area you want to be in. At the end of the day, you never know what you’ll get out of that experience and how much it’ll shape your future.
  • What has helped many individuals during school is being open-minded. You may have a very general idea of what you want to do, but until you do it yourself or see it with your own eyes, you may not know if a certain career is or isn’t for you. For example, writing essays in undergrad might not have been your favorite thing to do, but that does not mean you won’t want to be a professional medical writer. Even though you are writing in both settings, it’s much different.

Prepare yourself ahead of time. Extracurriculars are one way that can help you attain skills while doing things outside of your coursework that exposes you to possible job prospects. It is important to take advantage of all the opportunities you can because once you graduate, it is not the same as when you are a student. Being a student, you have a special advantage that some forget to utilize to learn things from others. Remember that everything you did when you were a student has shaped you become a full-time employee. Make sure to strategically approach those years, so you can get the most out of them.

Often, we hear that connections are very important. Well, this is one example where your connections might help you. If you’re going into an entry-level job, residency, or fellowship, people before you had to go through the change from being a student to a full-time employee. Don’t forget to reach out to your connections to hear how they handled their transitions. Even though your post-graduate plans may be unique or your road in life is different from others, don’t disregard others’ experiences and opinions. Connecting with others makes you more educated about life. At the end of the day, what you do will be what’s best for you.  

Overall, transferable skills and preparing yourself ahead of time for that transition will help you in the long run. In the future, others may reach out to you to understand how you handled your career transition. You will be able to share your story at that time, and in sharing those experiences, you will be able to set the stage for other people’s success in their journey of finding their ideal career.

Dagmara Zajac

RxPharmacist Team


  1. Transferable skills: How to use them to land your next job. Coursera. Accessed December 27, 2022.
  2. Tauchman ER. Great Student, great employee: How to make the transition. Default. Published December 19, 2022. Accessed December 27, 2022.

The Importance of Medication Use Evaluation


The continued drug development expands the drugs available on the market for patients. How do we determine if patients are on the best drugs available? How do we determine if the drugs on the formulary for a given healthcare system are appropriate based on the market or trends seen within a healthcare system? The answer to these questions is in the importance of medication use evaluation (MUE). This type of evaluation does not provide answers to all the questions surrounding medication use but helps us get to a place of understanding, which can facilitate changes that are beneficial for patients in the long-term sense.

When discussing MUE, there are other processes needed to be addressed. Those processes are the drug utilization review (DUR) and the drug use evaluation (DUE). DUE and DUR are regarded as being synonymous with each other as these are ongoing drug therapy reviews. DUR is a quality assurance measure. For example, DUR encompasses three categories: prospective, concurrent, and retrospective. There are different categories for these drug therapy reviews depending on if we are addressing the drug review before dispensing, evaluating medication use during ongoing treatment, or reviewing therapy after treatment completion. Overall, DURs are put in place to ensure safety and efficacy of medication use.

DURs and DUEs are precursors to the MUE, which provides a more detailed performance tool for healthcare professionals. The difference that stands out about MUE from other processes is that it focuses on outcomes and quality of life. Well, the next question someone may ask is, “how do you know if an MUE needs to be initiated?” From the various MUE objectives, one can realize that the MUE process can begin for a variety of reasons. For example, it can be because of increased medication errors seen within a healthcare system, or the withdrawal of approved products. Depending on the objective to start an MUE, a therapeutic or process outcome is usually determined at the end. There are different types of MUE objectives, such as:

  • Patient safety improvement
  • Drug therapy optimization
  • Cost minimization
  • Innovative practices assessment

According to the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), the framework one can utilize to begin the MUE process is FOCUS-PDCA:

  • Find
  • Organize
  • Clarify
  • Understand
  • Select
  • Plan
  • Do
  • Check
  • Act

Depending on the site utilizing this framework, the approach will differ. On the other hand, MUEs can have its limitations due to the lack of scope, poor documentation, or poor communication. Pharmacists are a very important component of these evaluations because of their expertise. Medication therapy management (MTM) is a big part of many pharmacists’ everyday jobs, and in the long run, MTM results in better patient outcomes. ASHP has a great guidelines documents for those interested in MUE and learning about its in-depth practices.

It is important to be aware of the various processes within systems that determine how patients are treated so they can ultimately receive the best outcomes. The MUE is a long process, but the findings from an MUE can help healthcare systems in various areas. As with any process, there are limitations, and for this reason it is important to have the right healthcare professionals assess these medication evaluations. 

Dagmara Zajac

RxPharmacist Team


  1. ASHP guidelines on medication-use evaluation. Accessed December 23, 2022.
  2. Faley B, Fanikos J. Best Practices for Medication Utilization Evaluations in Postsurgical Pain Management. Curr Emerg Hosp Med Rep. 2017;5(1):33-40. doi:10.1007/s40138-016-0121-2
  3. Fanikos J, Jenkins KL, Piazza G, Connors J, Goldhaber SZ. Medication use evaluation: pharmacist rubric for performance improvement. Pharmacotherapy. 2014;34 Suppl 1:5S-13S. doi:10.1002/phar.1506
  4. Drug utilization review. Accessed December 23, 2022.