I had a love-hate relationship with pharmacy school. I loved the information I was learning. I loved the relationships I was building with my classmates and professors. And I loved visualizing what my future career might be like. But there were a whole bunch of things about pharmacy school that were incredibly frustrating. For example:
- Spending hours trying to read through the textbook to take good notes
- Asking questions about pathophysiology or therapeutics and getting told to re-read those same textbooks
- Feeling like I didn’t really “get” the material, even if I did well on an exam…
- …And especially if I didn’t do well on an exam
- Being afraid I wouldn’t be able to apply the material from the classroom to actual patients and practice scenarios
- Wanting to complete residency training, but having no idea how to best position myself to get there
- The fear of carrying around a chain of student loan debt for the rest of my life
- Anxiety about competing for a job in an over-crowded market
- The OSCEs (I guess I’m just not that into role play)
I’ve learned a lot since getting through pharmacy school and a PGY-1 residency. As I started precepting students myself, I noticed that almost every student had at least one (and usually several) of the above “hang ups.”
One day after residency, I ran into a friend of mine from pharmacy school, Sam Oh. We must have both had a rough week, because we spent most of the conversation commiserating on life after pharmacy school and the state of pharmacy education. We had always gotten together occasionally to hang out, but for some reason after that conversation we started meeting more frequently. And our talks seemed to center on things related to pharmacy school.
Eventually, we started brainstorming and writing ideas out. It almost happened accidentally. But before we knew it, we were writing an ebook called “Pharmacy School: The Missing Manual” and launching a website called tl;dr pharmacy. Since tl;dr pharmacy launched in March 2016, we’ve been creating articles, cheat sheets, and other resources designed to “simplify pharmacy.”
I’m often asked what our motivation for creating tl;dr pharmacy was. The answer is simple: It’s the thing we wished that existed when we were in pharmacy school. It’s a collection of everything we wished we knew back then, with the added benefit of all the things we have learned since. Our goal is to make pharmacy education practical and fun. Above all, we want tl;dr pharmacy to be useful. We want readers to read an article and walk away with knowledge they can use and apply right now. But at the same time, we don’t want to read like a journal publication in JAMA. We go out of our way to use analogies, humor, pictures, and good ole’ fashioned English to illustrate the concepts we’re writing about.
By definition, pharmacists and pharmacy students are mentally fried on most days. The amount of information we have to filter through on a daily basis is staggering. When we write an article on tl;dr pharmacy, we’re not trying to mentally tax our readers. We break down complex topics to the essentials. We give students the common “testing points” to watch out for, and we give practitioners clinical pearls that help them in their practice.
For those not familiar, tl;dr is an internet term that stands for “too long; didn’t read.” It’s frequently used on forums and message boards to say that the information was too long or too boring (and so asking for a simple summary). It’s a sentiment we often had during lectures or when reading through the tomes of Koda-Kimble and DiPiro. We felt like it was the perfect name for our company.
As a company, we avoid any advertising or sponsored content. We want our website to be a free (and distraction free) resource for everyone in our profession. Instead, we focus on developing useful guides and cheat sheets to maintain the operating costs of the site. Now that we’re in our second year, we’re working on several new resources, and we hope to continue our reach as we help students and pharmacists alike.
You can check out tl;dr pharmacy website HERE!
by: Brandon Dyson, PharmD, BCPS; Dr. Dyson is the co-founder of tl;dr.