Pharmacy & Healthcare

A day in the life of a Walgreens pharmacy manager

Jayla Bennett started at Walgreens as a pharmacy technician 14 years ago. Now, as a pharmacy manager, she’s sharing what a typical day in her life is like.
Elyse Russo, Walgreens Stories
Walgreens pharmacy manager Jayla Bennett jokes that she came out of the womb destined to be a pharmacist. Her father, Jack Bennett, Jr., has been a Walgreens pharmacist for 36 years, and she knew she’d be following in his footsteps from a young age.

“I knew I was going to be a pharmacist, and I knew I was going to work for Walgreens,” she says with a laugh. She says she loved watching the relationships her father built with his patients, and how he became such an important part of their community.

“He inspired me, and I wanted to continue his legacy,” she says.

And that’s exactly what Bennett did. She joined Walgreens as a pharmacy technician in 2009, and worked there throughout pharmacy school, becoming a pharmacy manager in 2015 after earning her Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Today, she’s a pharmacy manager, working at store #7531 in Missouri City, Texas.

As American Pharmacists Month concludes, Bennett shares what a typical day in her life as a community pharmacist looks like, including the highs, lows and what keeps her going.

Supporting her patients and her technicians

On a typical day when Bennett opens the pharmacy in the morning, she starts the day by looking ahead: how many prescriptions came in overnight, which medications are out of stock and how many immunizations are scheduled for the day. She also checks in with the pharmacy technicians who are working with her.

“I spend a lot of time interacting with patients and interacting with my team,” she says.

As patients start coming in, Bennett has consultations about prescriptions as well as over-the-counter medications. She administers immunizations and blood pressure screenings. Later, she makes phone calls to doctors to discuss changing some patients’ medications if they’re having a drug interaction or for other reasons. She also makes patient care calls to review medications.

In between these duties, Bennett checks in with her team, making sure her technicians are filling prescriptions accurately and that everyone is feeling good.

“I have a very strong, close-knit team,” Bennett says. “We work in a small space, about four or five of us every day, so I make sure there’s an environment where everyone feels comfortable with communicating with each other.”

Bright spots and tough moments

Bennett says her favorite part about being a pharmacist is connecting with her patients, even if she’s just answering a quick question about an over-the-counter medication. She has regular patients who will just pop by to say hello, some even sharing pictures with her of what they wore to church that weekend.

She also tries to help her patients find ways to save money on medications that are particularly expensive.

“Sometimes my patients have to decide whether they're going to pay their rent for the month or buy their medication,” Bennett says. “So if I can spend a little time to help them find a coupon or something that makes the cost more affordable, that is really rewarding to me.”

She says a recent patient was going to have to pay $300 for an antibiotic for his ailing dog, but Bennett found a coupon through Walgreens Savings Finder that brought the cost down to $40.

“Knowing that I was able to make a difference in their day and in their life really brought me joy,” she says.

But not every patient interaction is as easy. If something goes awry in the prescription-filling process, it can be tough for the pharmacist to work through the issue and set things right.

“Some days are harder than other others,” Bennett says. “For example, I may need to have difficult conversations with a patient regarding a medication not being covered by their insurance, or not having the medication in stock due to a back-order.”

She says she and her staff try to find solutions as quickly as possible for these patients, but it can take time, and the process can leave patients feeling frustrated or upset.

Another challenge can occur when the pharmacy is busy, and several people come in for walk-in immunization appointments. She says it’s sometimes tricky to juggle those appointments and her other tasks, especially if she’s the only immunizer on the shift.

"When I'm having a challenging day, what keeps me going is knowing that I am the lifeline for a lot of my patients," she says. "I'm able to make a difference in a lot of people's lives. They trust me, and I'm a valued part of their healthcare team."

How her job and pharmacy is evolving

Two years ago, Bennett’s store was chosen as one of the first Walgreens pharmacies to start having prescriptions filled by a microfulfillment center (MFC).

Today, about 30% of her pharmacy’s prescriptions are filled through MFC, but she says getting there took some time.

“It was a learning curve for my team and our patients,” she says. “Since we started, the process has improved tremendously.”

Walgreens currently has 11 MFCs in operation. They support about half of the company’s nearly 9,000 stores, filling millions of prescriptions each week. However, Walgreens recently paused the rollout of any new MFCs, choosing instead to focus on improving the existing experience. Bennett is hopeful that her store will have more of its prescriptions filled through microfulfillment in the future.

“Filling fewer prescriptions in the store means I have more time to spend supporting my patients,” Bennett says.

She also says more technicians at her store are becoming trained to give immunizations.

“I love watching my team grow and take opportunities, like getting the Immunization Administration Certificate, to develop themselves,” Bennett says. “I’ve had technicians on my team who are now senior technicians, pharmacists and pharmacy managers. It is so rewarding to watch them develop in their careers.”

As she reflects on American Pharmacist Month, Bennett says she is proud to work with so many dedicated pharmacy team members at Walgreens—including one she calls "Dad."

“To my father, and to all the pharmacists who go the extra mile for their patients every day, thank you for inspiring and shaping the next generation of healthcare professionals,” she says. “Let's continue the mission of making the world a healthier and better place, one prescription at a time.”

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