DULUTH, Ga. — John Oh was introduced to his future profession by a pharmacy officer when he was serving as an Army ammunition specialist in 2001.
“He motivated me to pursue a career in the pharmacy profession to assist our soldiers and community providing pharmaceutical service,” Oh says.
After graduating from Mercer University College of Pharmacy in 2010, Oh joined the Army Reserve at the 1207th U.S. Army Hospital, Fort Benning, Ga. After serving as an officer at the hospital’s outpatient pharmacy, he joined Walmart in 2014 as a staff pharmacist at the Supercenter in Duluth. Following his deployment at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, Oh became a pharmacy manager in the Duluth store in 2018.
Since the U.S. declared the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, health care providers including Walmart pharmacists have played a critical frontline role, notes Oh. “Our community has recognized the courage and bravery of our Walmart pharmacists, who continued to be present and provide patient care during the pandemic,” he says. Walmart built a task force to train pharmacists and technicians to perform COVID-19 testing, administer vaccines and dispense prescriptions for treatment. Walmart is continuing to provide professional education and training for pharmacy staff to practice safely and efficiently, he adds.
And Walmart vision associates have partnered with the pharmacy team to support the COVID-19 response team. Oh commends them for graciously accepting training and providing COVID-19 screenings for all Walmart associates daily.
“It is truly an honor and a humbling experience to be a part of a Walmart team providing accessible and affordable pharmaceutical care to a community with cultural diversity and different backgrounds,” he says. “Walmart pharmacy is continuing to increase accessibility and build professional trust with patients.”
Walmart has provided a phone translation service and medication information sheets in languages ranging from Spanish to Korean for customers with limited English proficiency, he points out. Customers can read and understand drug information in their languages.
Patient education plays an important role in driving better outcomes in health care, Oh emphasizes. “Walmart pharmacists utilize show and tell methods and open-ended questions to counsel and increase interactions with patients regarding the indications, usage, drug interactions and side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications. The patient education provided by Walmart pharmacists focuses on improving continuity of care and patient outcomes.”
One of Oh’s favorite parts of his job is the opportunity reach out to customers during Walmart Wellness Day. Walmart uses the Wellness Day to introduce the pharmacy staff and provide screenings, immunizations and medication consultations.
And Walmart offers prescriptions by mail and curbside pickup for customers who have a limited transportation and mobility. The curbside service has provided safe delivery of COVID-19 medications to patients with minimum contact.
Oh calls market health and wellness director Rimisha Patel “a great leader and mentor” for pharmacy associates. “She has provided endless support and guidance to grow talent and support a healthy work-life balance. She has taught me how to become a true leader and promote a respectful workplace where all associates and customers are treated with respect and dignity.”