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Instigating Innovation: DELTA Rx 2014 Summer Internship Program

This summer marks the 6th year that the DELTA Rx Institute has provided student pharmacists  the opportunity to develop their leadership and innovation skills through participation in a unique internship experience, the prestigious Entrepreneurial Leadership Internship Program. Selected student pharmacists gain experience working in a community pharmacy and developing their skills through the completion of unique and innovative projects. The objectives of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program include the following:

1) Involve students in a program that will allow them to witness and develop entrepreneurial leadership in the community pharmacy sector.

2) Prepare student pharmacists for future entrepreneurial leadership positions within the community practice environment.

3) Provide participating community pharmacies with exposure to and opportunity for potential recruitment of emerging entrepreneurs.

The following sites hosted and mentored students during this summer’s program:


NuCara Management Group hosted summer intern David Book. This diverse internship experience, based out of the NuCara Home Office in Conrad, IA, was directed by Vice President of Operations, Brett Barker. David’s main project involved updating the pharmacy technician policy and procedures manual.

In David’s words…

"The majority of my summer was spent at the NuCara Home Office in Conrad, Iowa, with a population of 900 about 15 miles north of Marshalltown, IA. The reason I bring this up is because my first question when I found out about this opportunity was: "Where is Conrad and why is this company's home office located there of all places?" I then discovered that NuCara's president originally owned his pharmacy in Conrad and has expanded the company to five different states. The general growth and structure of NuCara fascinated me. Thus, when I was offered this opportunity, I accepted the position immediately. 

Preceding the internship, I knew the focus was going to be entrepreneurship and leadership in pharmacy. However, I was put in charge of establishing a project, pending the approval of Brett, to be completed by the end of my 10-week employment. Individually, I decided to rework and digitalized the company's pharmacy technician policy and procedures manual. As a secondary long-term project, a fellow NuCara DELTA Rx intern and I reviewed the current mission and vision statements, used the DELTA Rx modules to redraft them, then finished off our internships by presenting our ideas to the company leadership. The diverse responsibilities and professional exposure of this internship made it extremely rewarding.

These two projects were the focus of my attention at NuCara, but I was provided other tasks to complete. I wrote an article on current issues in health care for the company's online blog, ran price comparison analysis on 340B prescription medications, assisted with the NuCara operations team's compliance checks, and attended the annual IPA meeting. I balanced these activities with online DELTA Rx modules and assignments that presented topics important in the ownership of a pharmacy or pharmacies. This internship's application toward pharmacy administration and management will undoubtedly benefit my future practice.

I would like the thank my mentor, Brett Barker, and the rest of the NuCara team for letting me work closely with them this summer. I am also grateful for the support that Dr. Chesnut and the DELTA Rx institute continually show to Drake University's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. I strongly recommend younger pharmacy students to pursue the innovative opportunities that the DELTA Rx institute offers."


NuCara Specialty Pharmacy in Altoona, Iowa hosted student intern Anna Shields. Shields had the opportunity to experience several areas of community pharmacy management including corporate leadership, human resources, financial oversight, marketing, durable medical equipment, sterile and nonsterile compounding, telepharmacy, and other innovative practice areas. During her ten week experience, she was entrusted with a number of projects including: writing Maximum Allowable Cost (MAC) Appeal guidelines and training all pharmacy technicians on the submission process, updating thermal packaging materials for safe delivery of temperature sensitive specialty medications, creating a medication adherence program targeting patients with HIV/AIDS and training pharmacy technicians on adherence phone calls, and working with NuCara's marketing team to create a brochure advertising medication synchronization services.

In Anna’s words…

“My DELTA Rx Entrepreneurial Leadership Pharmacy Internship at NuCara Pharmacy provided me with a unique opportunity to grow as a student pharmacist.  This experience gave me a truly unique view into the world of independent pharmacy.  At NuCara, I actively sought out ways to get involved with entrepreneurship and pharmacy ownership.

I am forever thankful for the exposure into diverse areas of pharmacy so early in my career.  I would like to express my thanks to Jeff Mullen, RPh for sharing his valuable time and vast experience with me by taking on his first DELTA Rx student intern this summer. I would also like to thank Megan Wiggins, PharmD and  Brittni Longer, Lead Tech for their guidance and input on projects. The staff at Pleasant Hill NuCara Pharmacy and the members of NuCara Management Group were a pleasure to work with this summer.

I would like to extend my thanks to the DELTA Rx Institute and Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences for working to develop an invaluable opportunity for students to experience independent pharmacy first hand.  It is experiences like this that build passion for advancing the profession of pharmacy in students.”

MR Pharmacies in Ankeny, IA, hosted summer intern Sara Magill. Ankeny Pharmacy is a brand new pharmacy that has been in the process of being built into a company from ground up in the past several months. Sara’s primary project was to help in this process through involvement in all aspects of running a pharmacy and bringing on new business. Not only was she involved in the decision making processes during this time of tremendous growth, but she also was given the opportunity to take on the role of the pharmacist and develop her own workflow processes for setting up, balancing, and improving the workload. Magill worked at analyzing the current workflow and improving upon it in order to enhance efficiency. 

In Sara’s words…
        “I think every DELTA Rx intern has a unique experience in the sense that other students may not ever get quite the same extent of exposure to independent pharmacy until they graduate and enter the profession. I can truly say my experience as an intern was just that. Opening and growing a pharmacy is difficult. The business is fragile and operations are not established. My internship through DELTA Rx has given me the opportunity to witness, firsthand, a brand new pharmacy quadruple business in one month and experience the challenges that come along with such growth. We were forced to alter our workflow, analyze efficiency, and establish processes for completing tasks on a daily basis as we were faced with new scenarios. Being put in this position has allowed me to better understand a pharmacist's role in communicating with long term care facilities, patients, employees, and other health care professionals, as well as given me the tools to handle the everyday challenges a pharmacist is faced with.
        After witnessing the tremendous growth and development Ankeny Pharmacy has been through the past few months, I have a better appreciation for management that made it all possible. My preceptor stressed the importance of empowering employees to make productive change themselves. Not every decision involving the pharmacy's work flow can come from management, but must be made and enforced by the employees that are partaking in such activities. Management must delegate the responsibility of creating efficient and pleasant working conditions to the employees involved. This is a message that I will carry with me into the future because I have experienced firsthand how effective it can be. I would like to send my gratitude to my preceptor, Rocky Anderson, for sharing his knowledge with me, as well as DELTA Rx for giving me the opportunity to participate in such a great experience.”


Thank you to all the participating programs for making these internship experiences possible, and thank you to this year’s mentors for the invaluable insight and opportunities they offered. If you are interested in participating in next year’s DELTA Rx Internship Program, please email