/publications/career/2006/Careers_2006-09/Careers_2006-09_3917

TARGET PHARMACY: INNOVATION AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

Author: Elizabeth S. Roop

IF YOUR CAREER OBJECTIVE IS to work with an organization that encourages innovation and leadership and that prides itself on offering professional development opportunities, then Target wants to hear from you.

"We want to be a leader in the pharmacy industry, and we want people to join our organization who have that passion and that desire," said Pam Bernadella, manager of pharmacy professional services for Target. "We really look for pharmacists who are patient-focused and service-oriented. The second [characteristic] is good communication skills. The third would be those who have adaptability. The profession of pharmacy is changing, and it is important for us to innovate and change to meet the needs of our guests."

Target, which entered the pharmacy business in 1962 and currently has 1215 stores with pharmacies in 45 states, does more than just talk about innovation and leadership; it incorporates those qualities into every aspect of its pharmacy services. In fact, the company's introduction of the ClearRx pharmacy system in 2005 marked the first major innovation in pharmacy in about 50 years, said Bernadella.

The ClearRx prescription-drug packaging system features a wedge-shaped bottle that provides a flat surface so labels can be read without turning the package. Colored rings on the neck of the bottle help prevent mix-ups; crucial data, including drug and dosage, are clearly printed at the top; easy-to-read warning labels are printed on the back of the bottle; and critical medical information is printed on a card that tucks securely in the back and stays with the bottle at all times.

"We are very proud to have taken on this challenge. Our team members worked extremely hard with designer Deborah Adler, and came up with an innovation that we believe will help our guests significantly," said Bernadella. "That is unique; you do not see innovation very often in pharmacy. That is the type of environment we have at Target. We are always looking for ways we can be better and do things differently. If I had to pick just one attraction for pharmacists, it would be that."

IDENTIFYING, DEVELOPING LEADERS

Target's formal recruitment program is aimed at both new graduates and executive-level candidates, who are sought out during campus visits and job fairs, as well as through speaking engagements and sponsorship opportunities.

The company also offers an internship program that typically runs during the summer months and gives students the chance to gain an inside look at community pharmacy, counseling, and prescription preparation, as well as to develop the skills that prepare them for careers in pharmacy. It also offers a unique opportunity to learn how Target Pharmacy is integrated into the Target store.

Beyond that, however, the company is always looking for quality pharmacy candidates at every level, and encourages job seekers to visit the Target Pharmacy career site at www.target.com/pharmacycareers to learn more about positions with the company and submit resumes.

Once on-board, pharmacists have access to a wide range of resources and support, said Janis Hardie, Target human resources manager. "Of the things we feel strongly about, first and foremost would be the training we provide; the initial training when they sign on and also the ongoing commitment we give to their training and development throughout their career at Target," she said.

Bernadella added, "We really differentiate ourselves with an outstanding program for those who join our organization. We have professional training to help keep skills current and to make sure they continue to be experts in medication use. We have leadership training, which is critical to our environment and culture. We are not just focused on the job itself with our training programs, but on really helping our team members reach their potential and helping them be the best they can in whatever role they have within the organization."

OPENING CAREER DOORS

Career opportunities with Target go beyond the pharmacy. While many come into the organization as staff pharmacists and move up through the ranks to higher positions, opportunities also are available outside the pharmacy. For example, Target employs a number of pharmacists on its headquarters support teams in roles that include recruitment and operations.

Bernadella points to her own career path as an example of what Target has to offer, saying she never dreamed she would be doing what she is doing now when she first started as a Target staff pharmacist. "Opportunities came about and doors were opened for me because of our commitment to growth and personal development. I was fortunate to have some great mentors and resources at Target to help me," she said. "What we pride ourselves on is that, if people have the passion and desire to explore other avenues, we have those available to them."

As a corporation, Target also benefits from a pharmacy leadership team that includes a mix of both pharmacists and nonpharmacists, she added. "We value having a diverse team. Having talented team members who bring different skills and views to the table are essential for success."

THE TOOLS FOR SUCCESS

Whether in the pharmacy or part of the corporate team, pharmacists who are part of the Target family can count on having the tools and resources they need to succeed both professionally and personally.

For example, the company offers industry-standard resources, such as an on-line pharmacology tool to ensure the most current information is at the pharmacist's fingertips. They also provide significant training in health care and over-the-counter products so pharmacists can advise guests appropriately.

Flexible scheduling is another benefit, allowing pharmacists to work closely with their supervisors to manage personal needs, as well as to plan in advance for family needs, vacations, etc. "Work-life balance is very important to us at Target. We want to make sure our team members are getting what they need," said Hardie.

"Target, as an organization, is growing, and our pharmacy within Target is growing as well," she added. "It is about [our pharmacists] growing with us; growing with an innovative, leading company. We will provide them with the tools and resources to do that."

Ms. Roop is a freelance writer based in Tampa, Fla.