Kansas pharmacies host eager students

GARDEN CITY, Kansas– Since 1998, KU’s chapter of the National Community Pharmacists Association has been giving students an up close look at the world of independent pharmacy.

“We’re trying to help the students become better informed so they make a choice that’s going to lead to a rewarding career,” said Senior Associate Dean of Pharmacy Gene Hotchkiss.

Independent pharmacies are privately owned and are a community staple in some smaller Kansas towns.

“There are a lot of key elements that rural communities have to have and healthcare is one of them,” Hotchkiss said, “and you have to have a pharmacist in your community to provide the meds.”

“The autonomy you have in independent pharmacy to do what’s best for your patient is really huge for us,” said student Jace Moore, also the chapter’s President of NCPA.

The students got a chance to see how 14 different pharmacies operated, learning about patient connections, business philosophies, and services offered.

The annual trip isn’t just educational, they’re also aiming to create relationships so that future pharmacists already have connections with independent pharmacists across the state.

“I would much rather sell my store to a student and keep it as an independent as opposed to CVS that’s been in wanting to buy for the last two years,” said Robin Schenck, pharmacist and co-owner of Plaza Pharmacy in Garden City.

Stops on Thursday included Ulysses and Garden City, the group said so far the trip has been an inspiring one.

“Actually seeing it firsthand and listening to the owners talk about it and be excited, just the passion they show for it has excited all of us,” Moore said. They’ll make stops in Dodge City, Kinsley, and Wichita on Friday.

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