Currently, I work in a split position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at UAMS College of Pharmacy and as a Patient Care Specialist for Kroger Pharmacy. At Kroger, I am on a team of three Patient Care Specialists in Arkansas that not only provide clinical services including MTM, screenings, immunizations, and health coaching, but promote the implementation of these services into the normal workflow at each Kroger pharmacy by each pharmacist. This is an evolving initiative, but I feel that it is important to move the profession forward in the eyes of payers, patients, other providers and pharmacists themselves. This position involves developing the expertise for these services in our staff pharmacists by creating continuing education and training programs as well as working one-on-one with pharmacists in their store’s individual setting. In many cases, pharmacists already have the therapeutic knowledge needed to provide these services but may not be used to accessing this therapeutic knowledge in a new way. They also may be uncomfortable with the logistical processes necessary to carry out these services.
In addition to working with pharmacists’ knowledge base, I also work with managers, decision makers and pharmacy staff to create solutions to common barriers in providing these services. Pharmacies are staffed and built for dispensing, which can make incorporating new services challenging. I have created pilot projects using various models in an attempt to find best practices to increase efficiency, quality of care and return on investment.
As a faculty member at the College, I have the opportunity to take four year students on rotation to give them an idea of the “clinical side of community pharmacy” as I call it. My hope is that I can inspire young pharmacists to find new ways to overcome barriers in providing clinical services in the community setting. I also hope to inspire them to be a “clinical pharmacist” no matter what setting they practice in. In addition to taking students on rotation, I teach or help with a large portion of the communication curriculum in each professional year of the didactic coursework including the new Patient Centered Communication course in the P1 year, Dispensing in the P2 year, and Patient Assessment in the P3 year as well as coordinate Self Care Therapeutics in the P2 year. I am also the new advisor for the UAMS chapter of NCPA. I have a passion for translating education into practice in a way that improves patient outcomes and promotes the profession.
I think that it is important for pharmacists to practice at the top of their license no matter what pharmacy setting they practice in, and I feel as though community pharmacy has a large opportunity for pharmacists to do so. I have a dream that in the future the term “clinical community pharmacist” will be unnecessary. My hope is that, in the future, “community pharmacist” will define a pharmacist that not only dispenses, but provides the clinical services that I am working on incorporating across the state.