Pharmacy students put on the dress shirt or blouse and show up early, ready to learn the glorious work of the corporate pharmacist. They bring the resume, their laptop, and notepad primed and eager to learn how to lead, manage, and save lives.

But they soon find that they are stuck in the corner counting by fives and re-stocking the shelves.

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We’ve all been in that situation. Feeling neglected and underestimated as a professional. We have to step up, kiss feet, and prove ourselves in order to get respect or even a job.

That’s the rite of passage an intern in any profession must face, right?

Nothing can be further from the truth.

Pharmacy internships are exactly like job interviews. And like any interview, the candidate and interviewer both have an equal stake in the match-making process.

It’s not the employer or preceptor that has all the power because the true corporate leaders all know that amazing talent is hard to find and hold onto.

If we want to attract and work with the best talent, we must first start treating pharmacist interns as we would guests in our own homes. As we change the way we see them, their disposition will change accordingly.

We know that the quick-witted and resourceful pharmacy student is going to be an agile learner who can adapt to new situations.

The student who answers the phone (but doesn’t know how to use the computer system yet), will one day demonstrate courage in the face of any adversity.

The overly-punctual, hard-working pharmacist intern who is ten times more stressed out than the paid staff will be a hungry corporate achiever.

All these high-potential leaders who have such amazing capabilities add so much value to add to our company. How could we ever fathom stowing them away from the limelight? What gives us the right to keep them from exercising their potential and treat them like unworthy peddlers?

Students are NOT free labor; they are the future of our profession, our soon-to-be colleagues, maybe even our future supervisors.

Pharmacy students are an investment that take time to mold. They require creativity and patience. Our investment ONLY pay off in dividends once they become successful in their careers.

Treat the pharmacist intern with respect. Hold them in high esteem. Lastly, acknowledge their potential. This not only shows that we have humility, but also that we can be trusted to lead them.

When our students trust us wholeheartedly, they fully invest in their internship and development. They are all in, and they give us the world.

That, my fellow Corporate PharmD’s, is the most rewarding experience a mentor can have.

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Business Tips from The Corporate PharmD

  • Treat pharmacist interns like guests in your own home – guests don’t clean or do dishes
  • Adding the intern as another body at production will only weaken your team and set the wrong expectations later
  • Take time to invest in your student, and it will pay off – but only if they succeed in their careers
  • Be serious about being an amazing preceptor, and your intern will be serious about being an amazing Corporate PharmD

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