Behind-the-scenes internship provides student pharmacists with corporate view

As the role of the pharmacist continues to evolve, student pharmacists at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy prepare for all possibilities. For the summer of 2013, 62 second- and third-year professional student pharmacists, more than one third of the two-class total, participated in internships with hospitals, research labs and community pharmacies.

Two third-year professional student pharmacists spent their summer at the corporate headquarters at H-E-B, known as the Arsenal, in San Antonio.

H-E-B pharmacy has a summer internship program for first-year student pharmacists where interns practice at regional stores.

“We have about 30 to 50 interns across Texas,” said Jose Cervantes, Pharm.D., clinical manager of pharmacy professional services. “Once they complete this internship, students are qualified to apply for the second-year internship. This program exposes them to all the different aspects of corporate pharmacy.”

inBrittany L. Bateman of Boerne, Texas, and Jacquelynn D. Sosa of Corpus Christi, Texas, participated in a six-week corporate second-year internship with H-E-B. They focused on patient-care programs, including immunizations, health screenings, medication therapy management and disease state management.

They shared their experiences on Nov. 26 with the first- and second-year professional student pharmacists in the Day in the Life of an Intern.

Today, pharmacists roles have been changing to provide patient care to residents in need.

Bateman and Sosa provided immunizations and patient-care information to H-E-B partners at Health Expos. In addition, they were trained for medication therapy management to provide that service to employees and patients.

“Corporate pharmacy is very different,” Bateman said. “We learned even more ways to apply our education. It was so exciting to see what other paths pharmacy could take.”

Student pharmacists were exposed to operations, learned ways to measure pharmacy managers, watched supply chain management, and worked with the technology team.

“The interns worked on dispensing system testing, where they made sure it works before it was sent to the stores,”

Cervantes said, who has been with H-E-B since November 2009, and who graduated from the University of Texas at the School of Pharmacy in 2008. Cervantes said it is important for students, especially students interested in retail or community pharmacy, to see the behind-the-scenes management of pharmacy.

“This will help me be a better pharmacy manager,” Sosa said. “It also helped us with networking and I feel like we made an impact in the short time we were there.”

The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy will be providing an avenue for student pharmacists to begin their career at the Intern Recruitment Fair in February 2014, where many pharmacies searching for interns will interview candidates.