Service with a personal touch is the most important factor for pharmacist Tyson Mullen from Ulysses, KS
Tyson and Emily Mullen own and operate Grant County Drug in Ulysses, Kansas. Tyson came into the pharmacy business naturally. “My great-grandfather opened the first drugstore in Wichita County,” Tyson said. “I grew up hearing stories about how he would compound his own medicines and deliver them on horseback.”
Tyson grew up in the rural community of Leoti, population 1,534 people.
He enjoyed science and math, and he had good mentors who encouraged him toward the medical field. As did his ancestor, he gravitated toward pharmacy. “I believe a pharmacist can positively impact people and I’m happy to help them on a daily basis,” Tyson said.
He found out that Hutchinson Community College had an excellent track record of preparing people for pharmacy school, so Tyson went there for two years. That was also where he met Emily whom he later married.
In 2005 Tyson entered the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy. In 2009 he graduated from it with a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree.
While studying at the University he served as a national student representative for the National Community Pharmacy Association and was inducted into Phi Lambda Sigma, the pharmacy national leadership society
Emily was born and raised on a Registered Angus farm near Hutchinson, Kansas. She graduated from Haven High School in 2002. She attended Hutchinson Community College for biology before transferring to the University of Kansas. Emily graduated from KU in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Biology.
Upon moving to Southwest Kansas, she worked at Kearny County Hospital as she attended nursing school at Garden City Community College. While attending nursing school, she received the Academic Leadership Award for exceptional grades and encouragement of her peers. Emily has a passion for agriculture and youth activities.
To Tyson’s great credit, he felt strongly about coming back to western Kansas and maintaining the tradition of independent pharmacy.
After graduation, Tyson worked in Lakin for J & J Pharmacy. In July 2013, Tyson and Emily bought Grant County Drug in Ulysses.
Tyson serves as the pharmacist while Emily, who is also trained as a nurse, keeps the books and looks after their two daughters. It is especially exciting to see a young pharmacist take ownership during a time when the average age of pharmacists across Kansas is in the mid- to late-50s.
“My generation is pretty flexible,” Tyson said. “We use technology so much more than our predecessors.” A simple example is sending customers text messages about their needed prescription refills. They also have a system which automatically sends recorded calls using Tyson’s voice as refill reminders.
“There is an iPhone app that lets you scan the bar code on the medicine bottle which makes it more convenient to get refills,” Tyson said. He is working on integrating multiple software programs to assist with patient information.
“Studies show people only refill their monthly maintenance medicines eight times a year (rather than the twelve they should have). With better information for them, we’re taking better care of people.”
He pointed out that pharmacy school has evolved also. “It’s not about pills. We are moving more toward wellness programs and preventative health.”
Even more exciting scientific developments are on the horizon. “It is possible to do genetic testing with a rapid swab now, which helps us understand individual differences in metabolism. That means we can adjust or identify medicines that they will work most effectively for the individual. Imagine medicines that can be scientifically tailored for each patient,” Tyson said.
However, the most important factor for Tyson is still service with a personal touch.
“Unlike the big chain stores, we can take the time to get to know our customers,” Emily Mullen said. “When Mrs. Jones walks in the door, we don’t have to ask, `How do you spell your name again?’”
“The conversations are important,” Tyson said. “When I call a patient and learn that a particular medicine upsets their stomach, I can adjust to another product which will serve them better.”
By Alex Arlander | ENC News