KU pharmacy students get peek at life serving rural Kansans

We working folks may feel a bit jealous of the lengthy winter break KU students enjoy. But here’s a reminder that they’re not actually sleeping till noon and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix all day as they are in our envious imaginations — at least not all of them.

Ten KU pharmacy students are actually in the midst of a tour of independent pharmacies in rural southwest Kansas, the Dodge City Daily Globe reports. They’re learning about what life might be like were they to strike out on their own pharmacy once they graduate.

That’s important because officials for have been predicting a serious impending need for more pharmacists in rural Kansas, where the local pharmacy is often the first place people turn for health care. That’s a big reason the KU School of Pharmacy received $50 million from the state for a new building on KU’s West Campus in Lawrence and an expansion of its facility in Wichita. The idea is that the school will now have more capacity to pump out pharmacists who can serve rural Kansans for years to come.

This tour is trying to spur that along by getting pharmacists-to-be thinking about running their own businesses. Joined by KU pharmacy dean Ken Audus, they’re visiting a list of towns that includes Greensburg, Kinsley, Cimarron, Medicine Lodge and more.

The Daily Globe was there to report on the visit to a pharmacy in Cimarron, where a longtime pharmacist said locals often went to him with their health concerns before going to a doctor. One person, he said, once brought in a jar of urine for him to examine.

I have no doubt that many other KU students are also finding ways to fill their break that don’t involve sleeping late and watching TV marathons. But if that is what you’re doing, why not take a break to send a KU news tip to merickson@ljworld.com?