Regional Chains Are Ideal Practice Setting for Some
Students have many opportunities upongraduation from pharmacy school. Choosing the rightcareer path can be overwhelming. Pharmacists need toconsider the practice setting, size of the pharmacy, andmost important, what they hope to achieve in their profession.Oftentimes, pharmacists who have an internshipwith a smaller chain discover that this practice setting fitstheir ideal pharmacy job.
Many pharmacists are opting to practice in smaller,regional chains, because they want more opportunities toserve patients in the community and more involvement inthe business of running a pharmacy. The relationships theybuild with patients through daily interaction help fostertrust between patients and the pharmacists who provide theservice. As the most accessible health care providers, pharmacistsare in a unique position to educate patients on theirmedications and other health-related issues.
A career in a smaller chain offers many unique benefits.In addition to providing one-on-one counselingto patients, pharmacists are part of a health care teamthat works collaboratively with physicians to managepatients' drug therapy. Pharmacists in this practice settingmay find opportunities to gain more patient interactionthrough various pharmacy programs such as diseasestate management, immunization services, medicationtherapy management, and clinic services.
Here is a brief summary of facts about some of the topchains:
LEWIS DRUG INC
- Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
- Operates 30 pharmacies in southeastern South Dakota, northwestern Iowa, and southwestern Minnesota
- 2007 revenue: $143 million
- Dispenses an average of 200,000 prescriptions per month
- Employees: approximately 300 full- and part-time pharmacy employees, including pharmacists, technicians, and clerks
- Offers competitive starting salary with industry
- Benefit package includes health insurance, dental insurance, short- and long-term disability insurance; 401(k) plan; and paid time off
- Headquartered in Gouverneur, New York, with a regional office in Syracuse, New York
- Operates 87 retail stores and 4 institutional pharmacies; retail locations throughout upstate New York and northern Vermont; and Health Direct Institutional pharmacies in Gouverneur, Syracuse, Canandaigua, and Burlington. ProAct pharmacy benefits management and Health Direct mail-order pharmacy both located in Gouverneur.
- 2007 revenue: $610 million
- Dispenses 575,000 scripts per month
- Employees: 938
- Benefit package includes health insurance, vacation and sick time, store discount, reimbursement of professional licensing fees, employee stock ownership plan contribution, profit sharing, and company-sponsored continuing education programs
SHOPKO STORES INC
- Headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with 2 divisions: Shopko and Shopko Express Rx
- Operates 136 Shopko stores, 6 Shopko Express stores, and 3 Shopko Express Rx stores in 13 states
- Annual sales exceed $2.2 billion
- Employees: >16,000 teammates
- Offers competitive salary with industry and comparable benefits to pharmacists who work a minimum of 20 hours per week
- Benefit package includes medical, dental, and vision coverage; paid vacation and holidays; flexible spending account; 401(k) plus company match; employee assistance programs; service recognition awards; teammate appreciation sales; and teammate retail discount.