Embracing the Small Town Pharmacy Model
“I love to build relationships and help people out any way I can,” says Brandyn England, a 2013 PharmD candidate at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy and March’s Pharmacy Times/Walmart RESPy Award winner. “Pharmacy is the perfect profession to do both. The small town feel is very important to me, and I love how pharmacists can make a difference in a town of 500 or 500,000.”
England has already spearheaded several innovative patient care projects that are making a significant difference in patients’ lives. One of his largest efforts has been a project with Easter Seals Arkansas to provide health screenings for adults with special needs. Working with the knowledge that special needs patients receive fewer physician visits than the general population, England and other students conducted baseline screenings for hypertension, elevated cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. They followed up with the patients twice during the 5-month project to monitor their patients’ progress toward healthier living.
A native of rural southern Arkansas, England has also worked to increase access to health care for farming families. Because these patients often have to travel long distances for health care and have difficulty keeping appointments during normal business hours, England organized a diabetes screening event at a farm supply store at which 50 farmers and their families were screened and received diabetes education.
England has also helped organize health screenings for the homeless population of Little Rock, set up a health fair at a local mall, and participated in numerous community-based health care initiatives. Taken together, these events show England’s dedication to patient care and his ability to meet individuals where they are, both literally and figuratively, to provide them with the best possible health care.
How did you get involved with Easter Seals?
Every year, the P1 class does a community project. As a class, we chose to help the Easter Seals’ Adult Services Center by fund-raising and doing some painting during spring break. During the check presentation, one of their administrators asked our professor what the 2nd and 3rd year students do. He told her about our health screenings and patient care activities, and she asked if we could come do a screening for them. At that time, I had just been elected as patient care coordinator for our APhA-ASP chapter, and I had already built a relationship with the people at Easter Seals. From there, we worked with them to set up the 5-month series of screenings.
Was there a moment when you knew pharmacy was right for you?
It was after my first year of school during my community rotation when I knew for sure that pharmacy was right for me. I rotated in a town of about 3500 people where there were only 2 pharmacies. My preceptor was “a good ole boy” and the whole community loved him. He talked to everybody and always went beyond what was expected to help the customer. He is an extremely respected man and would do anything to help someone out, even with non-pharmacy problems. After seeing how he interacted with people and managed his pharmacy, I quickly realized I would be happy making that my future livelihood as well.
What do you think is the most important issue in the field of pharmacy today?
I believe that tightening reimbursement rates have become a serious issue for many pharmacies. With certain plans now only reimbursing pharmacists for cents on the dollar, it has made many pharmacists put their thinking caps back on in order to come up with additional ways to make ends meet.
Do you have a funny pharmacy story you would like to share?
During the Easter Seals screenings, we made a discovery we called “femaleinduced hypertension.” Our screening team consisted of 10 girls and 2 guys. During the first screening, many of the male residents were recording some high blood pressure numbers, to the extent that I asked the facility director if he thought we were making them uneasy. He laughed and said, “You probably aren’t, but a few of those girls may be.” I quickly realized what he was saying. Nearly every guy who was getting screened had the biggest grin on his face! Apparently, they were trying to make a good impression for the ladies. We documented all the hypertensive readings, and I came back a few weeks later just to check on those individuals. PT
Pharmacy Brandyn England The RESPy (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) Award is presented to the student who has made adifference in hisor her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care. For more information, please visit www.PharmacyTimes.com.
About the School
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy was established with the 1951-1952 academic year. Today, 4 years of professional study lead to a PharmD degree that helps students meet the college’s mission of preparing pharmacy leaders to address community health and provide innovative health care.