Grand Island Pharmacy Residency Programs - VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System
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VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System

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Grand Island Pharmacy Residency Programs

Please join us for our virtual Open House on December 17th! Click here for more information.

The Grand Island VA Medical Center offers a high volume of outpatient primary care and mental health visits to Veterans in rural Nebraska. The GI VA also has several specialty clinics onsite as well, including outpatient orthopedics, radiology, respiratory, urology, dermatology, nutrition, eye and wound/foot clinic.

Our Community Living Center (CLC) offers sub-acute and long-term care, as well as palliative/hospice care. In addition, we have a 30-day inpatient substance abuse treatment program which provides rehabilitation for Veterans with substance and alcohol use disorders. We employ 13 pharmacists and 5 technicians, in addition to 10 primary care providers.

Clinical pharmacy practice is well established, and providers heavily rely on pharmacists for chronic disease management and drug information. Pharmacist have been integrated in the primary care setting for over 30 years and work as mid-level providers under a general scope of practice; pharmacists’ autonomy is unmatched! Our pharmacist-run ambulatory care clinics are high volume; residents will gain experience working in a fast-paced clinic environment with close relationships with primary care providers. On average 8-14 patients per day are scheduled between face-to-face and phone appointments (video appointments are also available). Pharmacists are responsible for managing a wide variety of chronic diseases, including (but not limited to): anticoagulation, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, smoking cessation, congestive heart failure, thyroid disease, anemia, pain management, pharmacokinetics and hospice/palliative care. Residents are included in this opportunity to practice at the top of their license. Given our rural practice, our providers look to the clinical pharmacy team for the latest information from clinical trials and actively seek input from the pharmacy team in managing chronic diseases. Pharmacists, including residents, are responsible for management of the formulary using nationally approved criteria for use and evidence-based medicine.

Established in 2005, the PGY1 residency program offers residents a well-rounded clinical pharmacy experience in an ambulatory care and geriatric setting. Throughout the course of this one-year program, residents will further develop their skills in drug information, pharmacy administration, time management, organizational skills, as well as polish verbal and written communication skills. In addition to the robust ambulatory care and geriatrics experience, residents will have many opportunities to precept pharmacy students which will foster the transition from pharmacy student to clinical pharmacist or instructor. Residents will be responsible for providing education to patients, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers. PGY1 residents may apply for early commitment to the PGY2 Ambulatory Care program at the Grand Island VA.

PGY2 residents will longitudinally manage complex patients in a consistent primary care clinic and will develop advanced skill in the management of hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, tobacco cessation, chronic pain, congestive heart failure and mental health. PGY2 residents develop effective patient relationships and see the results of their interventions as they follow up with the same patients throughout the year.

As a part of the Nebraska-Western Iowa (NWI) integrated healthcare system, PGY2 residents will complete rotations at the Omaha VA, as well as the satellite clinic in North Platte, NE (housing provided or can be completed virtually). In this unique rural environment, the pharmacist manages multiple disease states, maintains regulatory compliance of the limited pharmacy stock, provides drug information to providers and assists with access to medications in the community. While rotating through the Omaha VA, PGY2 residents will gain experience in chronic pain/whole health. The Grand Island VA has a well-established PGY1 program and provides APPE rotation experience for students from Creighton University and the Nebraska Medical Center. Using the layered learning model, PGY2 residents will assist in precepting both PGY1 residents and APPE students. The PGY2 resident will have the opportunity to complete several electives in specialty ambulatory care.

All residents will be required to design, conduct, and complete residency project suitable for publishing during the year (including manuscript). Residents will present a poster at MidYear Clinical meeting (as available), as well as our VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Pharmacists Retreat (April/May). Residents will also present their results, via PowerPoint, at the Midwest Pharmacy Residency Conference in May. Residents will experience pharmacy management on multiple levels, both on site management, as well as from the perspective of the Chief and Associate Chief of Pharmacy. An online teaching certificate program is offered through Creighton University if interested.

Click here to watch a video to learn more about the program!


Lisa Bilslend, Pharm.D, BCACP
Residency Program Director
Grand Island VA Medical Center
308-382-3660 Ext. 242678