Pharmacy Times

RITE AID PHARMACISTS REACH OUT TO UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS

Author: Elizabeth S. Roop

ATTRACTIVE GEOGRAPHIC MARKETS, diverse patient populations, varied career opportunities, and an organization- wide concentration on the business of pharmacy and the provision of top-quality patient care. For many pharmacists, these are primary considerations when selecting an employer, and Rite Aid Corp offers them all.

Rite Aid operates more than 3300 stores in 27 states and the District of Columbia. It is one of the nation's leading drugstore chains with approximately 70,000 full-and part-time associates and 2006 sales of $17.3 billion.

As a company, Rite Aid prides itself on offering a modern store base, strong brand name, modern distribution centers, and superior pharmacy technology—and doing so to benefit populations that are often overlooked by other chain drugstores.

"We build our stores in 3 different types of populations: extreme rural areas, suburbia, and we also build in inner cities," said Michele Belsey, Rite Aid's vice president of college and professional recruitment. "A lot of our competitors, you won't find them in extreme rural or inner city areas, but we do go into those areas. That's a good thing about Rite Aid; we try to serve every different type of community out there."

Along with putting a primary emphasis on serving all populations, Rite Aid also ensures its pharmacists are able to provide top-quality care in the manner they deem most appropriate for their patients by empowering pharmacists at all levels of the organization.

"It's a drugstore, and what is important in that regard is that in drugstores, pharmacists report to pharmacists, so the focus really is on pharmacy," said Belsey. "In general, the concentration is pharmacy, the focus is pharmacy, and our business really is pharmacy. That's what makes it special."

Pharmacists can be found at every level of the organization, ranging from staff pharmacists within the retail outlets, to pharmacy and regional managers, the latter of which oversee as many as 25 different stores.

And opportunities do not stop at the pharmacy doors. Pharmacists hold corporate positions including clinical services, human resources, third-party insurance, managed care, purchasing, pharmacy operations, and government affairs. "We even have pharmacists in the technology department," said Belsey.

Getting started with Rite Aid is as close as your computer. Human resource information is available on-line at www.riteaid.com, or prospective employees can e-mail résumés or information requests to recruit@riteaid.com.

For students, Rite Aid offers pharmacy internships and pharmacy-based positions such as technicians, cashiers, and clerks designed to give budding pharmacists valuable in-store experience as they prepare for their careers. The company also teams up with a number of pharmacy schools for its Experiential Programs. These range from shadowing programs for firstand second-year students to more advanced programs for fourth-year students in areas like community care, management, and clinical services.

Add to the mix upcoming expansions along the East Coast and a strong presence in California, and a career with Rite Aid becomes even more attractive, said Belsey. "It's really an exciting time coming up for us," she said.

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