Complete Story

New Practitioner Experience News Fall 2019

Npx Logo Only

OPA New Practitioner Experience (NPX) Launchpad

Fall 2019

Welcome to the NPX Launchpad

Welcome to the NPX Launchpad, the quarterly newsletter intended to help you, new practitioners, excel personally and professionally.

Check out our featured articles:

We hope you enjoy the NPX Launchpad and we invite each of you to take the next step in your professional growth by getting involved with NPX today!

Sincerely, your NPX Advisory Committee,

ChairDana Wilkerson, PharmD, MS
Vice-Chair: Kristine Mason, PharmD, MS
Member-at-Large: Emily Eddy, PharmD
Member-at-Large: Lindsay Tsai, PharmD
Member-at-Large: Marilee Clemons, PharmD
Launchpad Coordinator: Lauren Castle, PharmD

Nominations needed for OPA Emerging Pharmacy Leaders Conference (November 25 Deadline)

Practitioner Profile

Lauren Castle

Lauren Castle, R.Ph., PharmD

What’s your current position?
Market Health and Wellness Director for Walmart

What year and from where did you graduate?
2013 Ohio Northern University

Tell us a little bit about your practice site. 
As a Market Health and Wellness Director, I oversee the operations of ten Walmart pharmacies and ten vision centers in the Dayton area. It had been my dream job since I was an intern in pharmacy school, and helped me realize the importance of setting 5 year goals to strive to achieve. Here’s to the next goal!

How long have you been an OPA member? What’s been your best experience so far?
I’ve been an OPA member since I graduated in 2013, but I’ve been attending the OPA Annual Conference since I was a student. My favorite experience so far was competing in and winning first place in the inaugural year of the Innovative Business Plan Competition!

What’s been your favorite moment of your career so far?
Attending Walmart Shareholders Meeting this summer! Being featured in our Walmart World magazine was really cool too.

What’s the best career advice you’ve offered or been given?

[Continue Reading...]

Professional PearlsAna Simonyan

5 Ways to be a Pharmacy Boss in a New City
By Ana Simonyan, R.Ph., PharmD

As both a PGY-1 and PGY-2 resident, I made a leap to move hundreds of miles away from my hometown in St. Louis, Missouri. Navigating moving to a new city, new friends, and new professional hobbies has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve encountered thus far. Like many pharmacists across the country who embark on the journey of residency or a full-time pharmacist job in a new place, I met the challenge with mixed emotions. How would I be able to feel at home, both personally and professionally, in a city where I didn’t know anyone? Better yet, how exciting is it that I have a chance to expand my network of friends and colleagues? I hope to offer some 5 real-life points of wisdom to speed up the process of settling in. These are tried and true methods that I have found to be successful myself. I hope that wherever you are in your journey that you can feel encouraged by this new chapter of your life and feel invigorated by the opportunities ahead!

1. Go on mini adventures

Check out new restaurants, museums, concerts, food truck Fridays… and invite your co-workers! It’ll help you get to know the area and open you up to all the fun things that may be near you. I try to walk as much as I can on the weekends and stop at local coffee shops or other smaller stores to tell them I am new to the area. I usually ask what their favorite activities or restaurants are in the neighborhood. Some of my favorite weekend events in the area I live in now are the various types of festivals and outdoor concerts during the summertime! I’d highly encourage you to check out Facebook or other social media to see what other fun events are happening near you. Try to convince some of your co-residents and co-workers to come with you!

2. Join a young professionals club (or a local new practitioner chapter of a pharmacy organization in your state)

[Continue Reading...]

Rx Impact

By Cameron Perisutti, PharmD Candidate 2020
University of Toledo

Patient care is a rewarding part of being a pharmacist. Whether it is teaching a patient how to use their inhalers, how to separate medications, or explaining the error code on their blood glucose meter, pharmacy professionals meet patient specific educational needs in the most accessible way. It is not infrequent to witness a patient come into the pharmacy only to become frustrated or confused. As we know, most problems are solved by a simple call to a doctor’s office, insurance company, or nearby pharmacy. However, my favorite moment at CVS was unlike others and involved hands-on problem-solving.

While I was working, an elderly woman came into the pharmacy incredibly excited waving around a booklet in her hand.

[Continue Reading...]

Money MattersNate Hedrick

By Nate Hedrick, PharmD
10 Tips when Buying Your First or Forever Home

The following post was written by Nate Hedrick, PharmD., a 2013 graduate of Ohio Northern University. By day, he works as a clinical pharmacist for the sales team at Medical Mutual. By night, he works with pharmacist investors in Cleveland, Ohio – buying, flipping, selling, and renting homes as a licensed real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway. This experience has led to the creation of YFP’s Real Estate Concierge Services, a one-stop shop for getting you on the right track toward buying or selling your next home.

My wife and I met on a blind date in pharmacy school. We were set up by a mutual friend and despite an impending snowstorm and an exam I really should have been studying for, we went out to our local Mexican restaurant and had a fantastic time. We were crazy for going out in that blizzard and my transcripts can attest to the fact that I should have spent more time studying. Despite the risks, we made it home in one piece, I passed that exam (with a C), and I ended up meeting my best friend that night.

We made that date work despite nature and other obligations working against us.

Now, over 7 years later, we are blessed with two darling baby girls, a goofy dog, a wonderful home… and a mountain of debt.

Pharmacy school is expensive. So are homes. (So are dogs and kids come to think of it.) Looking back, our blind date is actually a great analogy for our early financial life together. We bought our first home pretty much the same way we handled our first date. We were jumping in with both feet regardless of other obligations. I had just finished residency, our friends and family owned homes, and we were tired of the “temporary feeling” we had from renting. We were driving out into that blizzard despite what the weather report said.

[Continue Reading for 10 Tips when Buying Your First or Forever Home...]

A Taste of Our Kitchen

Buffalo Chicken Dip
From the Kitchen of Breanna Duff, PharmD Candidate 2020
Northeast Ohio Medical University

Breanna Duff

Looking for a quick and easy recipe this fall? When I was a student at Ohio University, this was an easy recipe during my busy class schedule to bring tailgating.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Prep time: 10 minutes                 Total time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cans chunk chicken drained
  • 2 packages cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • ¾ cupper pepper sauce such as Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through.
  2. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm.
  3. Mix in most of the shredded cheese and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until hot and bubbly.
  5. If cooking in the oven, add to a 450-degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Serve with celery sticks, chips, or crackers

Ohio Days

The Greatest Free Show on Earth
By Mickie Blevins

Many folks in Columbus have most likely driven down U.S. Route 23. If you head far enough south, about 25 miles or so, you may notice something strange in the distance… a small town with a bright orange “pumpkin” water tower gleaming behind it. The town is Circleville, my hometown, and the home of the Greatest Free Show on Earth, The Circleville Pumpkin Show. Every year on the 3rd Wednesday in October, more than 8 blocks of the city’s main streets are filled with over 300 food booths, vendors, and 25-30 amusement rides for all ages. The small 12,000-person community welcomes over 400,000 guests each year over the 4-day event to eat their way through various pumpkin delicacies including pumpkin burgers, doughnuts, pizza, waffles, and much more. With band concerts, contests, the giant pumpkin weigh-in, craft demonstrations, and 7 different parades with various themes, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. From the world’s largest pumpkin pie, to the local arts and crafts, to over 100,000 pounds of pumpkins, squash, and gourds on display, the Circleville Pumpkin Show is a truly unique experience.

News & Upcoming Events

November 14: Pharmacist Training Program for Long-Acting Injectables

November 15: Live Webinar: Required OSHA Training for Immunizing Pharmacists

February 12: APhA’s Delivering MTM Services Certificate Training Program

Save the Date! April 3-5, 2020: OPA Annual Conference & Trade Show

Committee Liaison Reports

OPA Board of Trustees Meeting (Oct 17)
Written by: 
Courtney Myers, R.Ph., PharmD, BCGP

The OPA House of Delegates serves as the legislative and policy-making body of the Association, with the Board of Trustees in full control and charge of the business of the Association between Annual Meetings. The Board of Trustees typically meets four times a year.  The Board is composed of the Executive Committee, one elected representative from each District and one student member from each Ohio college/school of pharmacy. At the October 17, 2019 meeting, the Board discussed legislative, economic, and professional issues; and heard reports from the treasurer, the president, the executive director, the Fellow, the students, the Ohio Pharmacists Foundation, the Member Services Committee, the Ad Hoc Committee on Work Force Issues, and the New Practitioner Experience.

Much of the discussion centered on the forming and direction of the Ad Hoc Committee on Provider Status Implementation. Committee members were selected from different sectors of pharmacy practice throughout the state to move this goal forward. In addition, OPA staff was expanded to help facilitate and guide this initiative. OPA is currently involved in discussions with various health plans about the utilization of pharmacists as providers, as well as setting up pilot studies with various pharmacies in diverse areas of the practice. Research into other states' scope of practice is being conducted to identify opportunities to explore in Ohio. During the meeting, outside stakeholder Marty Schladen, a reporter from The Columbus Dispatch, discussed the reporting process, how the Side Effects series was developed, and invited board members to help identify additional concerns and examples of issues encountered with pharmacists providing good patient care. Implementation of the 2019 Long Range Planning session was also reviewed, with Board member input, to propel the profession of pharmacy forward.

The next Board meeting will be held in January before the House of Delegates meeting (April 3, 2020) during the OPA 142nd Annual Conference and Trade Show (April 3-5).

Member Services Committee (Oct 3)
Liaison: Christine Prusa

This is a great committee! Anyone looking to join a committee that has great discussions and your opinion/insight can shape decisions should join the Member Services and Development Committee!

At this meeting early conversation focused around how we accurately share our story of why we are members to those RPhs who do not choose to be members. Excited about the service campaign running the entire month of October as a way to communicate ways RPhs serve and how OPA supports those efforts and passions. Nominations were considered for OPA Awards. Awards recipients were selected by the committee.

Resolutions & Bylaws Committee (Oct 24)
Liaison: Shea Swick

The focus of the committee was to review the resolution proposal process, and to establish a plan for 2019-2020 resolution solicitations.  A resolution could be an idea or belief related to our profession that OPA, as a whole, can support and promote.  A resolution may also be a proposed change to association procedures or bylaws.  Once the Resolution & Bylaws Committee accepts a proposed resolution, it is passed on to the House of Delegates at OPA Annual with either a recommendation to pass or deny.  See an example of a passed resolution from 2018-2019: 

Whereas, technicians-checking-technicians means they will be supervised remotely, and a pharmacist will not be physically present to give advice and answer patient questions; and whereas, technicians cannot conduct direct patient care; be it resolved, that the Ohio Pharmacists Association oppose the use of technicians in any “tech-check-tech” scenario in community or ambulatory pharmacies.  

There are calls for resolution submissions in the September and November Ohio Pharmacist journals, and there will be additional requests for resolutions in the Newsline, as well as via social media platforms.  The deadline for 2019-2020 resolution proposals is 2/19/20- Make your voice heard today!

Practice Advancement & Innovation Committee (Oct 10)
Liaison: Kelsey Schmuhl

The Practice Advancement and Innovation Committee met on October 10, 2019 to continue working on the committee’s goals and projects for 2019-2020.  Legislatively, OPA is focused on continuing its work with PBM reform and the implementation of provider status.  A provider status task force has been established and is working tirelessly to make provider status a reality.  OPA is also working with the Ohio State Medical Association on creating a “co-prescribing” pathway between physicians and pharmacists (e.g. a pharmacist would be allowed to initiate a prescription for diabetic testing supplies if the physician sent a prescription for insulin and forgot supplies) as well as expansion of the collaborative practice law to include nurse practitioners and physician assistants.  If you are working with physicians or other non-pharmacists providers that would be willing to support these efforts, please reach out to Antonio Ciaccia. 

Our next meeting will be in February 2020. Until then, a couple of important dates to keep in mind:

  • February 17, 2020 – Deadline to nominate a pharmacist for the 2020 OPA Under 40

Pharmacy Economics Committee (Oct 15)
Liaison: Andrew Faiella

The Pharmacy Economics Committee on October 15 started with an update on PBM reforms in the Ohio Medicaid program. The Columbus Dispatch continues to report updates on the progress of reforms implemented and state officials continue to look at reforming PBMs. Also, discussed during this portion of the meeting is how the Ohio Department of Medicaid is still deciding on how it was going to allocate the $100 million increase in dispensing fees that was included in the most recent state budget.

The second item on the agenda was an update on progress with provider status implementation. Topics discussed included the need to train pharmacists on how to utilize billing codes and the requirements for pharmacist credentialing on a state level. Also, discussed was how Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is continuing to explore ways to get pharmacists better integrated into providing more services to their patient population.  The next topic of discussion was an update on how DIR Fees continue to negatively affect community pharmacies. Both Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have been urging DIR reform; however, there is no clear timetable on when the reforms may take place.

The final major topic of discussion was work force issues. One area of discussion was continued reports of low pharmacist job satisfaction and the future possibility of tech check tech. The tech check tech discussion revolved around how other states have implemented it and what are the lessons learned from their legislation.

All meetings are held at the OPA office, 2674 Federated Blvd, Columbus 43235 at 10:00 am unless otherwise noted. Please visit the OPA committee webpage for more information.

Get Involved with the Launchpad Newsletter

Help us write the next newsletter!  Articles may be submitted for Practitioner Profile, Professional Pearls, Rx Impact, Ohio Days, or A Taste of Our Kitchen. Have an idea for another article relevant to new practitioners? You can submit that as well! 

Sign up for upcoming articles on our Google Doc Here.

Articles should be submitted in a Word document to Lauren Castle.  Photographs for articles should be submitted as attachments for higher quality images. Thank you!

Printer-Friendly Version