It was on October 14th, 2014 when Drake University’s National Community Pharmacists Association (NCAP)’s student organization had the chance to visit Osterhaus Pharmacy in Maquoketa, Iowa. The pharmacy students were allowed to not only see how the pharmacy was arranged and run, but got the unique chance to learn about the history of the pharmacy. They also learned exactly how Osterhaus Pharmacy was unique compared to other pharmacies.
So what is Osterhaus Pharmacy’s history? For one, since 1965 it is a family run pharmacy. Over the years it has expanded in space as well as added new types of services and screenings to their repertoire. Having a passion in not only helping their patients, but also teaching future pharmacists, per their website, in 1997 Osterhaus Pharmacy worked with Reugnitz Pharmacy (now Mercy Family Pharmacy) and The University of Iowa to bring forth Iowa’s first community based residency. The yearlong residency allows new pharmacy graduates to gain confidence and a comfort level with various patient screenings, services, as well as to gain more innovative knowledge to further themselves as the pharmacists of tomorrow. Today, Osterhaus Pharmacy still holds residencies and rotations for students who wish to be more involved in their patients’ care. Matthew C. Osterhaus, elected in March 2014 as the president-elect of American Pharmacists Association, currently runs the pharmacy and has continued his family’s love and passion in taking the wellness of the patient seriously. Additionally, they now share the building with a clinic and, according to their website, are now conveniently placed by a hospital, other clinics besides their own, and nursing homes to better help their patients and community.
With all the services that the pharmacy provides, the pharmacy students found that one of the more impressionable aspects of Osterhaus Pharmacy was their overall layout. Besides the pharmacy utilizing space well, according to Andrew Wagner (Class of 2017), during their redesign process in 1999, Osterhaus Pharmacy members also traveled to six different states in order to gain feedback from progressive community pharmacies. Finding the best aspect of each one, Osterhaus Pharmacy then combined those aspects in a cohesive manner to create what the pharmacy is today. The layout not only includes a section for over the counter medications, but also has ‘corrals’ which are patient counseling areas that allow patients to have more privacy than most other pharmacies. “It really shows that you are in a safe and comfortable environment whether you are picking up a script or receiving a more extensive service,” David Book (Class of 2016) said. Furthermore, another service that they offer, which is rarely seen in a community pharmacy, is a breast cancer section called “The Pink Wardrobe”. The section provides services and needs for breast cancer patients, survivors, and their supporters. It includes products from breast prosthetic forms and bras (in which those services are carried out by certified fitters) to scarves, hats, and more.
The layout was not the only thing that the students were impressed with. Many were enthralled by the number of different services and screenings that was offered and were even more fascinated by the efficiency of the work flow. They all agreed that one of the key aspects that they would recommend another pharmacy use would be the work flow process. The pharmacy emphasized patient care and used “specific colored baskets to provide more specific care so everyone in the pharmacy would know exactly what the patient needed”, Steph Tesch (Class of 2016) said. Not only were things clear to the staff for each patient, but “everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing, and knew what to do immediately after. There was no in-between phase,” Christina Bravos (Class of 2017) said. Even with each person having a defined role within the pharmacy and what they needed to do, Anna Shields (Class of 2016) added, “the scheduling provided for cross-training of all employees” so that everyone would be able to cover different jobs around the pharmacy if needed. Wagner agreed mentioning that there was “accountability, and nothing got dropped with the employees.” While other pharmacies generally have one pharmacist and usually two to three technicians working at once, this is not the case here. With around four pharmacists frequently working at the same time, multiple technicians that are always present, and a dispensing computer system that includes an electronic patient chart, Osterhaus Pharmacy is certainly different for the better.
“You can be a clinical community pharmacist,” said Bravos, “and have an emphasis on patient care. [Osterhaus Pharmacy] went above and beyond.”
And that’s what Osterhaus Pharmacy hopes to continue to do for their patients.