On October 13, 2012, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) held the 114th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition. This five day event featured several keynote speakers and independent pharmacy owners who provided insight on practices, care, products and other advice for the community pharmacy business. NCPA represents pharmacy owners, managers, and employees of independent community pharmacies across the United States. For NCPA Pacific President Deborah Pardo ’14, the timing was perfect because the event was held in San Diego, California. “We had about 40 students attend this convention. It was just after mid-terms and everything worked out for us. This was a great opportunity for students to network with professionals,” commented Pardo.
Pardo acknowledged that NCPA is for the students interested in community pharmacy; an association for students to learn, network and identify key successes in independent pharmacy. She says, “Students who want to be entrepreneurs in the profession or work in the community should definitely think about being a part of NCPA. This convention is national, unlike many other chapters that are California based, so there are several students from out of state that attended. Pacific students can meet students from other schools and expand their networks with independent pharmacists in the field. These events are encouraging because the number of independent pharmacies are decreasing. These events show that independent pharmacy still has a place. I think as long as we keep changing the way we do things in community pharmacies we can prove that we are still worth it.”
Pacific students that attended the convention took part in the NCPA business plan competition. Pardo explained, “In this competition, students must build a blueprint for a pharmacy from scratch or create a plan to buy out an existing pharmacy. Students create an actual financial plan and talk about the demographics of their patients. There is a lot of research and work that goes into planning. Students are writing an actual plan that could be implemented tomorrow.” Going into the convention, Pacific was listed in the top three teams and students presented their business plan to the panel of judges. “Pacific came in second place at the NCPA convention. We encouraged all the students to attend and learn about the competition first-hand and to support Pacific. I am hoping that some first year students will participate in the NCPA business plan competition at the next convention. Each school can only have one submission,” said Pardo.
While the San Diego trip was successful for Pacific students, they also had support from Dean Phil Oppenheimer and Nancy DeGuire ’89, Assistant Dean for External Relations, who both attended the convention with students. Students appreciated the time and interactions spent with the Dean Oppenheimer and Dr. DeGuire. Pardo says, “They hosted a dinner for us and we really enjoyed chatting with them. Students were touched that they took time out of their busy schedules to be with us; it was such a warm gesture. It felt good to come together as a School and we were able to make new friends we might not have seen around campus.”
The NCPA student chapter at Pacific is brainstorming new ways to be more involved at health fairs. Pardo emphasized the importance in finding ways to become more present at those events, along with other notable changes with the chapter. “All the other organizations have specific services they provide at the health fairs along with other committees on campus. We will focus on pharmacy education. We implemented a new program where each first year student will be asked to go on community pharmacy rotations which will help enhance their professionalism. In addition, we hosted a symposium and invited preceptors to explain what they expect from students when we go out on rotations. This allows students to ask questions and get a feel for what to expect,” said Pardo. The symposium has received a lot of positive feedback and Pardo would like to continue the event, as she believes it can help strengthen the chapter.
By Ben Herrera '10, '13