May 17, 2017 A graduate displays a decorated graduation cap. Each one of the 127 Doctor of Pharmacy graduates has a story to tell about what experiences shaped their career pathway. These experiences include opportunities to develop as pharmacy professionals. We share some of their stories here, along with the results of the 2017 post-graduation plans survey. The majority of the PharmD Class of 2017 (75%) have already finalized their post-graduation plans. Specifically, 52 graduates of the Class had matched with a residency, and 42 had accepted an employment offer, and one graduate will be completing a pharmaceutical industry fellowship. More than half of the graduating class will be beginning their employment or residency in Wisconsin. This trend reflects the School of Pharmacy’s dedication to the Wisconsin Idea of enhancing the health and quality of life of Wisconsin residents. “I’m excited to interact with patients and begin to build long-term relationships,” said 2017 graduate Kathryn Zaborowski, who will be completing a Post-Graduation Year 1 (PGY1) Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veteran’s Affairs Hospital, in Madison, Wis. “I am looking forward to becoming an advocate for my patients to ensure they receive the highest quality of care.” The Class of 2017 also felt positive about the career path process. In the recent survey, eight out of ten graduates felt adequately prepared for their respective application process. The most frequent resources that they identified were the School’s annual career fair, online resources, and seeking advice from faculty and preceptors. Another valuable resource is the variety of clinical rotations during students’ experiential education. “Doing diverse rotations made me a better pharmacist by taking highlights from many disciplines within pharmacy (hospital, long term care, community, home infusion),” reflected 2017 graduate Matthew Jensen. He added, “I can take bits and pieces from each discipline to provide excellent care for my patients.” Jensen will be entering pharmacy practice as a community pharmacist with Community Pharmacy in Madison, Wis. “It is important for our grads to share the knowledge and training they received at our School with others, no matter where they go after graduation. PharmD students are incredibly talented and take their role as healthcare providers very seriously,” says Associate Dean for Student and Alumni Affairs, Karen Kopacek, MS, RPh. “Graduates of the PharmD Class of 2017 are well-prepared to make positive changes in the health and wellbeing of patients throughout the U.S. Sharing your pharmacy education with others to improve health at the local, state, national, and global level is the 21st Century version of the Wisconsin Idea. While our graduates find employment in multiple states and countries, they know that all roads lead back to Madison and the School of Pharmacy as ‘Badger’ pharmacists.” The UW-Madison School of Pharmacy considers students’ post-graduation plans an indicator of the School’s success in educating and preparing students. Other valuable indicators include pass rates on the upcoming licensure exams, both national (NAPLEX) and state (MPJE). The 2016 NAPLEX first-time attempts pass rate was 94.62%, which exceeds the national average of 85.86%. More information about the outcomes of the PharmD program is available here. In reflecting on their career readiness, graduates provided some advice to current students considering their pharmacy career pathway. “Take every opportunity to network with professors, preceptors, older peers, etc. to find a mentor with similar career interests,” suggested 2017 graduate Thuy-Vu Do. “Along the way, I have been fortunate to have developed a relationship with several mentors who gave me great advice and helped shape my career choice.” Do will be completing a PGY1 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Residency at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa, Wis.