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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Hira Shafeeq

By: Jessica Lee, Pharm.D. Candidate c/o 2013

Dr. Hira Shafeeq received her PharmD in 2009 from St. John’s University.  After graduating, she went on to do her PGY-1 at the Brooklyn Hospital Center.  Upon finishing her first year of residency, she decided to complete her specialty residency in critical care at University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago, IL.  She joined St. John’s University as a new faculty member this past year in 2011.  Her practice interest is in critical care and research. 

What made you decide to do a residency and how did you prepare for it?
I first developed an interest in residency training during my hospital rotations.  After my rotation with Dr. Beizer I realized that I wanted to be involved in academia as well.  After making my decision to pursue a residency, I changed many of my rotation sites to faculty rotations to gain experience in any inpatient settings available.  I also attended regional meetings from professional organizations and local residency showcases to learn about the residency opportunities available in the NY area.  I also obtained a hospital internship in order to learn more about the role of inpatient pharmacist.

What was your residency like at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and at the University of Chicago Medical Center?
My training at both institutions was rewarding and at times extremely challenging.  The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) provided me with experiences in both ambulatory and in-patient care settings.  The primary focus of the residency was application of principles of patient specific pharmacokinetics & pharmacodynamics.  Provision of pharmaceutical care for all patients, 24-hour a day, was emphasized throughout the residency year.  This meant participating in medical emergencies and weekly 24-hour in-house call.  It was my on-call experiences at TBHC that sparked my interest in critical care.  TBHC was also closely affiliated with Long Island University, so I was also able to gain invaluable academic experience as a course facilitator and rotation preceptor.  Being a critical care specialty residency, University of Chicago Medical Center had a strong inpatient component of training.  During my second year of training, an increased emphasis was placed on practice management.  I enjoyed the added responsibilities of participating in research, active membership in hospital committees and professional organizations for improvement of patient care.  I also had the opportunity to teach at Chicago State University as an Adjunct Instructor of Pharmacy Practice for the critical care elective.

How was the transition from New York to Chicago—was it difficult adapting to a new city?
Initially, it was difficult getting used a new city.  After 2 months of a busy residency schedule, however, I didn’t even notice the difference.  Most of my residency peers had also relocated for the year, so after a short while I felt very comfortable in the new environment.  Additionally, University of Chicago Medical Center provides support their out-of-state residents with housing placement etc. to ease the transition for the out of state residents.

How was the transition from a PGY-1 to a PGY-2 and how were they different?
It was very similar to my transition from a student to a resident.  I found my PGY-2 year to be even more challenging as I had to become accustomed to a busier schedule.  I learned invaluable lessons for balancing research, active participation in hospital committees and professional societies along with fulfilling my daily patient care responsibilities.  A higher emphasis was placed on practice management, involvement in professional societies, and outcomes related research during my PGY-2 training.

Why did you choose to specialize in critical care and what tips can you give to students who are trying to figure out what they want to specialize in?
Critical care is my passion.  The complex things that come with my specialty continue to challenge me and keep me intrigued.  I’m eager to help care for my patients.  In order to really find you’re niche in the world of pharmacy practice I want to advise students to dig deep and really find what speaks to them.  Understand what type of practice setting will make you happy and provide you with a sense of accomplishment.  Some questions that may help you are: do you like to work with a team of doctors or do you find a one-on-one teaching session with a patient more satisfying?  This may help you in deciding whether you would work better with an in-patient multi-disciplinary team or in an ambulatory care setting.  Job satisfaction is an important factor in one’s career.   Give it a strong consideration when choosing your field.

Can you share what it is like being a clinical pharmacist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and a faculty member at St. John’s University?
I practice in a medical step-down unit at my institution.  My position allows me to participate in patient care, be a mentor to students, and continually develop as a clinician and scholar.  Working with St. John’s University pharmacy students has been very rewarding.

What advice would you give to students currently pursuing a residency?
I would advise the students to first understand for themselves why they want to do a residency.  Look at the short and long-term benefits and drawbacks.  Do what you can to expand the number of your clinical rotations in order to have diverse patient experiences.  Make sure to pursue any opportunities that will help you stand out, such as participating in research etc.  Keep an open mind open about residencies that you wouldn’t initially pick.  Sometimes residency is about synergizing with the right people.  Spend some time researching about various residency programs and their mission statements.  Evaluate if the residency aligns with your own personal goals and objectives for post-graduate training and choose accordingly.

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