Pharmacist Spotlight: William Anderson
This month’s spotlight features William Anderson of Orchards Drug in Lawrence, Kan. Will shares why he decided to become an independent pharmacy owner and some of the goals that he has for his new patients in the Lawrence community.
When did you realize that you wanted to become a pharmacist?
Growing up, I always wanted to be a medical doctor. Unfortunately, I pass out when I see blood. On the floor. Every time.
I found pharmacy during my freshman year in college and it was a no-brainer for me. I could still be in the medical field and help make people healthier without all the blood and guts. I thought the hours would be better too, though in hindsight I may have been mistaken.
What made you want to become an independent pharmacy owner?
I have been entrepreneurial for as long as I can remember. I tried to start a lawn mowing service in elementary school that failed completely. I’m going to blame it on poor marketing strategy since I was only 8. Other small ventures in high school did succeed and I loved it.
For me, entrepreneurship is about creating value, both for yourself and your customers. You can only be successful if you connect with people, identify a need, and solve it in an efficient way. I love the challenge of building a system to do all that.
My first job in pharmacy was at Orchards Drug as a delivery driver 12 years ago. From that moment, I knew pharmacy was the perfect place to cultivate a fulfilling, entrepreneurial career where I can actually help people. I never imagined I would end up owning the very pharmacy where I learned how to connect with and care for people, but I couldn’t be happier to be back.
What are some of your goals for Orchards Drug in terms of providing additional services for your patients and the community?
People just want to be healthy, happy, and live forever. My goal at Orchards is to empower people to take control of their health so they can do just that: be healthy, stress-free, and if not achieve immortality, at least age a tiny bit slower.
I want to combine the power of modern, evidence-based medicine with products that heal, bring joy, and make life easier. We offer medication synchronization so patients can make less trips to the pharmacy and spend less time managing medications, text messaging so they can reach us anytime, and natural products that complement medication therapy to help patients look and feel their best.
Above all, we offer real, human connection. No unfriendly staff, robocalls, or auto-fills here. Just people, helping people. We put our patients and community at the center of everything we do, we believe that is the best way to create positive, lasting change.
What advice would you offer to students still in pharmacy school or those considering becoming a pharmacist?
Don’t you think it’s odd that we have to decide our lifelong career paths when we’re still children? When I chose pharmacy at age 18, I had never even set foot in a pharmacy before and had no idea what I was getting into. Fortunately, it worked out for me, but I would recommend that you spend some time in a pharmacy (or any job you’re considering) and see what it actually feels like to do the work on a day-to-day basis. Shadow pharmacists in multiple settings, both retail and hospital.
Can you imagine doing that job every day for the next 50 years? Choose a job that makes you excited to get out of bed each morning. Life’s too short for anything less.
If you’re already in pharmacy school, you must get involved and advocate for your profession. We have major legislative battles going on now that will shape the future of pharmacy as we know it. Not sure where to start? Join pharmacy organizations in your school TODAY. Not sure what the issues are? Start with PBM reform, provider status, and scope of practice.