Critical Care Specialty Residency

Katrina Derry, PharmD, BCCCP, BCPS

Katrina Derry, PharmD, BCCCP, BCPS

Thank you for your interest and consideration in the University of California, San Diego Health PGY2 Critical Care specialty residency program for your advanced critical care training. UC San Diego Health has seven adult ICUs where our residents learn how to apply evidence-based literature to complex clinical situations. As San Diego’s only academic, teaching health system, we serve as a primary referral center for much of Southern California. Our critical care residents have the opportunity to learn advanced critical care pharmacotherapy in our level 3 NICU, our Southern California regional burn center, and level 1 trauma center. Residents accepted into the PGY2 CC residency program will gain the skills to function as the primary ICU pharmacist, which includes rounding with primary and consult teams, participating in code situations, and becoming proficient in critical care focused process improvements and research. Our pharmacy residency program is over 30 years old and well recognized within our institution, which allows for maximal pharmacist input in our critical care areas. Critical care residents participate in delivering didactic instruction at the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ in the critical care elective, and may have the opportunity to team more didactic lectures, if requested. Graduates from our program are well prepared to sit for the Board Certification for Critical Care Pharmacists. Finally, we have a close-knit group of pharmacists and preceptors that look forward to our residents becoming part of our pharmacy family.

Program Summary

  • Residency Positions Available Per Year
    2 residents are accepted each year
  • Stipend
    The current annual stipend is approximately $52,000.
  • Beginning Date
    August 1st (matched residents must be licensed pharmacists in the State of California before starting the residency year and no later than November 1st)
  • Application Procedure
    Eligible applicants must have graduated from an accredited school of pharmacy with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and successfully completed a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency. Application found on PhORCAS at
  • Application Deadline
    January 4
  • Interview Dates

Program Contact

Katrina L. Derry, PharmD, BCPS
PGY2 Critical Care Pharmacy Residency Director

Resident Contacts

Program Overview

Program Overview Critical Care

Residency Program Purpose

PGY2 pharmacy residency programs build on Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) education and PGY1 pharmacy residency programs to contribute to the development of clinical pharmacists in advanced or specialized practice. PGY2 residencies provide residents with opportunities to function independently as practitioners by conceptualizing and integrating accumulated experience and knowledge and incorporating both into the provision of patient care that improves medication therapy. Residents who successfully complete an accredited PGY2 pharmacy residency should possess competencies that quality them for clinical pharmacy and/or faculty positions and position them to be eligible for attainment of board certification in critical care.

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Required Learning Experiences

  • Orientation/training/research: 2-4 weeks (duration determined by the resident’s previous work experience)
  • Required ICU rotations: Surgical ICU – 6 weeks; Medical ICU – 6 weeks; La Jolla ICU (mixed medical/surgical/cardiovascular) – 6 weeks; Burn ICU – 4 weeks
  • Required ICU Learning Experience Repeat: 1 month (repeat SICU, BICU, La Jolla ICU, or MICU rotation of resident’s choice)
  • Electives: 1 month each (may repeat any of the ICU’s or other electives)
  • Staffing: 16 weekends throughout the year (~1 shift every 3 weeks) including 1 major and 1 minor holiday
  • Research project and publication

PGY2 residents will gain the skills to function as the primary ICU pharmacist during their required ICU learning experiences (Surgical ICU, Medical ICU, Burn ICU, and La Jolla ICU, which is a mix of surgical, medical, cardiovascular patients). During required ICU learning experiences, the resident will be trained to handle all aspects of the medication process from ordering to administration. Because required ICU learning experiences will focus on developing the skills necessary to effectively be the lead ICU pharmacist, they will primarily be assigned in the first half of the residency year. Rather than focusing on a specific team, the PGY2 resident will be expected to identify medication-related issues and manage the therapeutic plan of every patient in the unit, regardless of the primary service. The resident will be expected to build relationships with each medical team in the ICU and work proactively with the nurses and physicians to achieve efficient work flow and medication delivery. Daily activities will include: participation in rounds, carrying the Code Blue emergency pager, reviewing each patient’s profile for appropriateness of drug therapy, performing pharmacokinetic monitoring on all therapeutically monitored drugs (TDM), validating pharmacy orders on all ICU patients, and overseeing and directing PGY1 resident and pharmacy student activities. This integration of staffing and clinical services prepares residents for any type of practice environment they may encounter in their future jobs by emphasizing the development of essential skills required for an advanced pharmacy practitioner: independent practice skills, multi-tasking and prioritization.

Supplemental experiences: Electives

There will be a total of 16 learning experiences that the resident can choose their five electives from. One of the electives must be a repeat required ICU learning experiences (e.g. SICU, BICU, MICU, La Jolla ICU) of the resident’s choice. The other electives can be selected from the list below and any of the required ICU learning experiences may be repeated again as a general elective. This will allow the resident the flexibility to tailor their PGY2 experience to an area of interest. Elective learning experiences will generally be scheduled in the second half of the residency year (after the required ICU learning experiences are completed) and may be repeated if the resident desires additional experience.

  • Repeat Required ICU (SICU, MICU, BICU, LJ ICU)
  • Abdominal Transplant
  • Bone Marrow Transplant
  • Cardiology
  • Cardiothoracic Transplant/Mechanical Assist Devices
  • Emergency Department
  • Geriatric ED (planned 2017)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Neuro Critical Care
  • Neonatal ICU
  • Neurosurgery
  • Pulmonary Thromboendarterectomy (planned 2017)
  • Pediatric ICU (Rady's)
  • Trauma


Teaching is a large component of our program. PGY2 residents will have many opportunities to precept/teach and their training will include learning how to incorporate teaching into their clinical responsibilities. UC San Diego is a teaching institution affiliated with UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SSPPS) and UCSD School of Medicine. The PGY2 resident will have multiple opportunities to precept 4th year SSPPS pharmacy students and PGY1 pharmacy practice residents, as well as to work with UCSD physician interns, residents and fellows on most, if not all, rotations. In addition, the resident will be asked to give many educational lectures to their colleagues throughout their residency year.

Grand Rounds: The resident will deliver a 1-hour CE lecture to the pharmacy staff regarding a topic in critical care. Allied health professionals are welcome to attend. Presentations are accredited for continuing education through California Accreditation for Pharmacy Education (CAPE).

ICU Clinical Forums: Residents are required to present 4 clinical forums (aka “mini” grand rounds) and 4 journal club presentations during the year at our ICU Pharmacy Clinical Forum. The clinical forums are 20-minute lectures on various didactic topics related to the ASHP supplemental standard for an Advanced Practice Residency in Critical Care and will be relevant to the patient population the resident is currently involved with from a rotational perspective. The objective of journal club will be to select and critically review a recently published journal article related to critical care.

Critical Care Conference: The resident will lead/coordinate a weekly critical care conference with the ICU students and PGY1 residents. Topics may vary according to the discretion of the resident, but typically include: how to work-up/present patients, sedation/analgesia/paralytics, Surviving Sepsis, hemodynamics, antibiotic review, acid-base, ACLS. Leading the conference provides residents the opportunity to practice a variety of teaching styles and improves their understanding of and ability to teach fundamental ICU topics.

Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences: Involvement with UCSD’s School of Pharmacy will vary but the resident may choose to be a conference leader for one of the 3rd year therapeutics courses, present lecture(s) and/or create patient case presentations as part of the ICU elective course. The resident may be asked to write cases for therapeutics conference based on real patients and prepare exam questions based on the lectures presented. Residents will also have multiple opportunities to directly precept 4th year pharmacy students who are currently on rotation with the resident.

San Diego Pharmacy Residency Leadership Teaching Certificate Program

PGY2 residents have the option of participating in the San Diego Pharmacy Residency Leaders (SDPRL) Teaching Certificate Program which includes a seminar series with residents from other county-wide residency programs. Seminar topics will focus on teaching and preceptor development. Alternatively, residents may select certain seminars to attend based on their interest areas.


The resident will be responsible for conducting 1 research project throughout the academic year that will be presented at the Western States Conference (Asilomar) or an equivalent conference and written up in manuscript form. A list of project ideas will be generated from the ICU preceptors and the resident is expected to select a project during the first month of the residency year.


The resident will be required to write a manuscript suitable for publication by the end of their residency year. The purpose of this requirement will be the development of scientific writing and communication skills. The types of publishable literature can include any of the following types of manuscripts:

  • Case reports with a review of the literature
  • Primary research /original research
  • Medication Use Evaluation
  • Meta-analysis of a disease state or therapy
  • Review article


Staffing will be incorporated into the residency experience with weekend shifts that provide the opportunity for PGY2 residents to cover 1-3 ICU’s simultaneously. The PGY2 residents will be invited to staff 16 weekends (which includes 1 minor holiday weekend) PLUS 1 major holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s). The resident will get 13 paid days for holidays and 12 sick days for the academic year. Vacation time will be in accordance with GME rules and will be defined as 20 days of vacation PLUS 5 days for professional leave to attend meetings or conferences.

Professional meetings

PGY2 residents will have the opportunity to attend various professional meetings throughout the year. Residents receive an annual travel stipend that is variable based on available funding. In the past, residents have received a set stipend for the year which they can use at their discretion for registration, travel, accommodations, etc. The cost of attending Western States (or an equivalent conference) will be deducted from the travel stipend, along with any other conferences the resident chooses to attend. Residents are encouraged to attend a specialty meeting (e.g. Society of Critical Care Medicine Annual Congress). Attendance at Western States Conference in Asilomar (or an equivalent conference to present their research) is mandatory.

Program Outcomes

Our Critical Care (PGY2) Pharmacy residents completing this program will be advanced practitioners proficient in the areas of:

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Demonstrating leadership and practice management skills.

Our graduating residents will effectively strengthen their knowledge, skills, and abilities in all key areas of practice management. These areas would include, among others, exploring their own professional growth improving the quality of one’s own self-assessment, developing effective negotiation skills to resolve conflicts, and demonstrating a commitment to advocacy for the optimal care of patients.

Optimizing the outcomes of critically ill patients by providing evidence-based medication therapy as an integral part of an interdisciplinary team.

By consistently using an efficient and comprehensive pharmacy practice methodology, our graduating residents will become leaders in medication safety and have enhanced patient outcomes by integrating patient- and evidence-based disease-specific pharmacotherapy at the level of an advanced practitioner in various critical care settings.

Demonstrating excellence in the provision of training, including preceptorship, or educational activities for health care professionals and health care professionals in training.

Our graduating residents will become proficient in educating health care professionals, patients, and students on critical care topics. Our residents will also be able to provide concise and accurate responses to requests for critical care drug information from health care providers.

Demonstrating the skills necessary to conduct a critical care pharmacy research project.

Our graduating residents will be engaged in multiple critical care related projects throughout the year including a continuous quality improvement (CQI) project and at least one formal research project. Enhanced project management skills and familiarity of technological systems will support the resident throughout these endeavors.

Participating in the management of medical emergencies.

Our resident’s will actively participate in the management of medical emergencies throughout the year. They will undergo ACLS training (if not already certified) as well as complete our internal Department of Pharmacy Advanced Resuscitation Training competency and simulation. They will be oriented to the Code Blue policy and understand the pharmacist’s role in providing care as an active member of the interdisciplinary patient care team.