The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has launched its Student Ambassador Program, designed to connect pharmacy students with owners of community pharmacies.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has launched its Student Ambassador Program, which recruits independent community pharmacy owners to visit pharmacy students to discuss the benefits of business ownership and offer advice on how to navigate the process.
“The next generation of pharmacy owners are today’s pharmacy students,” said Holly Whitcomb Henry, RPh, NCPA president and pharmacy owner in Seattle. “NCPA has many tools to help students become successful owners. The NCPA Student Ambassador Program brings our current and future community pharmacy owners together, educating students about why community pharmacy is their best career option.”
Already, more than 200 community pharmacists have signed up to become NCPA student ambassadors. They will visit pharmacy schools in their areas, including both the 80 pharmacy schools with NCPA student chapters and the schools that do not have chapters. The goal is for each ambassador to conduct at least one visit during the 2009–2010 calendar school year.
Henry added, “So far, the response from our pharmacy-owner members has been overwhelming. They understand that the quality patient-care services that are a hallmark of independent community pharmacies will only continue if pharmacy students are willing to explore their entrepreneurial side and become owners. There is no reason why students’ professional plans should be confined to working in a chain, mass-merchandiser, or hospital setting.”
Once pharmacy students become NCPA members they can take advantage of other programs. Each chapter works in conjunction with a faculty liaison to expand students' entrepreneurial learning opportunities.
Students can learn about junior partnership programs that allow them to work in an independent community pharmacy and have a growing ownership stake. Students also can participate in the annual NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition, which provides firsthand experience about how to establish their own businesses.