My name is Jeremy Gerardot and I am a store manager and a licensed pharmacy technician at Walgreens in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I have seen many changes to the retail pharmacy industry in my 19 years with Walgreens, but I would've never foreseen how we've changed the way we operate during this pandemic.
Last year when shelter-in-place orders were issued and much of our community quarantined at home, my team and I had to adjust to this new reality. Early on we spent a lot of time cleaning and working on ways to get our customers essential items when the shelves went bare. Several of us would read up on all the latest information, share it with our team, and try to do our best to educate our patients and customers.
Much of my time from December 2020 to March 2021 was devoted to being my district's vaccine lead. While my store team worked hard to carry on without me, I worked closely with my district manager, healthcare supervisor, and several store managers to schedule and oversee several COVID clinics at long-term care facilities in our area. During this period, our team of pharmacists administered more than 2,600 doses of the vaccine.
On any normal day …
My wife and I get up around 6 a.m. and work out in the basement of our home before we wake up the kids. Just before 7 a.m., we get our two kids, ages 10 and 13, up and ready to go to the school in our neighborhood.
I usually get to my Walgreens store around 7:30 a.m., and our pharmacy opens at 9 a.m. I help my team fill prescriptions so they have time to make calls to patients, resolve issues and attend to other morning duties.
Now that we are doing COVID vaccinations daily, my time in our pharmacy has increased due to the larger workload for my team. I have even become a certified immunizer and administered my first doses this month!
I am lucky to live very close to my store, so most days at 11:30 a.m. I go home to let my dog, Theo, outside, and I grab a bite to eat.
Throughout the rest of my day, I spend time working closely with my front-end leadership team to ensure we stay on top of our weekly plans. I also maintain close relationships with other store managers in my district and try to be a resource to them. I like to take on projects that will help us to get better as a team.
Most days I leave the store around 5 p.m. Some nights I take my daughter to dance class. Now that baseball season has started, I will spend most of my free time at the park coaching my son's Little League team, as I have done for the last five years.
COVID has changed my home life, too.
There are aspects of my personality that have made living in the pandemic a positive experience for me. As an introvert, I have enjoyed a lot of time with my close family and friends without having to be as active with social events.
Some things have changed that I miss, though. I enjoy music of all kinds. The fact that I haven't attended a concert for over a year would've been hard to imagine not long ago. Playing guitar is also a source of joy for me. Looking back over the past year, I have found less time for guitar now that my wife and kids are more present at home, and I tend to be more active with them when they are around.
This pandemic has been difficult for everybody, but I am glad to have my family and a fantastic team by my side. I am so proud to work for Walgreens and I will always be proud of the work we did to be part of the solution to this pandemic.