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Bengal Pharmacy hires alumna Rikki Trussel as manager

POCATELLO - June 1, 2022

Idaho State University is excited to announce the new Bengal Pharmacy Manager is Rikki Trussel, a 2012 ISU alumnus from the Pharmacy program.

“I just think there are so many opportunities with Bengal Pharmacy,” said Trussel. “I worked at the pharmacy when I was an intern, but the telepharmacy part wasn’t around when I was here. That’s been exciting to do.”

Rikki Trussel head shot

Trussel was previously with Kroger, first as the pharmacy manager for Fred Meyer and then as the pharmacy district manager for Smith's Food and Drugs. She said she looked into the Bengal Pharmacy and was excited to see how it has grown and changed.

Bengal Pharmacy’s mission is to provide high-quality care to all of our patients while making accessible health care possible through our knowledgeable staff consisting of pharmacists, residents, technicians and interns. 

“The majority of our prescriptions are done in Challis and Arco. Both were community pharmacies with owners who tried to sell them, but couldn’t find anyone,” Trussel said. “Bengal Pharmacy took them over and now we’re providing access to care for communities that would otherwise have to drive hours to get to a pharmacy.”

Pharmacy is a growing field, especially for pharmacy technicians. Many pharmacists are also getting sign-on bonuses or other hiring incentives to work in the field.

Idaho is one of the few states with pharmacists able to prescribe medications under certain criteria, and she says Idaho State University’s work with rural medicine and advancing the practice of pharmacy has always interested and excited her.

“I’ve always kept Bengal Pharmacy in the back of my mind. I wondered if they had the right leadership to take it in the direction I felt it should go,” Trussel said. “They do have that same vision as I do, as far as what the pharmacy of tomorrow will look like. We need to change our profession to a service-oriented profession instead of a product-based profession.”

Trussel noted that the pandemic brought into sharp focus the need for pharmacists and pharmacy locations to change and grow with the needs of patients.

“I see pharmacy becoming very similar to the urgent care type of model, where someone can come in with pink eye or a urinary tract infection, where the pharmacist will be able to give them that initial care,” Trussel said. “Especially in rural areas, where there is a lack of prescribers, this would be an incredible benefit to those smaller communities.”

She also said telehealth work has helped her realize that a pharmacy can operate with a smaller in-person staff, with many other staff members working from home or through other virtual means.

Rikki Trussel grad photo

“Right now pharmacy is really in a redefining phase. You’ve got practitioners working for Amazon, or for the mail-order pharmacies, but then we’ve also got the practitioners providing interdisciplinary approaches, like working with those who need a little extra care. It’s very exciting for pharmacists to have a seat at the table,” Trussel said. “We’re viewed as health care professionals now, and that stems from the pandemic, where we were possibly the only access patients had to health care at that time. We’re decreasing the burden to health care.”

Trussel says rural medicine is of vital importance, and pharmacists have a unique opportunity in Idaho to be at the forefront of modern pharmacy practice. She says she is looking forward to working with the students as well.

“They keep you up to date, because they come and they ask you questions, and that helps you stay on top of your practice,” she said. “It’s an exciting time to be a pharmacist.”

Bengal Pharmacy in Pocatello is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In Challis and Arco, Bengal Pharmacy is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit isu.edu/healthcenter/pharmacy/ for more information. 

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