Pharmacy entrepreneur reveals perspectives on career success

SPOKANE, Wash. – Pharmacist Paul Thompson spoke with students in the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy program on Thursday, October 23, as part of the College of Pharmacy’s Preparing for Your Career in Pharmacy Seminar Series.

paul thompson with two students

Thompson was the fourth of five guest speakers on the lineup this fall to engage with student pharmacists regarding their vision of how the profession in evolving and the opportunities that exist for future pharmacists to succeed professionally. The seminar series was initiated by the WSU College of Pharmacy in 2012 to introduce student pharmacists to thought leaders and entrepreneurs who come to campus throughout the academic year and give insights on the opportunities available for future pharmacists to advance the pharmacy profession. The lunchtime lecture was sponsored by the Spokane Teacher’s Credit Union.

Thompson is the founder and CEO of Immunize RX, LLC, a health care company specializing in on-site vaccinations and health screening services. It is the largest pharmacist-driven on-site vaccination service in Washington state.

“Immunize RX has been successful because we provide a niche solution in a readily available package,” said Thompson. “Companies contract with us, we take it from there, and we are available wherever the need arises.”

Thompson is also the director of pharmacy for Navos Mental Health Solutions, a 70-bed psychiatric hospital located in Seattle, Washington. At Navos, he is involved in executive management, policy development, maintaining accreditation compliance, and also running the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) Program at the hospital for student pharmacists to gain professional pharmacy experience.

Thompson spoke to the crowd about what to expect when you graduate, how to be successful, and what makes a “good” pharmacist.

“Your presence and posture in front of your patients’ matters,” said Thompson. “Effective communication will make you a better care provider.”

It’s all about perspectives, said Thompson. Sometimes the expertise of the pharmacists gets reduced in the perception of the patient to what they don’t know. A pharmacist may know the MOA, ADME, and many other details about a medication, but if they are not familiar with something basic – like how to take the product out of the box and use it – then they don’t really look like an expert, said Thompson.

“But just because you don’t know, it is not a weakness as long as you’re motivated to learn,” said Thompson.

Thompson graduated from the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy program in 2005. He has held retail and long-term-care pharmacy positions throughout his career. He has also served as a principal investigator for multiple clinical trials, and assisted the managed-care plan modeling for the Washington State Healthcare Authority. Paul and his wife live in Lake Tapps, Washington, with their three kids.

PHOTO: Paul Thompson (left) interacts with WSU student pharmacists Jace Hovda (center) and Carl Manhart (right) before the Preparing for Your Career in Pharmacy seminar October 23, 2014.

[November 13, 2014] Lori J. Maricle