BCPS 2012 | a small review of my thoughts of the test

The BCPS is the abbreviation for Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist.  Basically according to the BPS website:

Pharmacotherapy is that area of pharmacy practice that is responsible for ensuring the safe, appropriate, and economical use of drugs in patient care. The pharmacotherapy specialist has responsibility for direct patient care, often functions as a member of a multidisciplinary team and is frequently the primary source of drug information for other healthcare professionals. Those who are granted certification in this specialty may use the designation Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist and the initials BCPS, as long as certification is valid.

So, this is what I have been doing with every (or most) every free moment since April.  It is over now, and this is the first day I have had to sit and reflect.  I did not have the opportunity to finish the review of the test itself, and I was seated last (my own choice) for the second part so did not receive the handwritten review of the test.  I really spent all my time on the test itself, and my feedback wasn't given.

I wish it had been in hindsight.

I signed this paragraph at the beginning of the test but I don't remember what it said.  Something about not trying to memorize the test itself or copying the questions in any way.  So with that in mind, my review will not be specific but broad.

I am a hospital pharmacist who graduated in 1999 from the University of TN School of Pharmacy.  At the time we were rated number 7 in the United States, and I have never had any issues with being clinical minded in the jobs that required that role in the past 13 years.  Times have changed.  Schools have multiplied, and the residency which was a "side thought" in 1999 is a must today.  BCPS certification is also important if one did not do a residency or the cherry on the top if you did.

So, I decided at the ripe old age of 39 to study like a fiend and pay all sort of money to this organization to have study materials including written, web, and audio.  I spent most days listening to the likes of pharmacy lecturers discuss things from stats to ID to cardiology to oncology to nephrology.  It kind of made me realize I haven't really been using my brain at work, and to all the patients out there I have treated, I am sorry I haven't been a more thorough and clinically-minded pharmacist.

You see, an order entry pharmacist enters orders and most of the time relies on the computer system itself to flag for interactions and other things, but you know what?  Just yesterday I found something pretty profound.  The computer fails.  I found a place in our current process where I made a difference.  Just one of the many that are to come.

The test:  200 questions.  2 sections of 100 questions each.  I found the first part harder; but many I heard said the reverse.  I have always been the one marching at the beat of a different drummer.  Topics:  tons of stats, pharmacy regulations was everywhere.  I wasn't prepared for regs.  Psoriasis.  Acne.  Both of those disappointing as I haven't had an acute admission to the hospital yet for either.  And I have not found acne guidelines with the American  Dermatological Society yet.  I know I missed the psoriasis question.  Tons of COPD, albuterol, and not so much STEMI.  Angina more stressed.  Maybe due to the new Chest Guidelines that came out.  One chemo question I remember.  Tons of stats.  Did I already say that?

There were a couple kinetics questions.  Guess what?  I bought a $5 cheapie calculator from Walgreens that died.  YEP.  I had THAT luck.

Temperature was given in C rather than F.  I was bummed about that.  Guess it's time to join the rest of the world on that one!

There was one INR question I remember.  Pretty specific.  I got it right ;).

And the usual question that appears every year was there.  I don't think I can say what it is on here, but if you talk to anyone that has taken the test, they can tell you what it is ;).

Psychiatry a couple of times.  All side effects of drugs.  CYP3A4.  All CYP really.  Pharmacoeconomics more than I would have liked.

Guideline driven.  Mostly accp.com material so would recommend studying that.  Keep in mind if there's something not in that material though, you may want to find a review book to read on the side.

If I failed, which is possible (last year passed 70% of test takers with cut-off being 111/200 or so) I will retake it again next October.  I really liked the challenge, liked the things I have learned, and like the possibility of continuing my education in this field to grow in my career.

What did I study?

1.  ACCP materials.  I purchased the slides, handouts, and audio to listen in the car on my iPhone.

2.  http://quizlet.com/  There were tons of BCPS flashcards made by some pretty smart pharmacists.  Just search BCPS on Quizlet.

3.  High Yield Med Reviews  We will see how this goes.  It's a subscription service with test questions.  I think it helped me.  I will probably resubscribe around July if I failed for next year.

Related articles

Fungal Meningitis and the End of Lackadaisical FDA Involvement in Compound Pharmacies

Another One Bites the Dust...