Clearwater Pharmacy
Clearwater, KS

10 - Clearwater Pharmacy - PH

Receive Top Notch Customer Service and Meet ‘Rosie the Rabbiter’ at Clearwater Pharmacy!

Nancy Milledge recently celebrated the grand opening of Clearwater Pharmacy in Kansas. She’s always known she was destined to be a pharmacist and is living out her dream of independent pharmacy ownership. Clearwater Pharmacy has an extra special unique feature, a 13 lb. therapy rabbit named ‘Rosie’ who is happy to interact with patients and make their day. We recently spoke with Nancy about the history of her store and how she got into pharmacy ownership.

IPC:

How did you get involved with the stores and what’s your pharmacy background in general?

Nancy:

“My experience in pharmacy began with being the local ‘soda jerk’ at an independent pharmacy in a small town. I did that at the end of grade school and into high school. While I was there a local female pharmacist took over the store, began running it and provided service to the local community. It was a natural fit for me, there was never really a time where I pictured myself doing anything but being a pharmacist.

Straight out of pharmacy school I managed a chain and moved my way through a variety of opportunities. I worked at a medical office building pharmacy owned by the local hospital, then I moved back home and worked for independent pharmacy. I then transitioned into a small community regional hospital and after that I moved to the metro area down in Wichita and worked at one of the bigger hospitals. Things began to become more corporate, so I moved back to a local chain management again.

After the local chain closed, three independent pharmacists came to me and let me know there was a need for new ownership, especially in Clearwater. They asked me to join them and open an independent pharmacy in the town. That was a little over three years ago today and I just took over ownership of that pharmacy. I’m happy to be where I am, and I love what I do!”

IPC:

Is Clearwater a small town?

Nancy:

“Clearwater has a population of about 2,500, much like my hometown. It’s rural but near the metro area. There is some local competition, there are some big chain stores within about 12 miles. A lot of the Medicare plans have preferred customer owned stores that they work with so that does create competition. Within the actual town of Clearwater there’s no other independents.

“The customers become your family and it’s rewarding. We’re here to provide care for people and when we can do that it’s worth it.”

The community supports local business and values the personal support, but they also have to remain conscious of their finances, so sometimes the chains win out from us.”

IPC:

What would you say the biggest benefits are of working in independent pharmacy?

Nancy:

“The customers become your family and it’s rewarding. We’re here to provide care for people and when we can do that it’s worth it. The relationships and the interactions are so valuable. We can be there for them when they don’t know quite where else to turn. When you can help patients and provide a positive outcome, that’s the best part.

Independents have the benefit of not being locked into the rules that the chains often impose. We can make decisions that are best for the patient even if it’s not the best financial decision for the store. You have the capability to make those decisions within the legal boundaries and do your best for the patient.”

IPC:

Can you tell me more about the store itself?

Nancy:

“We have a very small but efficient store, it’s myself and my technician. I was blessed to find her, and it’s been amazing since she started in February. We both have the same approach about doing what’s right for the patient. When you have a pleasant and positive work environment the patients can feel that atmosphere.

We have a small OTC section, but we don’t carry gifts or anything like that. It’s primarily prescription products.”

“One of the really unique things about our store, that we are becoming known for within the community of Clearwater, is that we have a resident therapy rabbit that I own.”

IPC:

Are there any special services you’d like to highlight about your stores?

Nancy:

“One of the really unique things about our store, that we are becoming known for within the community of Clearwater, is that we have a resident therapy rabbit that I own. Her name is ‘Rosie the Rabbiter’ and she’s a 13 lb. Flemish Giant. She has a pen at the store and goes to work with me in the morning and home with me at night. She is a registered therapy rabbit, and volunteers at the local VA hospice unit and long-term care unit. I’m also getting connected with the local Children’s hospital and the memory care unit, so she can make visits there as well. The children love to come in and pet Rosie, and the older patients love her as well. It’s been a very positive thing for the patients, they come in and interact with her and bring her treats. It’s heartwarming to see how people react to her. She is a huge rabbit, but she is very laid back and welcoming. This particular breed is known for that and is often used in therapy for PTSD victims, they just enjoy laying around, being petted and getting attention.”

IPC:

What would you say is your biggest challenge as an independent pharmacist?

Nancy:

“It’s hard to educate the public about what goes on with healthcare behind the scenes. Some of the things that they don’t always know about that goes on with the insurance companies, the claw backs and the DIR fees and the fact that we do get locked out of participating in certain contracts. No business can make an operation thrive in a small town when they can’t even recoup the cost of the medication. That happens so much more often than people realize.”

IPC:

Have you been happy overall with your relationship with IPC?

Nancy:

“It’s been great, I’ve enjoyed working with the employees and poking around on the website. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”