Connie Connolly advocates for improving patient care through strong professional relationships and providing enhanced pharmacy services.
Connolly earned a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy (BSPh) at the University of Iowa in 1992. The Macomb, Ill., native currently serves her patients as a staff pharmacist for Osterhaus Pharmacy in Maquoketa, Iowa. Her day includes precepting post-graduate residents and student pharmacists, managing licensing and regulation requirements, providing hospice care, collaborating with other healthcare providers, giving immunizations, performing nursing home reviews and providing medication therapy management services. She has continued to develop these skills and interests since graduating from the UI College of Pharmacy.
“When I started working here I realized that I have been living by the mantra of one of my employers, (Robert) Bob Osterhaus, ‘52 BSPh: ‘If it’s good for the patient, it’s good for pharmacy,’” Connolly says.
Recently, she began serving on state and national committees of the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network (CPESN). Pharmacies in the network strive to provide the best possible outcomes for patients through strong relationships with them and other members of their health care team. They provide enhanced, tailor-made services that have been proven to improve the health of patients, especially for those with complex issues.
The pharmacies practice pharmaceutical care, which means that they optimize patients’ health through safe, effective drug therapy while also seeking to keep costs low.
“This (CPESN) program brings my practice full-circle," she says.
The first time she helped her professional colleagues gain tools to provide pharmaceutical care to their patients was in 1995, and Connolly was a field facilitator for PCA-NE, based in Blair, Nebraska. She trained other pharmacists in the practice model throughout Nebraska and, later, western Iowa.
“This type of role was new at the time. I empowered pharmacists to educate payers and the public of the value of the services that they were providing to their patients,” she says.
In 1998, Connie began working as a full-time pharmacist at Forest Park Pharmacy in Mason City. Four years later, she was selected to develop and open a new pharmacy, Mercy Family Pharmacy-Regency on the east side of Mason City.
“I loved this setting,” she says of the Regency pharmacy. “I got to wear a lot of hats: implementing marketing plans, managing the pharmacy and developing patient care initiatives such as providing healthcare screenings to patients. Being able to serve my patients from the time the practice opened allowed me to integrate all my previous experiences to raise their expectation of the care they could receive from their pharmacist.”
Connolly is a member of the Education Committee of the Iowa Pharmacy Association and has served the association in various other positions since becoming a member in 1989 while a student. She was a Commissioner for the Iowa Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Committee for six years. In 2001, she founded and became president of North Iowa Pharmacy, Inc., which re-established the area’s local pharmacists association. Connolly is a longtime preceptor for the UI and Drake University colleges of pharmacy.