Local pharmacist recognized for helping customers

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Middlesboro Walmart pharmacist Beth McConnell, has been recognized for making an impression on her customers’ lives by being named SingleCare 2023 Best of the Best. McConnell’s commitment to her patients goes beyond the ordinary.

“It felt wonderful,” McConnell said. “Because sometimes it feels like your work that you do doesn’t go appreciated, so anytime that you get some appreciation it just makes you feel like you’ve been placed in the right spot doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”

The Best of the Best Pharmacy Awards were launched by SingleCare in 2019 as a way to honor pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy staff workers who go above and beyond throughout the country. Nominations are submitted by patients, customers, co-workers and others.

McConnell was the first in her family to graduate from college, all while she worked a full time job as a pharmacy technician while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in biology.

“I worked as a pharmacy technician while I was going to school and just seeing that pharmacist interact with her patients and just getting that one on one interaction with them and – it just seemed like every single day you had so many many things going on and it just felt like i was in a comfort zone being a pharmacist and being in the pharmacy so I just enjoy being able to help people in any way that I can.

McConnell views her role as a pharmacist as more than just dispensing medications, but about forging personal connections and making a positive impact. McConnell says she views her relationship with her patients like one with her family.

“I never thought about going to be a doctor, that never even crossed my mind. I just enjoy having that aspect of having more time with patients when being a pharmacist because you get to see them basically every month, sometimes more,” said McConnell. “Especially where I work at Walmart, of course everybody comes to Walmart so you get to see them more often and you get to develop those personable relationships.”

For McConnell, having the opportunity to interact with and form close connections with her patients is what makes being a pharmacist enjoyable. She says witnessing her patients journey from sickness to health makes her feel like she played a part in their recovery.

“Just being able to have that interaction and developing those close connections to the patients that I take care of, it’s really enjoyable watching them, say, If they are sick one visit, then the next visit they’re healthy again,” said McConnell.

“A lot of people are grateful and thankful and they’ll tell us ‘thank you for taking care of me’ or ‘ thank you for helping me out’ so just them showing their appreciation to us is what keeps us going.”

While McConnell has a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Appalachia College of Pharmacy in Oakwood, Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Lincoln Memorial University, McConnell is continuing her education, pursuing a functional medicine certification. Functional medicine focuses on the root cause of diseases and illnesses, and to provide more comprehensive care.

“With functional medicine it kind of goes back to the reason why the body is acting a certain way, so it can definitely help get to the root cause of something going on with a patient so they can get better quicker, or they can have different alternative to regular medication to help them

Functional Medicine is also useful for determining what medicines may not mix well together, as well as chronic illness management.

In McConnell’s 15 years of pharmacy, she says she has witnessed significant changes in her work. McConnell says her pharmacy now offers immunizations daily, allowing walk-ins to receive them without scheduling a doctor’s appointment. Additionally, during the Covid pandemic, her pharmacy began testing and administering medication for Covid. This summer, the pharmacy further expanded our services to include testing for strep, flu, and Covid, saving patients both time and a trip to the doctor.

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