Community pharmacist Kathy Campbell, who owns two retail pharmacies in Owasso, Oklahoma, shares candid insights about her role as a community pharmacist, caregiver and mentor to other women who are interested in pursuing pharmacy ownership.
Q: You call yourself a “Clinical Retail Pharmacist”… what do you mean by that?
A: When you go to pharmacy school, you are educated in a couple of different tracks. One of the tracks is very clinically oriented, which traditionally was practiced in hospital/acute/primary care settings, not retail. I have always loved the clinical side of pharmacy and I bring that orientation to my practice. I review labs; I assess symptoms; I offer my clinical insights to practitioners and patients. Over the years, my reputation has grown and I have developed relationships with doctors who appreciate and utilize my ability to influence outcomes. I receive referrals to consult on hormone replacement, provide medication reviews and management, nutritional supplementation and more.
Q: Women’s health is a passion of yours. What are you doing to help women improve their health?
A: A big part of my role – and my business – is dedicated to serving women in the 35-65 age range, some of whom are taking care of kids and aging parents at the same time. I coach them, and provide support and resources. I have in-depth conversations with them about their health status and the medical issues they are facing. Some of my recommendations may be around dietary options, mental health, or stress management tools. I partner with them and their physician to address their concerns.
Q: What’s an area you’re focusing more on these days?
A: I’m spending more time on nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, herbal medicines and patient education. Pharmacists are uniquely trained to help people understand the benefits and drawbacks. Historically, this area has not been a focus for pharmacists, but I think we can play a unique and critical role, especially when it comes to understanding how these products interact with disease states or other medications the patient is taking. Most of the people who are selling supplements do not have training to look at the whole person, from a clinical standpoint. Pharmacists do.
Q: What do you offer that’s unique in terms of patient care?
A: The value I offer is in powerfully listening and creatively contributing to my customers’ health and well-being. People have issues and quite often they are not heard. I help strive to empower them through information and education. I’ve encouraged my staff to do the same thing. It’s not just about the pill – it’s about the person. I am committed to people having great lives.
Q: Turning to the topic of women in pharmacy, what about this field makes it a good career path for women?
A: Flexibility and independence are two of the major benefits I see for women in pharmacy careers. I am in control of my schedule; I set the hours of operation. I’ve been able to play an active role in my kids’ lives while being a business owner. You don’t have someone else making the decisions for you, nor telling you what kind of professional you can be. You get to say. I tell people that if you want to make a difference in the world, independent pharmacy is an amazing platform.
Q: Over 60 percent of pharmacy school graduates are women. What can we do to encourage more of them to become pharmacy owners?
A: Programs like Women in Pharmacy are a good way to get the word out that pharmacy ownership is a great option, and there are resources out there to help you get started. It’s important for students to get as much business and financial education as possible. These topics are not a major focus of the typical pharmacy curriculum, so I encourage women to educate themselves in those areas. Each year, Women in Pharmacy sponsors a student “boot camp” at the Cardinal Health Retail Business Conference (RBC) where we invite pharmacy students to a day of training where they hear from accountants, business experts and women owners. They can also pursue an independent pharmacy residency, or “shadow” a community pharmacist in their area. Most of all, I would love women to explore entrepreneurship as a fun, exciting and very rewarding career path.