Critical Care

Program Description

The critical care pharmacy residency program at the University of Utah Health offers a specialized training experience in which residents are fully integrated into multidisciplinary teams that includes physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, dietary specialists, social workers, and case management. The hospital is a Level I Trauma Center, an accredited center for Stroke, ECMO, and PAH, and home of the Intermountain Burn Center. As a major referral site for the Intermountain West, high acuity patients are transferred for specialized care from several surrounding states (Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico). The purpose of the residency is to enhance professionalism and to develop the knowledge and skills needed to provide comprehensive medication management to diverse critically ill patients. Residents will also enhance their leadership skills and practice management in a critical care environment. Upon completion of the residency, residents will be equipped to practice in a variety of acute care settings. The program is accredited by ASHP.

Program Purpose

PGY2 pharmacy residency programs build on Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) education and PGY1 pharmacy residency programs to contribute to the development of clinical pharmacists in specialized areas of 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 or other advanced practice settings. Residents who successfully complete an accredited PGY2 pharmacy residency are prepared for advanced patient care, academic, or other specialized positions, along with board certification, if available.

Program Goals

After successful completion of this critical care residency program, the resident shall be able to:

  • Systematically and methodically develop care plans and monitor critically ill patients for efficacy of drug therapy and possible adverse drug events.
  • Establish a high level of professional responsibility, dedication, skill and maturity to practice in a critical care clinical environment.
  • Exhibit actions and behaviors of a highly sophisticated critical care practitioner and serve as a leader in clinical practice, medication safety, and policy/protocol development.
  • Clearly, concisely, effectively, and appropriately communicate, both verbally and in writing, with health care professionals and with patients and patients’ family members.
  • Attain a level of didactic knowledge that will enable them (after additional study and review) to pass the examination to become a Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist (BCCCP).
  • Demonstrate motivation and responsibility for honest self-assessment of skills sets and translate this into self-directed, independent study and learning.

Rotation Experiences

The critical care residency offers the following required experiences:

  • Surgical ICU (4 weeks)
  • Cardiothoracic ICU (4 weeks)
  • Medical ICU (8 weeks)
  • Burn/Trauma ICU (4 weeks)
  • Neurology/Neurosurgical ICU (4 weeks)
  • Emergency Medicine (4 weeks)
  • Critical Care Practice Management (4 weeks)
  • Infectious Diseases (Longitudinal)
  • Education and Leadership (Longitudinal)
  • Research/Quality Improvement (Longitudinal)
  • Service Commitment (Longitudinal)

Many elective experiences are available, which include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Oncology Intensive Care
  • Newborn Intensive Care
  • Pediatric ICU/Emergency Medicine (outside facility)
  • Solid Organ Transplantation
  • Poison Control Center

The program is committed to individualizing schedules to meet the resident’s personal and career goals, including offering the opportunity for up to 4 weeks to be spent on rotation in an outside facility. Additionally, residents will have the opportunity to attend cardiac arrests, rapid response activations, brain attacks, and code sepsis following the department’s standard operating procedures.

Teaching & Learning Opportunities

The resident will provide in-services to interprofessional colleagues and lead topic discussions during each rotation experience. Moreover, residents are actively involved in the training of PGY1 residents and pharmacy students. Residents will present a lecture at the college of pharmacy. The resident will also have the opportunity to present to fellow pharmacists and pharmacy technicians through an ACPE-accredited continuing education program (CE) as well as pro/con debate (completed in conjunction with the emergency resident co-resident). Numerous additional opportunities are available at the hospital, affiliated schools of pharmacy and medicine and our aeromedical transport. This residency includes an optional teaching certificate program.

Service Commitment (Staffing Component)

The resident will complete their staffing commitment as 4 shifts per month in the Medical ICU (MICU). The Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) is a 25 bed critical care unit that cares for patients from throughout the Intermountain West. Patient demographics vary considerably and commonly encountered disease states include respiratory failure, states of impaired perfusion (septic, hemorrhagic, hypovolemic, and cardiogenic shock), acute and chronic kidney injury, toxic ingestions, gastrointestinal bleeds, acute and chronic liver failure, solid-organ transplant, and thromboembolic diseases. This rotation includes extensive coverage of various infectious disease topics. The Medical ICU team serves as the primary response team for all inpatient cardiac arrests.

The pharmacy resident on service will be responsible for providing comprehensive pharmaceutical care to all patients on the assigned team. The primary focus of this staffing experience is providing excellent patient care and for the resident to serve as the primary pharmacy contact for the team on the weekends. The resident is expected to attend daily rounds with the assigned medical team as well as be the primary pharmacy contact person for that team. Residents are also expected to perform thorough medication and vaccination histories on each patient and communicate pertinent patient information through documentation in the electronic chart.

Additional staffing areas may be included based on departmental needs. Residents are required to staff a portion of observed holidays. Participation in various community volunteer opportunities is encouraged, but not required.

Residency Research/Quality Improvement Project

Residents have the opportunity to complete their required research/quality improvement project within a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment, and as such, residents have the opportunity to meet regularly with other collaborators (e.g., physicians, nurses, etc.) to enhance their overall research design. Residents are also supported by one of the preeminent Drug Information Services in the country, which is readily accessible within our pharmacy department. Residents will demonstrate an understanding of the steps involved in planning and coordinating a project that furthers pharmacy practice, including, but not limited, to the following:

  • Project selection and defense to the institution’s Resident Advisory Committee
  • Development of project proposal in IRB format and IRB approval as necessary
  • Identification and coordination of data collection and analysis
  • Presentation of research in poster format at the University Health Consortium
  • Presentation of research in platform format at Mountain States Conference
  • Preparation of a manuscript suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal

Professional Meetings

The resident is expected to attend ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Mountain States Conference, and will have the opportunity to attend the Annual Congress of the Society of Critical Care Medicine. Travel support is provided.


Candidates must graduate from an ACPE-accredited pharmacy program with a doctor of pharmacy degree (or equivalent combination of education and clinical experience) with a minimum GPA of 3.1 on a 4.0 scale. Residents must have completed an accredited PGY1 pharmacy residency program. Applicants must be eligible for Utah licensure and are expected to obtain licensure as a pharmacist in Utah by September 30th of each program year. (The University of Utah Pharmacy residency programs do not sponsor visas.)

Recruitment and Selection

The following information must be submitted by the date specified on the residency application for the applicant to be considered for an onsite interview:

  • Completed PhORCAS registration
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letter of intent
  • College of pharmacy transcripts
  • Three recommendations using the PhORCAS standard form

All residency programs at University of Utah Health use the Pharmacy Online Residency Centralized Application Service (PhORCAS). No paper applications will be accepted. Completed applications in PhORCAS are reviewed, and competitive applicants are invited to attend an on-site, full-day interview in January or February. The program participates in the ASHP Resident Matching Program.