Alumni Resident Testimonials: Kristina Hesse

My professional journey towards becoming an Oncology Pharmacy Coordinator and PGY2 Oncology Pharmacy Residency Program Director began in 2013 when I matched for my PGY1 Pharmacy Residency at
St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Northern Kentucky.

As a pharmacy student, I thought I needed to complete a residency to build the clinical skills required of an oncology pharmacist. I later realized that a pharmacy residency provides so many opportunities for professional growth beyond building clinical skills. Pharmacy residency postgraduate experiences are invaluable because you are pushed out of your comfort zone, you develop clinical judgement and problem-solving skills for patient care situations that are not black and white, and you build intangible communication expertise. All of this was not taught in the classroom. Over the course of my residency year, I also refined my time management abilities, learned to self-reflect and assess my own performance, and gained valuable insight into leadership and management. As I reflect on my professional journey, I know that I would not be where I am today if it were not for my decision to complete a PGY1 Pharmacy Residency at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Initially, I was drawn to St. Elizabeth Healthcare because it is a large community health system. I favored my experiences in community-based settings due to the smaller, more personable atmosphere. Working at St. Elizabeth, I am constantly reminded of this patient-centered mindset every day when I walk into our new, state of the art cancer center. Rather than immediately being surrounded by waiting rooms filled with chairs, I see a peaceful garden, hear piano music in the lobby, or smell freshly baked cookies in our integrative kitchen. I am reminded that caring for oncology patients is more than administering chemotherapy. We must integrate the entire healthcare team and provide a holistic approach.

My favorite thing about the field of oncology is the continual change and rapid development of new treatment options. I find it amazing that many of the medications I see on a daily basis were not even discussed during my oncology lectures in pharmacy school. Navigating the field of oncology requires pharmacists to have a dedication to lifelong learning and the first step to developing these skills is making the commitment to pursue postgraduate residency training.

If you are a pharmacy student debating on pursuing a residency program, my advice is to seize the opportunity. A pharmacy residency will enable you stand apart from the crowd and accomplish your professional goals. I have never regretted my decision to complete my PGY1 Pharmacy Residency at
St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Kristina Hesse

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