As the most accessible healthcare providers, community pharmacists play an important role in the healthcare system and the lives of their patients. This American Pharmacists Month, we’re celebrating their contributions by highlighting a few pharmacists making a difference in their communities.
Read the other Q&As in this series with:
- Liz Altmiller, Your Drug Store
- Bruce Schreiber, C.O. Bigelow
- Chris Halko, Benton Pharmacy
- Chris Proffit, Uptown Drug
Name: Nicolette Mathey
Pharmacy: Palm Harbor Pharmacy in Palm Harbor, Florida
Q. How long have you been a pharmacist (and at your current pharmacy)?
A. I’ve been a pharmacist for just over nine years, and have been in the industry starting as a technician for 19 years. I bought Palm Harbor Pharmacy a little over two years ago. My “day job” is, and has been for the past five years, a full-time independent pharmacy business and strategy consultant. I’ve been working really hard on my latest project, a solo consulting venture called ATRIUM24, and plan to launch it publicly in the near future.
Q. Why did you choose this career path?
A. When I was 16, I read a newspaper article about the community pharmacists’ role and was intrigued. My parents both own their businesses, so I knew I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My first job was as a shampoo girl at my mom’s hair salon at age 14, and I loved the business side! When I turned 16, I got a job at our local Walgreens as a cashier and worked my way into the pharmacy. When I turned 18, I became a Certified Pharmacy Technician. After graduating high school, I went right into undergrad studies with the goal to fulfill the PharmD program’s prerequisites, and then started graduate school at the University of Florida. From there I graduated in 2010 and became Pharmacy Manager during the opioid epidemic. I began to specialize in Transitions of Care and Bedside Delivery, and was recruited by a hospital chain in 2012 to open and operate pharmacies on their campuses. This was a great education in pharmacy ownership with someone else’s money! In 2014, I began consulting full time with a large national firm and have been loving helping pharmacy owners ever since.
“The days of dispensing and playing the volume game are over, and only those who take a forward-thinking approach in how to branch out into their communities will thrive.”
Q. What is your favorite part of your job?
A. My favorite part of the job is helping people with complex problems. I have a hard time saying “job.” What I do is so much more than my job; it consumes me, giving me joy, passion, and angst, usually all at the same time! Whether I’m helping patients with chronic health conditions and intricate insurance benefits, or on the consulting side, helping entrepreneurs try to navigate this challenging landscape, I enjoy every day’s unique obstacles and opportunities. Pharmacy’s science and clinical components are intriguing, but my passion lies with building and growing businesses.
Q. What are some industry trends you’re keeping an eye on?
A. PBMs are changing the rules with more and more frequency. The biggest industry trend I focus on is adaptability and a constant focus on how to apply the rules of the game to your business so that you can continue to grow and find new niches. Providers are feeling the squeeze as well, so going out into the community with well-made materials that show the provider why they should send their patients to you is a trend that sets pharmacy owners up for success. My pharmacy thrives on this B2B type relationship.
Q. What do you think the future holds for the industry?
A. The future holds more PBM changes. This will force pharmacy owners to diversify their business and rely on technology to differentiate themselves from the “old way” of practicing community pharmacy. We need to focus on cash business such as nutrient depletion, supplement subscriptions, clinical testing and teaching, wellness and prevention, alternative therapies, community partnerships with other wellness-focused entities, all while running our PBM side of the business very strategically with up-to-date intel and innovative prescriber protocols for each specialty. The days of dispensing and playing the volume game are over, and only those who take a forward-thinking approach in how to branch out into their communities will thrive.