This summer, for the ninth year, The DELTA Rx Institute partnered pharmacy students with entrepreneurial pharmacies in their Entrepreneurial Leadership Internship Program. This program allows students to develop and improve their entrepreneurial leadership skills through hands on practice and experience at their pharmacies. By the end of the program, students have a chance to be involved in the process and witness entrepreneurial leadership in a community pharmacy, be prepared for future entrepreneurial leadership positions in community pharmacy, and have exposure with emerging entrepreneurs. Additionally, students are able to give new ideas in developing new innovative programs at their hosting pharmacy.
The experience the interns get is invaluable, helping prepare them for future opportunities. This year’s interns were Elena Maloletko (’19), Anna Burns (’19), and Michael Harvey (’19).
Eelena Maloletko’s Experience
My internship experience at GRx Holdings has given me valuable insights into pharmacy practice as a business and how the profession is growing as a result of innovation. This summer internship taught me what it truly means to be an entrepreneur and innovator. I think many students have an abstract notion of what entrepreneurship is because doing it is necessary to understand it. I experienced entrepreneurship and leadership first hand thanks to the DELTA Rx internship. Being an entrepreneur in pharmacy involves recognizing a need in the market or business and coming up with a creative solution.
I worked on several developments at GRx Holdings such as creating a Collaborative Practice Agreement for flu and strep to be used by pharmacies interested in entering into an agreement with a local physician. This was exciting because I got to be a part of the pharmacy profession’s progress toward patient-centered care services. Another major project I worked on was the standardization of compounding practices throughout the company. I created templates for required compounding documentation and conducted literature reviews to compile thorough and accurate compounding formulas. I also worked on updating a marketing brochure for patients and physicians. This project exposed me to the logistics of compounding in a retail pharmacy and showed me the diligence required to stay in this market which is facing stricter regulations.
The projects I mentioned above were just two of the many examples I have of how this internship has helped me develop into a more knowledgeable and innovative professional. Everyone’s internship experience is different, but the overarching theme is similar. Advancing the pharmacy profession and business can take many forms. One must be ready to adapt to the changing market climate to stay competitive as a business. I’m thankful for my amazing mentors at GRx Holdings who have fostered my growth and gave me valuable feedback throughout the experience. I also extend my gratitude to the DELTA Rx team and all who made this internship possible.
Anna Burn’s Experience
My DELTA Rx Entrepreneurial Leadership Pharmacy Internship at GRX Holdings’ innovative corporate office provided me with an unforgettable summer experience. GRX Holdings operates one compounding pharmacy, one long-term care pharmacy, and 18 retail Medicap pharmacies in Iowa. Through this internship, I gained a new appreciation for independent pharmacy and the role it plays in advancing the profession.
A few of the many projects I worked on this summer include developing a Pharmacist-In-Charge training manual, training staff to implement a sync fill program into their workflow utilizing the PrescribeWellness platform, and updating policy and procedures for the stores participating in the Iowa New Practice Model pilot program. These projects helped develop my knowledge of current issues in the world of pharmacy and increased my desire to become more involved in the profession.
In addition, working at the corporate office allowed me to participate in various meetings regarding pharmacy operation, specialty pharmacy, Iowa CPESN, and the Wellmark value based pharmacy pilot program. This allowed me to gain a better understanding of the business management side of pharmacy.
These ten weeks offered me opportunities that without this internship, I would have never otherwise been able to experience. I am forever grateful to everyone at GRX Holdings, especially Greg Johanssen, Kristen McKibban, Cheri Schmit, and Katie Thaut. I’d also like to thank the DELTA Rx Institute and Drake University for making this internship possible. I cannot express my appreciation enough.
Michael Harvey’s Experience
My summer experience as a DELTA Rx intern gave me the opportunity to develop my entrepreneurial skills. Several projects allowed me to be creative and find ways to help the operations team at NuCara. NuCara provides a wide range of medication services from over 20 full-service community pharmacies including compounding pharmacy, specialty pharmacy, medication packaging, and infusion services. In addition to managing its patient’s medications, NuCara provides healthcare transportation, home medical equipment, respiratory therapy, and home care assistance. Thanks to my experiences at NuCara, I have a greater understanding of the impact community pharmacies can have on their patients and their communities.
Some of the many entrepreneurship activities I participated in included assisting with the transition of the NuCara Ames pharmacy to a new location, working at telepharmacy sites, planning a new telepharmacy in Montezuma Iowa, and attended weekly operations meetings at the corporate office with representatives from home medical and pharmacy divisions. One of my projects throughout the summer was working to integrate several pharmacy support programs with the main pharmacy software at all of the pharmacy sites. Community pharmacies are facing larger pressure to improve star ratings, increase MTM services, and improve overall outcomes. NuCara Utilizes several programs to help them improve outcomes and manage patients more effectively including Prescribe Wellness and iMedicare and my project involved integrating these platforms with the pharmacy software as well as ensuring that the pharmacists had resources necessary to utilize the integrated platforms. This project enables pharmacists and pharmacy staff to be presented with opportunities specific to each patient as they are processing that patient’s prescriptions.
I would like to thank Brett Barker and the rest of the NuCara staff for an incredible experience. I learned many valuable lessons about pharmacy ownership, management, and innovation that I will be able to apply to my future pharmacy career.