A rural pharmacy operating on a scale that puts some big metropolitan pharmacies in the shade is what greets interns on rotation at Wizard Pharmacy Kalgoorlie Central.
And although 600km from the nearest capital city of Perth, the scale of the rural pharmacy’s operations can be an eye-opener.
“We frequently take on both rotation students and interns as they are an invaluable asset to our business and if we can inspire them to be the best pharmacists they can be and to practise in a country setting, we feel like we have also helped the profession as well.”
Proprietor Elise Wheadon said interns who came to the pharmacy often did not realise just how dynamic rural pharmacy can be.
“They often haven’t seen the broad range of services that we provide because we cater for such a large and diverse population,” Mrs Wheadon said.
“Compared with their other rotations they find their time with us to be unique and they are impressed and energised by it.
“It opens their eyes as to what community pharmacy can offer both patients and pharmacists. They gain valuable insight into Section 100 Aboriginal Health and the services the pharmacy can provide in indigenous communities.”
Mrs Wheadon said the scale of operations at the pharmacy also surprised many of the interns.
“Dose administration aids are good example. Most of the interns who come to us have only seen pharmacies that prepare low numbers compared to our pharmacy servicing 600 plus patients.
“They are amazed by the efficiencies we have had to implement to be able to operate on the scale we do.”
Another area that impressed was the number of services provided through the pharmacy.
“We are committed to cater for everyone in the communities we serve,” she said.
“We introduce services strategically as core components of our business and this had proven to be a very successful approach.
“Sleep apnoea services are an integral part of our business and we invest heavily in ensuring we have exceptionally trained staff.”
Mrs Wheadon said the pharmacy’s flu vaccination service also was very popular and this year the pharmacy had delivered 1000 vaccinations in just two months.
“WA experienced a deadly flu season and we actively engaged with local businesses to reduce the impact on the region,” she said.
“We worked cooperatively with our local doctors and with the pharmacy immunising at such a level it allowed them help patients who contracted influenza.”
The strong relationship with doctors extends to other health professionals in the area.
“We have learnt the more connections between health providers, the better the outcomes for patients and the more effective and appropriate continuation of care can be engaged.
“We have a strong emphasis on creating and maintaining alliances with health organisations to potentially further our service offering and increase revenue streams for business expansion.”
She stressed that not only providing services that customers needed was important, but also that customer service was recognised as the most important aspect of the business.
“All of this combines to ensure customers continue to return and new customers choose Wizard Kalgoorlie Central as their preferred pharmacy,” Mrs Wheadon said.
“Great customer service directly correlates to increased sales and the continuation of learning and development of staff is key.”
Delivering the highest possible customer service meant comprehensive staff training was vital.
“Despite being 600km from Perth we are committed to training and invest heavily as we see that as a major component of our future growth and success,” Mrs Wheadon said.
“Internally we use an online platform - WizzTraining - developed by Wizard Pharmacy Services. This provides consistent training across product, condition and brand standards.
“We also have introduced live streamed training sessions and increased the use of webinars. Not everything can be done online so on other occasions we fly a facilitator to Kalgoorlie or send our team members to Perth.”
“We have implemented a customer service program adapted for pharmacy called Customer Success, which was developed with retail consultants and Wizard Pharmacy Services.
“The program aims to give staff more confidence in a sales environment to increase dialogue with patients, uncovering and addressing their needs to enhance the customer experience.”