This summer, for the seventh 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, they will have had a chance to be involved in the process and be a witness to 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 Christina Bravos (’17), Mitchell Hardie (’18), and Andrew Wagner (’17) and they were hosted by Brett Barker – Vice President of Operations at NuCara Pharmacies, Rockford Anderson at Ankeny Pharmacy, and Michele Cooper at Eagle Grove Pharmacy respectfully.
Christina Bravos’s Experience
During her experience as an intern, she would overall define it as a managing internship since she focused mostly on managing a pharmacy and what that entails. For example, Bravos said that “On the first day I went to an operations meeting that was for the entire chain. They were there to go over staff conflicts, orders and purchases for the company, discussing the opening/closing of pharmacies, and telepharmacies in other states.” NuCara has bought two pharmacies located in North Dakota back in April and in that first week she was there, they were busy putting them on computer system. Bravos mentioned that overall there were a lot of management responsibilities.
Besides learned about management, Bravos most enjoyed the amount of people that she got to meet and the abundance of opportunities she got to see. “Brett, my preceptor, is very involved in the town,” Bravos said. “He was very involved with Story Medical Center who had just built a new hospital there and is planning on building a rec center. It was about being really involved in the community. There was a meeting at Walmark and I got to hear about pharmacy insurance plans, different reimbursement models. Being privy to that knowledge was really cool and being able to have conversations with Brett […] to be able to give input and get feedback was a great opportunity, especially as a student.”
What did she additionally learn from her experiece? “The biggest thing I realized, or further solidified for myself, was how small of a world pharmacy is,” Bravos said. “The connections that you have are really really important to keep and keep in good standing for future success in pharmacy.” You need “to continue to cultivate those connections through school and through pharmacy.”
Mitchell Hardie’s Experience
Hearing about it through the job posting at Drake, he thought it sounded like a “great opportunity to pursue [his] interest in pharmacy entrepreneurship”. He enjoyed his experience and was exposed to many jobs that he would not have any anything where. What exactly did he do? “I participated in several projects that were designed to improve my preceptor’s business. My main project was to see if strip-packaging medication decreased medication errors in group homes. I also helped DMACC create internship competencies and activities for their newly developed pharmacy technician program. My day-to-day activities included filling prescriptions, helping patients, and managing emergency kit inventory for hospice and nursing homes. This experience improved my communication and management skills while simultaneously giving me insight into the world of pharmacy ownership.”
Andrew Wagner’s Experience
He found Eagle Grove Pharmacy to be particularly interesting since in that area there are no other pharmacies that are within, approximately, a twenty mile radius. Having been interested in DELTA Rx’s internships previously, but unable to do them at the time, he was excited to find out Eagle Grove Pharmacy was part of the program this year. It “is where I’m from. I’m interested in pharmacy ownership and this program is different from just working in a pharmacy. I wanted to see what it takes to manage a pharmacy and be an entrepreneur.”
Why did he enjoy his time there? “I was treated as another pharmacist in this location. The workflow is set up for a clinical pharmacist and a checking pharmacist. I served as the ‘clinical’ pharmacist during many days. This person gets many of the issues handed to them, and is in close contact with physicians and patients. I also sat in on weekly pharmacist meetings (these meetings consisted of weekly reporting of progress on project, updates, and strategic planning). I also took the lead on a project aimed at creating a collaborative practice with a local physician clinic for transition of care services. We saw a great need for additional discharge counseling and medication reconciliation once patients had reached our pharmacy, post-discharge.
“I also attended several board meetings in which my boss is involved with. I think that is important for people who are running businesses. They have to get involved in the community. So, I attended the local CDC (community development corporation), a county transition of care team meeting, IPA annual meeting, and a local bank board my boss is a director on.”
Andrew also felt that he learned a lot from the weekly programming since he is “not a dual degree student here at Drake”. The experience “increased my passion for independent pharmacy. Pharmacy is in such a huge change in how we deliver pharmacy services to our patients. Chains can sometimes be hard to manipulate, as they have so many stores to turn around. Independent pharmacies can essentially change their pharmacy delivery from day to day. I like being able to call the shots, and provide pharmacy services the very best I personally can, not how my chain manager tells me to.
“I think I also developed greater communication skills. It was hard to sell a collaborative practice agreement to physicians, when they don’t speak out language. We as pharmacists have an easy time talking shop amongst ourselves, but when we get out of that circle many people have no idea what we are talking about or the services we can bring to the table. It was an eye opening experience in that fact. I learned how to ‘sell’ pharmacy and the profession of pharmacy.”
Thank you again to our hosting pharmacies.