The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation and academic leaders recently convened to discuss the changing pharmacy landscape and to better prepare pharmacy students for pharmacy practice after graduation. The forum was an important stepping-stone to increase the dialogue between academia and community pharmacy in order to create more solution-driven programs to assist the pharmacy profession.
An important reason for bringing this group together is the continuing critical need for pharmacists to practice in the community setting. NACDS research indicates that there are ~7500 full-and part-time chain pharmacist vacancies. The participants agreed that, working together, they can develop meaningful course work and experimental programs that will help students to become strong leaders and advocates for their profession.
The following recommendations also were part of the report:
•Increasing community pharmacy representation on curriculum committees and incorporating chain community pharmacy practitioners into class lectures, particularly management courses
•Creating quality advanced practice sites with well-trained preceptors
•Hiring faculty members who have firsthand experience with implementing and delivering patient care services in community pharmacies
•Promoting a more positive perception of chain community pharmacy as a career option by broadening the public perception of pharmacies, so that students can envision using all of their clinical skills in patient care environments