School of Pharmacy

School of Pharmacy News

User uploaded custom header image


Thanks to fourth-year Pharm.D. student Kalyann Kauv for providing a look at an executive residency program for Pharm.D. graduates, in this case at the National Community Pharmacists Association. She wrote this piece as part of her managed care rotation earlier this year.

Kalyann Kauv (second from left), VCU School of Pharmacy class of 2017, visiting NCPA offices in Washington.

The National Community Pharmacists Association, previously known as the National Association of Retail Druggists, was founded in 1898 and currently represents 22,000 independent pharmacies nationwide. These pharmacies dispense almost 50 percent of the nation’s retail prescription medications.

As an organization, the NCPA is committed to independent pharmacies to provide the resources a pharmacist needs to own a successful pharmacy and to provide ideas for growth and innovation in the field.

Education and training programs are available to help independent pharmacy owners succeed, but that isn’t all. NCPA plays an active role in policy and advocacy efforts supporting legislations that benefit pharmacy owners and promote pharmacy provider status. With an office located minutes away from Washington, D.C., it is well-positioned to stay involved.

NCPA invited me to its 2017 Congressional Pharmacy Fly-In, which takes place April 26-27, to learn more about the advocacy process.

A nontraditional executive residency program at NCPA provides training for a lasting career in association management or independent pharmacy. I met with the current resident, Alexander Tu, who earned his Pharm.D. at Belmont University College of Pharmacy. He spends most of his time in the NCPA Innovation Center, where independent pharmacists seek consultation to determine how to implement new clinical services (pharmacogenomics, smoking cessation, HIV, etc.) within their pharmacies. The Innovation Center is also the “go-to” resource for pharmacists in all phases of ownership process.

Tu mentioned that the residency program provides a good work-life balance and networking opportunities to meet with other local executive residents (PQA, NACDS, APhA). His favorite part of the day is going into the office knowing there is always a new and exciting project to work on.

NCPA provides a lot of unique opportunities for students to get involved at the national level, such as competing in its  Business Plan Competition, the first national competition of its kind in the pharmacy profession, as well as leadership opportunities, local chapter involvement and a student newsletter.

Students who are interested in learning more about innovation and evolution in community pharmacy have the opportunity to complete an association managment rotation at the NCPA headquarters. The best time for the rotation is in July, when the NCPA resident and other local executive residents begin their training and tour the different organizations to get exposed to the pharmacy landscape (which students are also invited to attend).

I met with NCPA’s current rotation student, Cierra Goodwin, a 2017 Pharm.D. candidate from the Georgia Campus-Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She was able to provide more insight on what an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience, or rotation, can provide:

“The purpose of the NCPA rotation is to provide students with an experience that demonstrates the importance of a national pharmacy association to the profession, as well as provide students with the opportunity to become aware of the vast amount of opportunities that exist in independent pharmacy practice.

“During our time here at NCPA, we as students are given a host of projects that include writing articles, providing tips to NCPA members and business owners, and conducting NCPA employee interviews. Each of these assignments gives us the opportunity to learn more about the organization, be hands-on and contribute to the many projects that they are tackling, and allows us to get to know the people that we see and interact with every day. Through the interviews themselves, I have personally gotten so many invaluable life and professional tips and advice that I might not have gotten elsewhere.

“We also get plenty of opportunities to sit in on a few of the numerous meetings that take place during the day. During these meetings, we get to see a side of pharmacy that we do not get taught in school. We learn about the issues associations handle on our behalf every day and get to listen in on the potential solutions. There’s a huge learning opportunity concerning things that can have a direct impact on our careers as pharmacists. We get to see how participation with pharmacy associations can keep us informed and give us a voice.

“I’ve realized while being here that the importance of associations and the vast amount of work that they do wasn’t stressed enough in school. I think that a rotation like this can open a lot of eyes and also get more people to truly become active in their profession. NCPA in particular can also expose people to a world of independent pharmacy that people are often unaware of. I think many people have the idea that independent pharmacy is phasing away as a career option, and being here will show you that is surely not the case!

“My advice to any pharmacy student currently considering what electives to choose would be to choose something completely different than those rotations that are required and to also look for opportunities that may not currently be on the list that the school provides. As an example, I am the first person from my school to do a rotation with NCPA. It was one that I found out about at the annual conference, and I took the steps necessary to set it up. I think that by using your rotations to expand your horizons, you will get the chance to see the many opportunities that pharmacists have and potentially find a new interest or passion career-wise.”

You can contact Cierra Goodwin at I would like to thank her for taking the time out to share her experiences, and I am impressed with the initiative she took to make her rotation experiences unique and to see different aspects of the profession.

I feel fortunate to have not only interviewed the NCPA resident but also to visit NCPA’s business office, meet the director of student and professional affairs and committees, and learn more about the organization. I have always had the opinion that working in the independent pharmacy field can be challenging from the business aspect — figuring out how to run a business and make a profit — but it was made clear that NCPA walks pharmacists throughout that process to make it less daunting. It clears the gate so that pharmacists have the autonomy to develop innovative clinical pharmacy services to serve their patients and community.

Learn more about NCPA’s executive residency program.

Kalyann Kauv, 2015-16 president of the VCU School of Pharmacy chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, was on campus today to speak at SNPhA’s final general body meeting of the year.




Categories Preceptors, Residents, Student news, Student organizations