Above and Beyond Is How This Walmart Pharmacist Rolls

Celebrating You

She started her pharmacy career later than many, but she’s making up for lost time.

Shalene Williams is new to Walmart and to her pharmacist position. She just started at Store 2030 in Sonora, California, after graduating from pharmacy school in 2022. But Shalene’s already having a big impact. She knows her job is much more than filling prescriptions.

We talked to Shalene about how she landed in the pharmacy, what she loves about her job and the ways she helps her customers stay healthy.

Later start in pharmacy

Shalene calls herself a “non-traditional” pharmacist. She went back to school to become a pharmacist in her 30s after spending years working other jobs, including as a restaurant manager and real estate agent.

Shalene always loved the idea of getting people the care they need. “I thought pharmacy was the best way I could reach patients,” she says. “From what I saw, doctors have a limited amount of time with their patients. Pharmacists, on the other hand, are the most accessible healthcare workers. I wanted to be able to interact with my patients longer than just a 15-minute meeting.”

In fact, part of the reason Shalene chose a pharmacy job at Walmart is because it’s fully staffed and she never feels like she has to rush patient interactions.

Patients first at her Walmart pharmacy

Spending time with patients can be as simple as helping them pick out the right bandages or as complex as reviewing all their medications. Educating her customers is another big part of her job. “I didn't become a pharmacist to just stand back there and count pills or call doctors all day,” Shalene says. “I became one to help patients — to educate them to feel better and to get the healthcare they need.”

So she takes time to educate people about chronic health issues like diabetes. And she helps patients navigate their healthcare options.

“The biggest thing for me as a pharmacist is advocating for my patients,” she shares. “I love advocating for my patients, and I also love teaching my patients how to advocate for themselves in healthcare.” Sometimes that just means reminding people they can ask for a second opinion and telling them that they have options.

Shalene recently helped a mother whose daughter had been experiencing serious health symptoms for some time and wasn’t responding well to the prescribed medication.

With Shalene’s encouragement, the mother went for a second opinion at a larger, out-of-town hospital. The daughter was eventually diagnosed with a rare condition — one she could finally start receiving the right treatment for.

Helping her patients get the right care is not unusual for Shalene. She estimates that about half the patients she sees need emergency care. “I had a girl come in with her broken arm to fix it, and I explained that I can’t. I took her friend's cell phone and typed in the ER location, and I was like, ‘This is where you go. You’re taking her to the ER right now.’”

In her busy small town, Shalene believes the pharmacy fills in the healthcare gaps for many people. And working at Walmart lets her provide the kind of care she’s dreamed of.

Explore more stories