From her global perspective to her pharmacy management strategies to her patient care services, it’s clear that Amina Abubakar’s mindset is centered around people.
Hailing from Kenya, her passion for pharmacy was birthed out of a simple desire to help people around her. Amina left her home and came to the United States to attend school and begin her journey in pharmacy. She enjoyed the clinical aspect of pharmacy yet noticed a lack of patient interaction early in her career. “I love people, so I knew I belonged in community pharmacy, but the pressures of corporate America and corporate pharmacy were not what I was envisioning as patient care.” After working for two pharmacies where patient interaction was lacking or nonexistent, Amina decided to open her own pharmacy. Now, she owns and operates Rx Clinic Pharmacy in Charlotte, North Carolina, and her patients receive her undivided attention.
Industry change demands more change, and Amina fearlessly tackles that need. “I think no one told me the difference between working in your pharmacy and working on your pharmacy, and that was like a light bulb,” she reveals. However, she saw a need for inward change. “The first thing that really was a life-changer for me was to work on myself, to really figure out what kind of leader I am.” Programs like PDS helped Amina realize her leadership role as an educator and how to use that role to enact change in her pharmacy. “I used that awareness to make systems. I think the systems were huge because, initially, I used to be everything,” she recounts. “I used to be the system, I used to be the pharmacist, and this is when I was burning out before I found PDS. It’s shaped me to be the leader I am today, and I’m very grateful. That was the turning point for this business.”
Perhaps her rotation system is too effective. “I don’t even have an office here anymore. They kicked me out! They don’t need me anymore, and I’m very proud of that,” she boasts.
Amina advises pharmacists to enact change today with project management. It’s next to impossible to carry out a project alone, so Amina stores her ideas in what she’s coined as her “brain dump,” and then her employees take over and complete various tasks to finish the project. “Pharmacy owners have great ideas,” she acknowledges, “they just have to know that they can’t do it by themselves. They have to empower their team.” From new clinical services to community outreaches to continuing education courses, Amina’s “brain dump” allows her pharmacy to be essential to the community. “We have just tons and tons of stories where patients feel like we saved their lives. I think there’s no price to that.” In an effort to be more than just dispensers, Amina and her team have made a big push for clinical services for RxClinic. When a new patient arrives, a personalized inventory that details everything they would need, according to their conditions, is compiled by Amina and her staff. This creates better customer service and peace of mind for her patients.
She has even taken patient care to the next level and forged a doctor-pharmacy collaboration. It began with a struggle every pharmacist shares: lower reimbursements. Rather than focus on the negative, Amina chooses to see obstacles as opportunities. “It’s a challenge, but it’s a shift,” she says. “It has made us really connect with physicians and made us valuable.” Working alongside physicians is an nontraditional yet effective approach, and Amina has it down to an art.
She concludes, “Ratings are going up, their revenue is going up, and so is ours. Everyone wins.” This partnership truly shows how necessary pharmacists are to the health scene, and Amina and her team are empowered by their newfound role. “I just wish I could capture the text messages and emails from these doctors saying they can’t live without us,” she says with a laugh. “That’s awesome.”
In a time where pharmacies are provoked by fear and profit to act, Amina chooses to put people first in her pharmacy. Her passion for global health, her aim for strategic pharmacy management, and her willingness to go the extra mile for patients prove that the right mindset leads to success. Let Amina be an example and inspiration for improving yourself and your pharmacy.