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Pharmacist: Whitney Culpepper

Pharmacy: Hoover Hometown Pharmacy

City, State: Hoover, Ala.

How many years have you been practicing as a pharmacist? I have been a practicing pharmacist for five years.

What led you to a career in independent community pharmacy?
I grew up in the small town of Fort Payne, Ala. I started working at an independent pharmacy as a cashier and then eventually as a technician while in high school. I instantly fell in love with pharmacy and how the local pharmacy was such a huge part of the community and really connected and helped their patients. I knew then that I eventually wanted to own my own store.

What makes your pharmacy stand out from the competition?
Our pharmacy is different because we take time to get to know each patient. The one thing I learned from my pharmacy job in high school is that the pharmacist took the time to get to know each patient by name and not only them but their family members as well. At Hoover Hometown Pharmacy, we really care about each patient. It isn't just a quick interaction. We want to check in our patients, see how they are doing, know what's going on in their personal lives. We sponsor local sports teams and charities and really want to be a part of the community. We also provide a variety of services including immunizations (including travel vaccinations), adherence counseling and packaging, blood pressure monitoring and free delivery.

What are your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenge is the reimbursement rates. It's a constant battle with PBMs. If not for them, I wouldn't have a complaint!

Describe a recent, rewarding experience with a patient:
Recently, I had a patient come into my pharmacy just to tell me thank you. She needed assistance the Friday before and her doctor's office was closed and recommended that she go to the ER. Instead, her husband called me and came to the pharmacy, and I helped them the best that I could. Days like that day are why I love being a community pharmacist! It's was such a blessing to me to hear that I had helped in some small way.

How has NCPA helped your business?
NCPA has helped me meet and network with some of the most successful pharmacists in the country. Nowhere else can you get so much knowledge from so many successful pharmacists! Probably my favorite thing that NCPA offers is the Ownership Workshop. I completed this once during pharmacy school and then again as a resident, and it is fantastic. The speakers are so knowledgeable, and I highly recommend this program if you are considering buying or opening a new pharmacy.