Pharmacy Residents Thrive During Global Pandemic
When 16 Baptist Health South Florida Pharmacy Residents began their 2020 semester, they could not have imagined that it would end in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 forced them to face adversity and adapt to challenges that they had never before seen. Zoom classroom sessions, medication consultations while wearing face masks and eye protection and daily updates to rotation schedules based on the demands of patients under airborne precautions suddenly became the new normal.
Six months later and with social distancing guidelines in place, the graduating pharmacy residents from all of Baptist Health’s residency programs reunited for Never Stop Learning: A Celebration of Graduate Pharmacy Education. The virtual event was held to celebrate the group’s accomplishments and successes during this unprecedented time.
“We were in the midst of a pandemic and the pharmacy residents always felt a sense of concern for the situation,” said Robert J. Kraljevich, Pharm.D., BCPS, director of pharmacy education for Baptist Health. “They stepped up to the challenge and maintained their resident responsibilities with many jumping in directly to help the COVID patients,” he added.
Kraljevich says that many of the residents were deployed on the frontlines to cover needed pharmacy services in different facilities across the Baptist Health system. Some of them even took on extra responsibilities during the crisis and they did it with a smile on their faces.
The pharmacy residents agreed that one thing that got them through the pandemic was a feeling of unity and support as a group. “From day one we were connected as a group, but as questions and concerns arose during the crisis and we were able to support each other,” said Jose Ojeda, a PGY-1 resident from South Miami Hospital who is making the transition to a clinical staff position at Baptist Hospital. “No one was expecting a pandemic, but it makes me proud that every week we were learning and adapting and keeping patient care as our number one priority,” he added.
“It was amazing to see nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and pharmacist come together to figure out how to safely treat patients during the crisis,” said Elizabeth Osmon, PGY-1 resident at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Osmon, who is continuing her residency as a PGY-2 in Oncology at Miami Cancer Institute, adds some advice for incoming residents, “take it one day at a time, although you might feel overwhelmed, you can step up to this challenge as a learning experience.”
“Never Stop Learning” took on a new meaning for this special group as they put their skills to work during this global pandemic in the collaborative and compassionate environment that is Baptist Health.