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“Patients continue to inspire. Hearing their stories, hearing their struggles, hearing their needs—it gets me thinking of what we can do,” said Michele Belcher, R.Ph. and immediate past president of the National Community Pharmacists Association on a recent episode of Surescripts There’s a Better Way podcast.

Following a passion for patient care

Growing up working in her parent’s community pharmacy, Grants Pass Pharmacy in Oregon, Michele Belcher knew healthcare would always be part of her journey.

She talks about wanting to become a pediatrician, but Belcher’s family life would take her across the country. Becoming a pharmacist gave her the flexibility she needed while also allowing her to fulfill her passion—caring for patients.

Stops along the way

In this episode, Belcher shares her experience as pharmacist whose journey took a less traveled road. She worked in nearly every healthcare environment possible: health systems large and small, trauma units and long-term care facilities. In these roles, Belcher had opportunities to work with patients directly and as part of a team.

“We see all types of patients, and I think one of the special parts of independent community pharmacy across the country is that we see generations of families and help entire families,” Belcher shared.

These experiences made all the difference in how she serves her patients and her community back home in Oregon, now as owner of Grants Pass Pharmacy, and as recent President of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

Challenges no one could predict

“We know that patients across the country see their pharmacists more than any other healthcare provider. Many times, it’s multiple times a month. And so, there are times when we are able to recognize an issue or a problem through a conversation,” Belcher notes.

Belcher continues to find ways to turn conversations with her patients into action – whether helping the people in her hometown address challenges including substance use disorders or the COVID-19 pandemic.

She describes community pharmacists’ unique ability to make a difference for people in their care. “And no matter what situation they're in, they know that they can come here and receive that same type of respect, I think, that every individual is entitled to,” Belcher shared.

Hear more about Belcher’s commitment to ensuring community pharmacists continue to play a role in caring for patients and how she has captured the attention of policy leaders in Washington, D.C. in the seventh episode of our podcast. And be sure to subscribe on your favorite streaming platform to catch future episodes.

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