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Sep 22, 2017

Building Your Pharmacy Career – Pharmacy Podcast Series part II

Sponsored by CVS Health Careers: 

Millions of times a day, pharmacists are helping people on their path to better health—from advising on prescriptions to helping manage chronic and specialty conditions. Because pharmacists are present in so many moments, big and small, they have an active, supportive role in shaping the future of health care.

Today’s interview is with CVS Health Careers Papatya Tankut, R.Ph. Vice President, Pharmacy Affairs at CVS Health. 

Where my career began and how it advanced through the years

  • I am a 1994 graduate of the University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy with a B.S. in Pharmacy
  • I have been working for CVS Health (CVS Pharmacy) ever since I graduated from Pharmacy School – 23 years ago
  • My career began as a pharmacist in the Washington Metro area, and soon transitioned to a pharmacy manager
  • After four and a half years directly serving patients, I was promoted to a field management role, Manager, Professional and College Relations. In that role, I was responsible for recruiting and hiring pharmacists and interns for our stores in the Washington Metro and Central Pennsylvania markets – building relationships with the area schools of pharmacy and the professional associations.
  • Five years into that position, I was approached to interview for the Director of Pharmacy Recruiting position, located in the corporate office in Woonsocket, RI. My responsibilities involved owning the recruitment strategy for the organization at a time when CVS was heavily focused on acquiring many large retail competitors (Eckerd, Savon/Osco, Longs)
  • In 2005, having 1 year under my belt in the corporate office, I was approached to take on a newly created role of Vice President, Pharmacy Professional Services.
    • This position encompassed many challenging facets of the professional side of pharmacy – recruitment of pharmacist and interns, clinical services, quality assurance and patient safety, regulatory compliance and professional practice standards.
  • Since moving to the corporate office, I also had the unique opportunity of being media trained and serving as a spokesperson for key pharmacy issues affecting our business and industry
  • At the end of 2013, after having spent my entire pharmacy career in Pharmacy Operations, I was asked to consider a position in Corporate Communications as the Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs, the role I hold today. This role initially began as responsibility for establishing and deepening the Company’s relationships with non-profit, governmental and other health-based organizations to raise awareness of the many ways CVS Health is helping people on their path to better health. Today, it has continued to evolve into managing our company’s Corporate Communications Public Affairs strategy through position CVS Health as a relevant leader in the health care landscape expanding our influence with the policymaker audience all with the intent of enhancing the company’s visibility and marketplace.
  • Finally, in August 2016 I also assumed the ownership and management of our Corporate Meetings and Events Department.

As the profession of pharmacy and the landscape continues to evolve and change, the opportunities and career tracks for pharmacists have significantly progressed too

  • More than a decade or so ago, it was customary for pharmacists to generally choose from 2 to 3 career tracks – community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy or continued education through residency programs.
  • Today, a pharmacist’s career path is endless. Many pharmacists take advantage of the traditional frontline pharmacist roles, while others have the ability to venture into field and areas of healthcare where a pharmacist role is important.
  • Pharmacists are an integral part of the healthcare delivery system where their medication and drug expertise are critical, their ability to educate and influence around immunizations and opioids are imperative to public health and their presence in the community is paramount.
  • With the years of training and preparedness, pharmacists are playing a very important role in helping people on their path to better health – whether it’s on the frontline or in management or consultant roles.

Working for CVS Health feels like the opportunity to explore and work for many different companies – all under one roof. The opportunities are truly endless

  • A pharmacist at CVS Health is a pharmacist with endless opportunities.
  • Many graduating students will begin their career as a pharmacist at CVS Health – whether it’s in the retail pharmacies, at a specialty pharmacy or at one of our mail order facilities.
  • The roles and responsibilities vary and colleagues have the opportunity to explore different workplace settings throughout their career
  • In addition to the practicing pharmacist roles, many corporate departments across the organization are led by or include pharmacists on their teams. Some are more tradition than others.
    • Pharmacy Operations, Store Operations, Regulatory, Legal and Government Affairs, Underwriting and Contracting, Clinical Operations, Marketing, Merchandising, Corporate Communications, Human Resources, and Government Services to name a few
  • With the many business units at CVS Health, pharmacists can have a career that spans from ‘Cradle to Grave’, feeling like a new opportunity each time. Working in a retail store is very different than a management position, which is very different that working for our Omnicare or MinuteClinic divisions.

Having a sound education, being open to new opportunities and willing to take risks is key to success in Pharmacy and CVS Health is certainly a company to help you get there

  • CVS Health is a great place to start your career and a great place to end your career
  • Many times, pharmacists are asked why they chose pharmacy as a career– and the answer is always the same – to have the opportunity to take care of patients. That’s the most rewarding part of the profession.
  • Being a CVS pharmacist in the many 100+ different positions and roles that are available provides that gratification and send of accomplishment
  • Opportunities are sometimes a clear fit for a pharmacist, and other times they require the individual to assume some risk and work in a white space area
  • With all scenarios, the organization is ready to walk with you as you take the next step in your desired career path.