College of Pharmacy and Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation student, Riley Nicholson, has explored many areas of pharmacy practice, but was able to broaden her knowledge by attending several professional development events because she is a Burton D. Morgan Fellow.
The Burton D. Morgan Fellows are high performing, student thought leaders in the area of entrepreneurship. Outstanding undergraduate and graduate students from across academic disciplines are selected every year. The program is designed to be a student-driven initiative, focused on educational leadership, mentorship and community building while supporting professional development. The program is funded by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation.
Nicholson attended the Indiana Pharmacists Association Conference, the National Community Pharmacy Association Annual Meeting and will attend the American Pharmacist Association Annual Meeting in March.
“Each professional development event showed me a different side of pharmaceutical practices. Having the opportunity to grow outside the classroom and clinical experiences gave me a deeper insight to what is required of a pharmacist.”
During the Indiana conference, Nicholson recalls the importance of learning about pharmaceutical changes within the state of Indiana.
“I listened to speakers discussing topics related to goal setting and state board developments. A development that stood out to me was telehealth kiosks. The concept offers patients a way to fill medications without having to physically go to a pharmacy. Instead, patients would fill their prescriptions at kiosks in central locations, such as an emergency room. A pharmacist at an offsite location would verify and approve the prescription to be filled, authorizing the kiosk to dispense the medication. The state board was asking for feedback and it was rewarding to provide my thoughts as an up and coming pharmacist.”
As a pharmacy student, Nicholson has held internships in corporate retail pharmacy settings. She recently started shadowing an independent pharmacist and found she liked this business model and the personal satisfaction of working with customers at a local level.
“The National Community Pharmacy meeting was an eye opening experience, since I am considering opening my own pharmacy one day. The meeting brought in experts who bring together the pharmacy and business worlds. I didn’t realize there were banks that focused specifically on investing in pharmacists looking to open their own business. I could see myself seeking out this option in the future. I heard from speakers who discussed how pharmacist can build relationships with doctors, veterinarians and other community professionals to expand business.”
After attending the American Pharmacist meeting in March, Nicholson will meet with her mentor, Dr. Eric Garst, Pharm D, MBA, an independent pharmacist in Fortville, Ind.
“I want to learn how he got his start and the steps he took to grow his business. There used to be around three thousand independent pharmacist in the state of Indiana, now there are only 200. As a successful independent pharmacist in this market, I am excited to learn from him.”
“As a Burton D. Morgan Fellow, I had the opportunity to make these connections, which would have been more challenging to pursue independently,” Nicholson said. “Going to the conferences, hearing from guest speakers in the fellows meeting and interacting with other like-minded students has been a rewarding experience and one I will not forget.”