The Community Pharmacy Transformation

Pharmacy CareersPharmacy Careers Fall 2014

Safeway Pharmacy Offers an Invitation to Individuals with Passion to be a Part of the Community Pharmacy Transformation

Safeway Pharmacy Offers an Invitation to Individuals with Passion to be a Part of the Community Pharmacy Transformation

Are you a pharmacy student exploring the many career paths available? Have you considered a career in community pharmacy? Let’s take a look at the tremendous opportunities to contribute to health and wellness in this rapidly advancing practice setting.

The scope of practice of community pharmacists has expanded beyond their important role in providing safe, effective medication therapy and counseling on appropriate use and precautions. Today’s community pharmacists are assuming a broader role in promoting health—preventing disease, improving quality of care, and increasing access to care. Community pharmacists are expanding their services within the pharmacy and beyond throughout the transitions of care, working interprofessionally to meet the needs of the changing health care landscape.

This is great news if you envision becoming a pharmacist who has the potential to make a difference in the lives of individuals within your community and to contribute as an integral member of the health care team.

As an example of the scope of care you can provide in community pharmacy, let’s consider opportunities at a national community pharmacy chain in the grocery setting where I have enjoyed practicing for over a decade— Safeway Pharmacy.

When you visit a Safeway Pharmacy today, you will find that we have reinvented what it means to visit your neighborhood pharmacy. There are a series of striking changes, from the physical design of the pharmacy itself, to the education and training of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, to the scope of advanced patient care services that they provide.

We have redesigned our pharmacies to make the pharmacy team more accessible to our patients. The overthe- counter product assortment and layout have been designed with our patients in mind and now better foster pharmacists providing self-care triage and guidance. Our state-of-the-art Wellness Centers, with professional private patient care rooms, create the optimal environment for our pharmacists to provide a range of services including immunizations, travel health services, medication administration, biometric screening, smoking cessation services, patient education classes, and appointmentbased care such as Comprehensive Medication Review and Diabetes Self-Management Education.

As a pharmacist who has practiced for over 20 years, I can personally attest to the fact that these changes have been immensely gratifying in helping my colleagues and me to enhance the level of care that we provide to the individuals and families who visit our pharmacies.

Safeway also provides fully integrated patient care programs for patients who take specialty medications that are often difficult to obtain or require special care for behavioral health conditions, addiction and recovery, bone health, hepatitis C, HIV, transplant, and other conditions. Our specialty care team conducts benefits investigations and care coordination and directs patients to their local Safeway Pharmacy for medication administration and care.

In this era of transformational growth in community pharmacy, the dynamic support provided to pharmacy teams is critical to their successful integration of new services. Safeway’s dedicated patient care services managers and regional pharmacy managers support our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in successfully engaging in and delivering the ever-expanding list of patient care opportunities. We also offer our professional staff opportunities for continuing education, certificate programs, workshops, webbased training, and onsite mentoring and coaching.

We recognize that there is tremendous value in contributing to the education of future pharmacists and new graduates through quality internships and residencies as well. The time spent in internships and residencies is one of the most formative of a pharmacist’s career. A Postgraduate Year One Community Pharmacy Residency can even serve as a career catalyst. Safeway is partnering with colleges of pharmacy to take a shared responsibility for educating the next generation of community pharmacists. Safeway now has a Pharmacy Practice Institute with the charter of refining our internships, expanding our residencies, developing our preceptors, building alliances with universities and health systems, and conducting research to foster innovation.

There are also a number of innovative patient care services on the horizon at Safeway that align with the triple aim of improving the patient experience of care (quality and satisfaction), improving the health of the population, and reducing the cost of health care. Safeway’s philosophy of pharmacy practice is “Patient- Centered Care—Every Patient, Every Day” as established by Darren Singer, Safeway senior vice president, pharmacy, health, and wellness.

I invite you to consider a career in community pharmacy practice. It is an exceptional time to be part of this segment of health care that has much to contribute to meeting the unmet needs in our health care system and to directly improving community health and wellness.

Parisa “Risa” Vatanka, PharmD, is the pharmacy strategic alliances manager and residency program director at Safeway, Inc, and an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She has been a pharmacist for over 21 years, with experience in a wide range of settings including academia, hospital, ambulatory care, community pharmacy, and industry. Risa builds alliances with internal and external partners to design and study innovative community pharmacy—based patient care models. She established the Safeway Pharmacy Practice Institute, which is dedicated to producing exceptional practice-based learning for interns and residents, and serves as a residency program director for Safeway’s PGY1 community pharmacy residency. A graduate of the University of Kansas, School of Pharmacy, her professional training includes completing a pharmacy practice residency at UCSF and an administrative pharmacy residency at Stanford University.

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