Hometown pharmacist seeks greatest impact
Affecting people’s lives and improving their health, not making money, is why Jacob Edwards is studying pharmacy.
The 2010 Hillsboro High School graduate and fourth year pharmacy student at the University of Kansas returned home to spend his October working at Hillsboro Hometown Pharmacy.
“I specifically wanted to come back here just because it’s been a while since I worked in an independent pharmacy, and I like that aspect of pharmacy because you have more ability to affect people,” Edwards said.
The greatest impact of independent pharmacies on the people they serve comes from better communication between customer and pharmacist, he said.
“You’re right up there if they have questions, you have the time to be able to talk with them,” Edwards said. “You know the patients more here because it’s a smaller area, you can get to know them on a deeper level.”
Edwards, who has worked at a Hy-Vee pharmacy in Lawrence, said there is a benefit to the personal relationship with customers cultivated by independent pharmacies that larger chain pharmacies do not have. The pharmacists also know tendencies of the doctors and can better recommend medications for patients.
“In Lawrence, there’s so many doctors, so many pharmacies,” he said. “If you recommend something to a doctor, they don’t take it into consideration as much as they would here.”
Edwards is on his third week at Hillsboro Hometown Pharmacy, his fourth of nine one-month rotations designed to provide experience in different settings, including independent and chain retail, general and pediatric hospitals, and ambulatory or outpatient care.
Long-term care is an area that Edwards is learning about in Hillsboro.
“Something we do here that a lot of chain pharmacies don’t do is nursing home, kind of the long-term care stuff,” Edwards said.
He is working with pharmacy owner Eric Driggers to get more exposure to the long-term care side of pharmacy.
“I like that he not only runs a business, but he also is constantly going out to all these nursing homes, all these facilities that the pharmacy helps out,” Edwards said.
He said Driggers’ way of working directly with customers is how he wants to be as a pharmacist.
“If I had the ability to own a pharmacy later or had the ability to work in an independent pharmacy, I would love to be able to do that,” Edwards said.
His mom, Gina Edwards, worked at the pharmacy before him.
“I’ve grown up around her helping everyone, going in after hours to help people out,” Edwards said. “That’s what I like, I like to be able to make that impact in people’s lives.”
Most important to Edwards, though, is impacting lives, something he said he can do more effectively at independent pharmacies.
“If you talk to any pharmacist, it’s not about the money,” he continued. “It’s about patient care and doing the most we can, but in those chain pharmacies you are limited with how much you can do.”
Edwards said he has not decided on what pharmacy setting he wants to work in, only that he wants to make the biggest impact he can.
“What I’ve learned is I don’t like just going, I feel like some people go to a job just to make money,” Edwards said. “For me, I would take a pay cut, I would personally do more as long as at the end of the day I had that gratification that I knew I helped someone and that I was able to change someone and make their life a little bit easier.”
Last modified Oct. 18, 2017