Waterloo Pharmacy Co-op Student Loves Retail, Returns To Rexall After Graduation


As a Pharmacy graduate, you have many potential career paths ahead of you.

You might start your career in a hospital pharmacy, do research in the pharmaceutical industry, or maybe even go back to school for a master’s degree.

Ashley Kelly’s mind was made up in her first year after completing the first of 4 co-op work terms required for the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program at the University of Waterloo with Rexall, Katz Group Canada’s national flagship chain drug store with over 400 stores in Central and western Canada.

“I liked how Rexall ran their business on behalf of the patients, and I believed I would have the opportunity to put patients first and use my new pharmaceutical skills.” —Ashley Kelly, Staff Pharmacist, Rexall

“My first co-op was with Rexall in London, Ontario. I had such an amazing experience, I knew I would return to Rexall,” she says. “I had the best preceptor who really taught me what it is to be a Pharmacist. He assisted me when I needed it and stepped back when I needed to make those professional judgments on my own.”

According to Ashley, her work term involved performing a lot of MedsCheck appointments and other cognitive services for patients, but she also had the opportunity to spend a few days at a specialty addiction treatment pharmacy that dispenses methadone (a pain reliever that is used as part of drug addiction detoxification and maintenance programs). “My co-op experiences helped prepare me for the retail world.”

Returning to Rexall after graduation

In the subsequent years of her program, she gained more experience in other community pharmacies and also in a hospital pharmacy but still wanted to start her career in retail pharmacy with Rexall after graduating in October 2011.

“I liked how Rexall ran their business on behalf of the patients, and I believed I would have the opportunity to put patients first and use my new pharmaceutical skills,” says Ashley. “With Rexall, it isn’t about the number of prescriptions performed day-to-day, but how you can help improve each patient’s health.”

Ashley admits that, like a lot of new grads applying for their first “grown up” jobs, she was nervous when she applied to be a Staff Pharmacist with Rexall. But it turns out that she was exactly what Rexall was looking for – she had a variety of pharmacy experience, including retail, a passion for pharmacy, genuine people skills, and great references.

From there, Rexall offered her a competitive salary and signing bonus, and helped her understand her employment contract.

Starting as a Staff Pharmacist at Rexall

Ashley started working as a Staff Pharmacist in a Rexall store in Peterborough, Ontario, in January 2012. So far, she’s found that Rexall focuses more on medication regimen review, also known as cognitive services, than on the dispensing of drugs. “They are quite adamant about us performing cognitive services, which is what I like best about pharmacy anyway.”

Although she’s only been on the job for a few months, she’s already completed a continuing education course on immunization and is currently in a course on methadone. “Rexall continually requires us to update our pharmacy knowledge, so they have strongly encouraged me to take CE courses,” she says. “I believe if I wanted to become a Pharmacy Manager one day they would help me accomplish that.”

What Ashley really loves about her new job, however, is knowing that she’s making a difference in people’s lives: “When a patient thanks me for advocating for them, it makes me so thankful that I chose retail pharmacy.”

Rexall is growing quickly with a focus on building for the future. Learn more about the exciting career opportunities with Rexall.