What does a year in the life of an Island Health Pharmacy Resident look like?

The bulk of the Residency Program takes place in Victoria, at the Royal Jubilee and Victoria General Hospitals, although some rotations are offered at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and the Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan. On occasion, Residents are required to travel to Vancouver to attend BC-wide Program events, or to other sites in BC if an external elective rotation is approved and available.

Below is a summary of how the typical residency year is divided (to view the learning goals and objectives for the rotations click here):

  • General Orientation (1 week)

  • Evidence Based Medicine & Pharmacokinetics and/or other didactic topics (3 days, off-site in Vancouver, together with the other BC pharmacy residency programs)

  • Clinical Orientation (3 weeks)

  • Direct Patient Care Rotations (28 weeks)
    Mandatory rotations – Emergency, Critical Care, Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease & Antimicrobial Stewardship
    Elective rotations (pick 3) – Ambulatory Care, Cardiovascular Medicine, Geriatrics, Nephrology, Pediatrics, Perinatology, Psychiatry, Surgery

  • Drug Distribution & Sterile Products(3 weeks)

  • Medication Use Management (1 week)

  • Academic Detailing (1 week)

  • Precepting Skills (4 weeks)

  • Toxicology (1 week, off-site in Vancouver)

  • Residency Project (7 weeks dedicated project time)

  • Leadership/Management (52 weeks, longitudinal), includes leadership project that involves organization of Annual Pharmacy Conference

  • Vacation (2 weeks)

Other elective rotations may be available, including a maximum of one off-Island rotation. Rotation availability subject to change.

What other activities are Island Health Pharmacy Residents involved in?

Residents participate in an Academic Half Day Program. Residents are provided with clinical teaching through regularly scheduled, disease-based “Therapeutic Discussions” throughout the residency year. Sessions are facilitated “in-house” by the seasoned experts of the Island Health clinical pharmacy team.


Residents are assigned a research project to complete during their residency year. Insofar as possible, project assignment takes into account the unique interests of the individual resident. Residents are assigned dedicated project time during the residency year but are expected to tend to their projects on an ongoing basis, as required.

During the year, residents are provided with a variety of opportunities to deliver formal presentations and/or facilitate discussions with pharmacists as well as other disciplines, typically during the direct patient care rotations. This experience prepares residents for their case presentation at one of the regularly scheduled BC-Wide Case Presentation sessions.

Residents meet regularly with the Program Coordinator to ensure that their learning objectives are being met and that they are on track for successful completion of the residency year.


What about work-life balance?

Our curriculum is designed to offer a rigorous experience that promises to propel our residents’ careers to the next level. Work-life balance is part of the fabric of Island Health, and we recognize it as an integral component of navigating the challenges of the program and ensuring an optimal experience for the resident. Fortunately, Vancouver Island offers a myriad of opportunities to integrate with the West Coast lifestyle. Without a doubt, learning in Island Health provides a rich and truly unique experience for our residents.