Pharmacist & Entrepreneur: One UKCOP Grad Created the Job She Wanted
Earning your PharmD is no easy feat, and with it comes an abundance of shortcomings and successes in route to becoming a pharmacist. The journey to becoming a pharmacist is different for everyone. And UK College of Pharmacy (UKCOP) Class of 2015 graduate Fei Xiong found herself blazing a trail all her own. Xiong took a gap period between graduation and entering the workforce to spend more time with her children.
Xiong was not worried about the job shortages for pharmacists, she said. “I am going to create value and jobs. As long as you create value, you will always be needed.”
For Xiong, the first step of creating value was to open up her own independent pharmacy in Nicholasville, Kentucky. "I was able to meet many great connections while at UKCOP. Many of my business partners attended UK as well.” Xiong has been the owner and PIC (Pharmacist in Charge) of Med-Save Pharmacy since October 2019.
Supporting independent pharmacy has been important to Xiong since her UKCOP rotation with an independent pharmacy in Wilmore, KY. “Community pharmacists are easily accessible and could help patients in so many ways. Independent pharmacists can even better serve their communities and patients,” Xiong said. “While starting a business is a milestone, my biggest accomplishment is making a difference in the lives of so many patients and to help them live safer, happier, and healthier lifestyles.”
This emphasis on patient-centered care is one of the core principles of the UKCOP curriculum and something Xiong credits for the positive experiences she’s had with patients. “UKCOP really prepares students to be valuable members of the community with knowledge and experience they gain while in school,” Xiong said.
Independent community pharmacies provide a unique experience for both the pharmacist and the patient--with a less formal atmosphere, physicians are better able to connect with those who come in. “We have a great relationship with each of our patients,” she said. “You really get to know them as people too; we don’t always have to talk about medicine. This is really meaningful to me, and I enjoy these interactions,” she added. "In an independent pharmacy, you really have time to help each of your patients develop strategies to live a healthier life.”
Pharmacy has allowed Xiong to profoundly impact her community and reshape expectations as to what is possible with a pharmacy doctorate degree. Still, to her, the effect she has on patients will always be what comes first. “I love and look forward to seeing my patients. Getting to use what I learned at UKCOP and help others is such an incredible experience,” Xiong said. “I’m glad I went to UK, and I am very grateful for where I’m at now.”