BOSTON — Supervalu Pharmacies, Franklin Park, Ill., is expanding the number of stores where pharmacy students can gain field experience, said Janeen Winnike, director of recruiting and college relations.
The company is providing 200 sites to colleges and universities this year and will expand to 240 in 2008, Winnike told SN.
She spoke on the topic here this month during the Pharmacy & Technology Conference of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Alexandria, Va.
This is in response to new Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education standards that became effective July 1, but it also brings students into contact with Supervalu, while providing the company's personnel, usually pharmacists, with an opportunity to give something back to the profession, she said.
These Supervalu staff members act as preceptors, a mentoring role for supervising and guiding students in the program, Winnike said. The length of time students are with Supervalu depends on school requirements, but it is usually four to six weeks, she said.
“The value of precepting students to Supervalu is twofold: It exposes students to career opportunities within our company, but most importantly, if gives our associates a chance to give back and mentor the future of the profession,” Winnike said.
Coming to supermarket locations, the students also get to see more directly how food and nutrition relate to pharmacy, particularly to such conditions as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, she said.
Some students are surprised at the number of customers who don't know how to read a label, she noted.
One change to the program in the past year is that students are being given field experience earlier in the course of their pharmacy education, many in their first, second or third year, Winnike said.
With more pharmacy schools and students today, as well as students coming to retail pharmacies earlier in their academic training, “we will continue to increase our number of sites to accommodate the profession,” she said.