Walmart Market Health and Wellness Director of the Year: Michele Pagel, PharmD

Pharmacy Times, August 2015 Pain Awareness, Volume 81, Issue 8

Recognized by her peers for her character and capabilities, Michele Pagel, PharmD, has been named Walmart's Market Health and Wellness Director of the Year.

Recognized by her peers for her character and capabilities, Michele Pagel, PharmD, has been named Walmart’s Market Health and Wellness Director of the Year.

“Michele exemplifies what a true health care professional is all about,” said Anthony Chung, a health and wellness regional director for Walmart. “She consistently demonstrates compassion and empathy for her patients and team.” Dr. Pagel’s leadership and dedication has earned her the respect of all those around her, according to Chung, and her work consistently inspires others in her organization to grow in their own roles.

“Michele is a leader among leaders. Her passion for people development helps our associates learn and excel in their positions,” he said. “She is a trainer for our future leaders and has been instrumental in helping to create and refine fieldtraining programs.”

Having known from a young age that she wanted to become a health care professional, Dr. Pagel was initially drawn to pharmacy by her local pharmacist, whom she fondly remembers as a pillar of her community.

“I grew up in a small community in South Dakota and knew many of the health care professionals that helped the community in so many ways. The local pharmacist was the health care expert and was so friendly, helpful, and extremely intelligent,” Dr. Pagel told Pharmacy Times. “He was essential to our community, and I looked up to him and his family.”

Reflecting upon her career, Dr. Pagel recalled a particular patient for whom she helped to establish an effective and accessible drug regimen and to whom she later provided emotional support following the death of the patient’s husband. Dr. Pagel explained that her relationship with this patient affirmed not only her calling as a pharmacist, but also her focus on providing individualized patient care.

“The patient continues to go to our pharmacy for her health care needs and stops in sometimes just to say ‘hi.’ She brings friends and family by our pharmacy to this day just to introduce them to our staff and express her gratitude for how she is taken care of,” Dr. Pagel stated. “When I think of this patient and how I and the team impacted her life in such a positive way, I am so proud that she calls me her pharmacist!

“Being a pharmacist is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my life,” she added. “Helping patients in your communities live healthier and happier lives is worth the hard work and dedication that it takes to become a pharmacist.”

Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?A: Pharmacists need to possess empathy. Every patient that they interact with should be treated like that pharmacist’s family member. We strive to deliver quality patient care to each and every patient, one patient at a time. Making a difference in patients’ lives by providing them trusted advice and guidance that increases their quality of life is why pharmacists choose the profession. It’s truly that simple: care about each patient they interact with and treat them like you would want to be treated.

Q: What advice do you have for other pharmacists?A: The pharmacy profession is a very demanding one. Through all the complicated tasks that are asked of pharmacists, nothing is more important than delivering quality patient care. Patients look to you as the trusted health care professional. It is important that you conduct yourself in that manner and live up to their expectations. We are the most accessible health care professional to each of our patients. Exercising professional judgment in all situations is the key to success in this field.

Q: What do you think is the most important issue in the field of pharmacy today? Why?A: The most important issue in the pharmacy field today surrounds disease state management and the pharmacist role. As a profession, we have come a long way in the past 10 years, but there are still many opportunities to improve. Many statistics in the United States regarding diabetes, hypertension, and childhood obesity are astounding. The pharmacist can play a huge role in educating patients on medication adherence, clinical services such as immunizations, and lifestyle changes to improve overall health. Reimbursement for such services is often minimal even though the cost savings and improved outcomes for the patients are significant.