Postgraduate Year One Residency Program

ASHP Program Code: 41150
National Matching Service Code:

  • 156013 (Traditional PGY1 Program)
  • 156021 (Non-Traditional PGY1 Program)

Accreditation Status: ASHP accredited
Director of Pharmacy: Despina Kotis, PharmD, FASHP
Program Director: Lara Ellinger, PharmD, BCPS

Residency Program Fast Facts:

  • Duration/Type: 12-month Traditional PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency and 24-month Non-Traditional PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency
  • Number of positions: 10 (Traditional) and 2 (Non-Traditional)
  • Application deadline: January 1
  • Starting date: Mid-June
  • Estimated stipend:
    • Approx. $47,000 for traditional
    • Approx. $79,000 for non-traditional
  • Interview required: Yes

Program overview

Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) is a large academic medical center with 897 beds, located in downtown Chicago, Illinois. The pharmacy department at NMH has a long history of training pharmacy residents since 1978. Our department offers the following positions:

  • 10 PGY1 residents
  • 2 non-traditional PGY1 residents
  • 12 PGY2 residents
  • Various fellowships

The pharmacy practice model of NMH is a patient-centered, team-based, integrated approach to care. At NMH, every pharmacist has both clinical and operational responsibilities. Clinical pharmacists rotate through day shifts, evening shifts and weekends to provide high level, continuous patient care. We have approximately 156 pharmacists, greater than 50 percent of which are board-certified and greater than 70 percent have completed residency or fellowship training.

Our pharmacists constitute eight clinical service teams, including:

  • Internal Medicine (including Anticoagulation and Psychiatry)
  • Critical Care
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cardiology
  • Solid Organ Transplant
  • Hematology/Oncology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Women's Health/Neonatal Care

We also have pharmacists specializing in drug information, medication safety, policy, and compliance, nutrition support, investigational drug service and informatics.

The Northwestern Memorial Hospital PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency is ASHP-accredited, and offers 10 traditional PGY1 practice resident spots every year. NMH also offers a non-traditional PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency Program, which is completed over the span of two years.

Pharmacy practice residency graduates will:

  • Learn to be a confident practitioner with the expertise, professional judgment and values of an experienced clinician
  • Develop problem-solving abilities in a wide variety of practice areas
  • Exert a unique professional influence to obtain higher level goals in the patient's best interest
  • Understand the importance of evidence-based medicine
  • Learn how to critique and apply available literature and design and execute studies to solve relevant pharmacy-related issues
  • Be dedicated to personal education and to the education of others to improve the safety of medication use
  • Serve as a leader in developing pharmacy practice
  • Serve as a preceptor to both IPPE and APPE pharmacy students

The program begins with a six-week orientation (Pharmacy Practice Rotation) which aims to review departmental policies and procedures, certify residents in ACLS, and introduce key longitudinal responsibilities. Residents will also be trained to independently practice in central and satellite pharmacies. Additionally, there are six required rotations to be completed throughout the year. Each rotation experience spans over one month, with additional longitudinal clinic experiences extending throughout the residency year.

During orientation, residents coordinate preliminary rotation schedules with fellow residents and the program director. Most rotations are offered throughout the year and residents have flexibility to change their schedule anytime during the residency year. It is our goal to individualize the learning experience based on each resident's interests. Certain advanced experiences have prerequisites, for example, residents must complete infectious diseases rotation prior to participating in advanced ID rotations. Off-site rotations will be considered on an individual basis and need approval by the RPD.

Team-based precepting: NMH operates as a team-based integrated pharmacy practice model. Each rotation has a designated primary preceptor who coordinates the rotation experience. Residents usually spend time with multiple pharmacists on the same clinical team throughout the month. Residents have the opportunity to experience different precepting styles and learn from more than one preceptor.

Layered learning model: NMH has developed a layered learning model, mimicking the medical model of active learning. Learning at NMH is handled in a layered fashion, from attending level clinical pharmacist preceptor to resident to student. During many rotations, residents are expected to teach and mentor pharmacy students. PGY2 residents will also serve as the secondary preceptor for PGY1 residents.

Evaluation: The Northwestern Memorial Hospital PGY1 Program utilizes PharmAcademic to evaluate the progress of residents. Preceptors and residents are required to complete evaluations for each rotation experience. Residents also receive both formal and informal feedback from preceptors throughout the rotation. Finally, one-on-one progress discussions are scheduled with the RPD or one of the coordinators and each resident.


Required rotations may be completed at any time throughout the year with the exception of the Pharmacy Practice Orientation, which is always completed in June/July for PGY1 residents. Required rotations include:

  • Pharmacy Practice Orientation
  • Administration
  • Internal Medicine I and II
  • Medical Intensive Care Unit
  • Drug Information
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship

Current elective rotations include:

  • Advanced ID-Clinical Services
  • Advanced ID-ID in Immunocompromised Host
  • Infectious Diseases Outpatient Clinic
  • Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit
  • Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit
  • Surgical Intensive Care Unit
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Cardiac Care Unit
  • Inpatient Cardiology
  • Inpatient Oncology
  • Inpatient Hematology
  • Stem Cell Transplant
  • Solid Organ Transplant
  • Anticoagulation Service
  • Pharmacy Informatics
  • Inpatient Psychiatry
  • Specialty Pharmacy
  • Nutrition Support
  • Developmental Therapeutics Research Pharmacy
  • Medication Safety and Policy

Residents will have the opportunity to work longitudinally in one of the following clinics. Residents are in clinic one weekday every other week. Residents are exempt from regular monthly rotation requirement during longitudinal clinic days. Some longitudinal rotations are also offered as one month rotations. Longitudinal rotations include:

  • Transitions of Care Clinic
  • Cardiology Clinic
  • Oncology Clinic
  • Psychiatry Clinic

Committee Participation

Residents will also participate in two longitudinal committees. One of the committees will be an internal P&T or Quality Sub-committee, and the other will be within a professional organization with one of the Northwestern Medicine clinical pharmacists. Available P&T Sub-committees include:

  • Therapeutics A & B
  • Antimicrobial
  • Medication Safety
  • Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest

Residents will be responsible for meeting minutes and may be responsible for additional committee work as needed.

Professional organization committee availability varies each year.

Additional activities

Research: Residents are required to complete one quality improvement project and one clinical research project.

Residents will collaborate with their co-residents on a quality improvement project, aimed to improve pharmacy operations or departmental policies and procedures. Results are expected to be presented at the annual Vizient meeting which occurs prior to the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting.

Residents will also complete an independent research project, with mentorship from clinical pharmacists and support from the departmental research committee. Residents have the freedom to choose any research project, define their own research question, and work with the research advisor of their choice. Results of clinical research projects will be presented at a resident-specific spring conference.

Resident presentations: PGY1 Residents are expected to present a 20-minute presentation, on average, every six weeks during resident noon conference. Residents can choose any topic, including patient cases encountered during rotations, pharmacy hot topics, and controversial grey areas of medical practice. Residents receive timely feedback from preceptors and the RPD.

At the end of the year, all residents will present an hour long continuing education presentation for either pharmacists or technicians.

Meetings: Residents will attend the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting, a resident-specific spring meeting, and ICHP Annual Meeting. Registration and the majority of expenses for these professional meetings are reimbursed and the use of personal time off is not necessary. Residents are encouraged to attend other conferences of their interest, and opportunities can be arranged with RPD and preceptors.

Required membership: Residents are required to be a member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists (ICHP). Membership dues are not covered by the program.

Residency site visit: Residents will visit other residency programs. Each year residents visit different programs both locally and out-of-state.

Teaching certificate: Residents have the option to obtain a teaching certificate from a local college of pharmacy in the Chicago area. Teaching certificate requirements are introduced during orientation.

Advisor: At the end of the July, residents will choose one clinical pharmacist as their year-long professional advisor. The role of advisor is to provide support and guidance to the resident throughout the year.

Precepting opportunities: Each year, more than 450 pharmacy students representing 10 different colleges of pharmacy complete IPPE and APPE rotations at NMH. Residents have ample opportunities to serve as an informal and formal preceptors to students throughout the year. NMH Department of Pharmacy strongly promotes the layered learning model. Residents are expected to lead topic discussions and serve as a mentor for students. All residents are required to serve as the primary preceptor for one APPE student during internal medicine II rotation.

On-call: During the required administration rotation, residents will be on-call from Friday 4 pm to Monday 8 am for any administrative issues. Other department leaders are always on-call as well for assistance and support. Residents are NOT required to be in-house while on-call. There is no other required on-call activities for residents throughout the year.

Other activities may include:

  • Monthly RPD meetings
  • Advanced cardiac life support training
  • Participation in resident group service projects/volunteering
  • Resident game night with RPD/End of year celebration with RPD

Service Component

Clinical staffing is an integral part of the development of a clinical pharmacist. Residents will staff on average one evening shift (4 pm–10 pm) every six weekdays, and every third weekend (eight-hour shifts Saturday and Sunday) throughout the residency year. Evening staffing will occur at the central pharmacy and ICU satellite pharmacy. Weekend staffing will occur at both the central pharmacy and IV compounding clean room as well as on a de-centralized medicine shift. All residents will rotate through different areas, day shift and evening shift to ensure a well-rounded experience.

Residents are not required to be on rotation until 8 am the day following evening shift staffing to ensure adequate rest hours per ASHP standards.

Residents are required to work one major winter holiday during the residency year (Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s).


  • Stipend: As above, paid biweekly; residents have the opportunity to work additional shifts at pharmacist pay-rate outside of their residency requirement.
  • Vacation: 18 days paid time off and 6 days of paid holidays
  • Insurance: Residents will receive a comprehensive medical plan, which includes prescription, dental and vision benefits as a regular Northwestern employee.
  • Parking/Transportation: Residents can purchase a parking permit at an employee discount rate; Northwestern Medicine also offers public transportation pass purchase using pre-tax income.
  • Workspace: All residents will have their individual desk, personal laptop, desk phone, and pager. White coat, business cards, and other office supplies are also provided to the resident.
  • Library access: All residents have free access to Northwestern Galter Health Sciences Library, which grants access to a large collection of medical journals.
  • Extended leaves of absence: We understand emergent situations may occur during residency year. Any resident requiring extended leaves of absence can discuss their circumstance with the RPD. All decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

How to apply

Eligible applicants include:

  • Be a graduate of a Doctor of Pharmacy program from an ACPE-accredited school or college of pharmacy
  • Legal working status in United States to cover the entire period of residency training (We are unable to sponsor visas for residents)
  • Eligibility for pharmacist licensure in the state of Illinois (Residents matched to our program shall obtain Illinois Pharmacist Licensure prior to September 1st)
  • Hold an Illinois pharmacy technician license if not registered as a pharmacist in the state of Illinois prior to residency program start date

All interested candidates shall register with both PhORCAS and the ASHP Resident Matching Program. All participation materials must be submitted through the PhORCAS online portal. Additional application requirements include:

  • Completed PhORCAS profile with the following items submitted to PhORCAS directly
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letter of intent
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Reference letter writers should be preceptors, employers, professors or other professionals who can evaluate your skills and character
  • Reference writers are asked to complete the standard reference form within PhORCAS. (We do NOT require additional narrative letter. Please do NOT mail or email separate reference letters to us as they will NOT be considered.)
  • Pharmacy school transcripts

Application deadline: January 1

Residency program director

Lara K Ellinger, PharmD, BCPS, serves as the residency director for the Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency Program. She is also a Medication Safety and Drug Information clinical pharmacist at NMH.

Dr. Ellinger received her PharmD from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy, completed a PGY1 residency at NMH, as well as a PGY2 in Drug Information at UIC. She started her career as a Drug Information pharmacist at UIC’s Drug Information Group where she taught and coordinated courses in literature evaluation and biostatistics at both UIC and Chicago State University. Dr. Ellinger is very active in her state professional society where she has served on the Board of Directors and was recognized by the organization with the New Practitioner Leadership Award in 2017.

Non-Traditional PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency

Northwestern Memorial Hospital offers two spots for the non-traditional PGY1 pharmacy practice residency. This non-traditional residency participates in ASHP Residency Match.

Program overview

Non-traditional residents will complete 12 rotations throughout the span of two years. During non-rotation months, non-traditional residents will be staffing overnight shifts from 10 pm to 8 am for seven days on and seven days off. Two residents will rotate with each other from overnights to rotations approximately every three months.

The residency requirement is the same as traditional PGY1 pharmacy practice residency, with the exceptions below:

  • Non-traditional residents will complete two quality improvement projects (one each year).
  • Non-traditional residents will complete only one clinical research project during the two-year span, with results to be presented at a resident-specific spring conference during the second year.
  • During the months of nightshift staffing, non-traditional residents are NOT required to participate in evening and weekend staffing.
  • Rotation selection: Non-traditional residents have priority over traditional PGY1 residents to choose rotations; however, they may not complete the same required rotations in a given year.